The Guru Grill

Hello fellow Panther fans. It's time to fire up The Guru Grill. This is where Panther fans come to get the answers to their questions regarding University of Pittsburgh athletics and recruiting from Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels.

kbrody When will you post your current Pa. top 55?



GURU: I am going to try and have it finalized after the Fourth of July holiday. I wanted to wait until the camps were over just in case I was missing anyone. I know Bear will be pleased.



JaronBrownMythManLegend Bob with the limited number of ships, do you see PITT taking two guys under 5'8 or do you see it being like with Xavier Stinson and one of them going elsewhere?



GURU: Xavier Stinson went elsewhere because of academics and he could get into other schools and not have to worry about it. Some schools such as MAC schools or FIU can take partial qualifiers, Big East schools cannot. I would take two 5'-8" guys if my second was Caleb Porzel or Tavon Austin and I would do it without hesitation. I think if Pitt would get Porzel along with Dion Lewis they would still take Tavon Austin if they had the opportunity. You'd be crazy not to.




brownpanther Who is in the hunt to land Jaleel ClarK? 



GURU: Right now it seems to be a Pitt and Missouri battle. I'm not sure if Penn State is low playing him or if they may just be focusing on some other prospects right now besides Clark. If Pitt can get him on campus their chances will be obviously better, so we'll see.



buccoboy I live in Westmoreland County and last year we had Michael Shanahan, Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Hall, etc. to watch. Is anybody, besides Hall, who would warrant D-1 interest this year?



GURU: I have not really seen any as of yet. Perhaps during the season there will be someone who comes out of the cracks.



JaronBrownMythManLegend Why doesn't the coaching staff focus on recruiting a top-flight center?



GURU: Who? Center is just not as position where you see a lot of high profile recruits. Most are guards who you will project at center. They are recruiting a lot of interior linemen, so I am sure they feel they can make one of those guys a center. Perhaps a guy like Fernando Diaz.



w0lfinator Can you give us a little more information on the Corey Brown situation? Was he really pressured to pick OSU? 


Ohio State's class was filling up fast and he basically was at the point where he either jumped on board or got left behind. With a school like Ohio State who recruits nationally, you really don't need to wait for anyone, unless of course it is a kid like Terrelle Pryor. I think Terry Smith wanted Corey to go to Ohio State, but in reality how can you argue with Ohio State? They have been in the national championship game two of the last three years.



JaronBrownMythManLegend How many Army All-Americans do you see PITT having this year and the foreseeable future?



GURU: It's tough to tell, but there are three big All-American games now with Under Armour and Offense/Defense also having games, so the chances have increased that they could have a player picked. I would think if they can land Brock DeCicco or Tyrone Ezell one of those guys could possibly make one of those games. There just aren't a high number of elite type kids in their recruiting territory as there has been in years past. Overall, I would say Dan Mason is the best shot if he chooses Pittsburgh.



w0lfinator I see Todd Thomas has an offer from OSU. What does the Corey Brown commit do for us in regards to Thomas?



GURU: I think that ship has probably long since passed for Todd Thomas and the longer his recruitment goes the better it is for schools like Pittsburgh. Ohio State and Michigan go national, so unless your are a stud recruit of the high four or five-star variety they aren't usually going to wait for you.



Reno9 How many tight ends do we take? Besides Brock DeCicco, what prospects, if any, is Pitt currently recruiting?



GURU: I think ideally it would be two. Pelusi has not been healthy since he has been at Pitt and it is a concern. Leneil Brown could be a possibility and I'm sure they are probably still recruiting some of the guys who made early decisions as well.



JaronBrownMythManLegend Jamil Merrell looks like an interesting prospect. Would he be a DE recruit?  If so, would we be able to take him and Ezell?



GURU: Yes, Merrell could potentially be a WLB at Pittsburgh. But you have to think Romeus and Fulmer will be gone soon. Sheard and Tucker are already sophomores. Sheard and Tucker would be juniors when this class comes in. You need to go atleast four to five deep at end. So there is plenty of room.



CaptainH De-committing seems to be becoming more common for a variety of reasons. Any idea what percent of these kids end up de-committing in general?



GURU: I think it really depends on the situation, such as coaching changes and kids who take visits and end up liking someone else. I would think that with the high number of early pledges that we could see a very high number of decommits this year.



JaronBrownMythManLegend How many true defensive tackles do you see us taking?  Which, if any, do you see PITT have a good chance of landing?



GURU: Two or three would be my guess. I think Juantez Hollins at least starts out on the defensive line. They will be in on a few Florida guys and they usually wait until late to make a decision. Scott Covert could eventually grow into a defensive tackle.



buccoboy : Where do we stand with Pete White out of DC? I noticed he has offers from Pitt, Maryland, and Tennessee. Will coach Broussard be able to sway him toward the Big East conference?



GURU: Tony Tucker feels that Pitt has a good shot with him. I think Penn State and Maryland are serious players for his services. Again, they have to get him in for a visit that is the key.



poonugget With all of the top kids from PA starting to pick other schools do you think it is time to start worrying about recruiting? If so do you think landing a recruit like Tavon Austin could turn everything around?



