Fenton Finalizing Plans

Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Dan Matha from McDowell High School is the only Erie, Pa. product on the Pitt football roster now that wideout Mo Williams has transferred, but the recent history of players from that area with the Panthers is rather sketchy.

Along with Mo Williams, running back Jawan Walker and linebacker Joe Dupre are Erie-area players who left the University of Pittsburgh early after promising starts to their football careers. A.J. Fenton is a player who could break that mold.

Fenton, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound outside linebacker-running back watched Pitt's afternoon practice Tuesday and liked what he saw.

"Pitt offered me earlier in the year, so I didn't come down here for their camps,'' Fenton said. "But I've been here a couple times, and I really like it. So, I'm just checking the place out and relaxing a little bit.

"A lot of it is where I'm comfortable, how it'll be to live here and go to school, the academics, just how I believe I'll fit in. Then, of course, opportunity comes into it. When am I going to get a chance to play? And Pitt's right up there with any of them. I wouldn't be there if it wasn't.''

Along with Pitt, Fenton has offers from Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, Stanford, Syracuse and Marshall, among others. While the Fighting Illini made an impression, Fenton said that Pitt and Wisconsin are his leaders.

"Wisconsin is another school that I'm interested in,'' Fenton said. "I have an official visit set up for Sept. 6, so we'll be flying there. I really don't have any other plans, but I can get down here to Pitt any time I want. It's only an hour and a half drive, so I can get here pretty easy. That's a good thing, too.

"I also like what Pitt has been doing on defense. I really like that a lot. They have a speed-oriented defense. I'm not the biggest linebacker in the world, but I can run. So, I think I would fit in pretty well in this defense. It should be a lot of fun to watch them play defense this season.''

Running backs coach David Walker has been recruiting Fenton, but he noted that head coach Dave Wannstedt, defensive coordinator Phil Bennett and linebackers coach Joe Tumpkin also keep in touch on a regular basis.

As a junior, Fenton had 144 carries for 1,079 yards and 13 touchdowns in seven games. He also started one game on defense and had seven tackles and one sack. Fenton also was a first-team all-conference performer.

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