GURU: No, if you will recall from day one I said Pitt will recruit differently this year because they feel they have a shot to win the conference and make a BCS game. If Pitt wins the conference and gets to a BCS game they are going to look a lot more attractive to some of these kids who chose to go elsewhere. If they don't win and do not go to a bowl it may not matter anyway. This is a critical year for them.



JaronBrownMythManLegend What's the scoop on Terry Patrick? Is he a legit starting corner in college?



GURU: Patrick is a very good player who has some serious academic issues. He has to do some work in the classroom before he worries about playing D-I football.



w0lfinator : Still the same news on Moe Williams? A rumor was posted on the pay board that he may be looking to transfer. Is this a fact or myth?



GURU: I have talked to a few D-II coaches and it seems that he is going to leave. I saw Edinboro as a possible destination. I have heard IUP as well, so we'll see. It is a shame, because if the kid has to sit out a year he would probably be best served taking the red shirt and staying where he is, but he has to do what he feels is best for him.



JaronBrownMythManLegend Where do you see PITT's recruiting class finishing in the Big East?  Does our dynasty of finishing #1 three years in a row end in 2009? 



GURU: Right now, I can't see how they could pass Rutgers or West Virginia for the top spot. Not unless they could somehow land Dan Mason, Brock DeCicco, Tavon Austin and a few other high profile guys.



ProfessorPitt Everyone is talking about "recruiting not being over until signing day". How likely do you feel these de-commitments could be this year and what is the highest number of players that have de-committed from other schools and then signed with PITT in one recruiting year?



GURU: I don't know, but with all the early commits I think we could see a record number of decommits this year. I know it will probably make for a wild December and January for sure.



CaptainH How many more openings do OSU and Rutgers have?  At what point do they have to go into a holding pattern with potential prospects?



GURU: I think both schools are just about done. Rutgers may have one or two more spots I would guess. They really want Glenn Carson. Ohio State can't be far off and I would assume Marcus Hall will end up there.



chris94 Currently, every safety prospect Pitt has offered has either committed elsewhere or appears to be a long shot (Banks). Do you think we will see some new offers go out to kids at this position, or are some of the athletes offered as corners, running backs, or receivers capable of playing at safety as well?



GURU: Pitt has offered Carl Fleming and I would think he will likely commit to them in a week or so barring any unforeseen circumstances. The kid looked very good at their camp. They will offer more I'm sure. You have to be careful and not throw too many offers out there at one time. If you really only want one to two safeties you can't offer fifty guys. You have to offer the ones you want first, and then offer your camp standouts and then go from there. With Abdul Smith off the board that may open an offer for someone else.



JaronBrownMythManLegend With Cam Saddler and Chris Burns already here, do you see PITT taking another running back?  If yes, with Saddler and Lewis both being listed as 5-10 or shorter, do you see PITT taking another guy with similar size at the position?



GURU: Burns will likely redshirt. Saddler can be a return guy, a slot guy or a running back. McCoy can leave after this year, Brooks from all accounts is gone. LaRod will be gone soon. That will leave you fairly thin. You do not know what is going to happen with Kevin Collier and if he will be 100-percent. So I think ideally, they will take two guys this year. Three if they have a shot at a guy like Austin. Size isn't necessarily an issue with guys like Lewis or Porzel because they are so strong and thick.



JaronBrownMythManLegend :  What is the scoop on Dontae Brown (Penn Hills)? I remember not too long ago he was considered a top prospect.



GURU:  He was never considered as a top prospect. He was considered a sleeper who could be one of those big surprise guys with a solid senior season. He just hasn't run real well at the combines and camps. He is probably at this stage more of a MAC guy.



Reno9 : How many wide receivers will Pitt take in the 2009 class? Besides Todd Thomas, who are the top prospects and what chances do you give Pitt at obtaining their pledges?



GURU: They have a good shot at Jaleel Clark. I could see the Merrell twins potentially ending up at Pitt. It again will all depend on how camp shakes out. Obviously, if you lose Moe Williams that opens up another spot. So if the plan was to take two, it now likely becomes three.



JaronBrownMythManLegend How many Delaware kids do you see Pitt landing with this class, looks like a good amount of prospects we have offered? Who is the last kid Pitt landed from Delaware if ever?



GURU: Yes, it is a good year in that state. As I said in a previous answer I think Pitt has a good shot at the Merrell twins. I'm sure they have not stopped recruiting Duron Harmon. Justin Brown could be another possibility as well. So they have a shot at three or four guys. The only one I can remember is Jett Otah who was originally from Delaware. We'll have to do some research on that one.




"In Your Grill" question of the session:


buccoboy With the new "Saban rule" in place, what adjustments has the staff made to the way they are recruiting kids this year?



GURU: The rule was only in effect during the evaluation period. It really means that you have to trust your staff a lot more. It really puts more of an emphasis on getting kids on to your campus early on so you can get them around your head coach. As opposed to years past where the head coach would be out seeing the kids in the schools.




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