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.

TheMcKillopsRule:  Is Pitt recruiting any punters this year and who are they since Dave Brytus is graduating?


GURU: From everything I am hearing this walk-on kid from Moon is supposed to be very good. There aren't a bunch of great punters out there, so you're almost better off saving the scholarship and taking your chances instead of reaching.


TheMcKillopsRule: Any info. on Travis Wolfe. He played in the Big 33 last year and is supposedly walking on.


GURU: I have not heard anything about him anywhere. Dale may be able to elaborate more, but I don't remember him being a walk-on.




CaptainH: Which juniors do you anticipate getting early offers? Is the first date for written offers still 9/1?

Todd Thomas recruiting has been fairly quiet lately. Where is this standing?

Who are the main not yet offered players you believe the staff is watching most closely? Who do you feel most likely to have a breakout year from this list?

Is there anyone in particular you believe is flying under the radar who will jump up in the eyes of recruiters - someone who is presently being ignored by the colleges?


GURU: Paul Jones and Andrew Carswell from Sto-Rox, Kevin Weatherspoon from Clairton, Mike Hull from Canon Mac. D.J. Meyers from Central Catholic, Dakota Royer from Manheim Central, Jordan Thomas from Union-Endicott (N.Y.), Jordan Paskorz from Hampton, Jamel Turner from Ursuline (Ohio), Kenny Wilkins from Trinity, Corey Brown from Cardinal O'Hara, Miles Dieffenbach from Fox Chapel and DeAndre Harris from Ursuline (Ohio) are all guys I would think have a solid shot at an early offer on September 1.


I'm sticking to my guns on Todd Thomas. I have said many times the longer his recruitment goes, the better it is for Pitt.


That list really doesn't exist right now the guys who would've been on it such as Ryan Schlieper and Pat Eger have already committed. I guess the one kid I would watch is Jordan Roussos from Carlynton. I don't know if Pitt will offer the kid, but he and Jeff Parrish from Gateway are two under-the-radar guys I like.



W0lfinator: Darrin Walls.. What's up with him?


GURU: Good question. My guess is that he ends up back at Notre Dame in January.



W0lfinator: Who has been the biggest surprise at camp? both in a positive way and a negative way (it can't be all sunshine and roses)



DALE: Taglianetti has to be the biggest surprise. He was considered a grayshirt possibility just a few months ago and will now likely start on special teams. Chris Burns has been a pleasant surprise as well. They knew he was good, but he surpassed the early expectations the staff had. Joe Thomas would probably be the negative. He has not really jumped up and seized that right tackle job. Lucas Nix is still breathing down his neck.



BlankStare: is there any evidence to suggest that the coaches will use Nate Byham as as true weapon getting him at least 40 catches or will it be more of the same offense where we don't really utilize the TE?



DALE: 40 catches is a lot for a tight end, especially with as many weapons as they have plus LeSean McCoy. They will utilize him more, but to what extent we do not know.


Reno9: Is Austin Ransom on Scholarship?


GURU: Yes, Ransom has been on scholarship since I believe prior to last season.


W0lfinator: am guessing that Dorin Dickerson has NOT passed John Pelusi on the depth chart.. If I am correct, how much has he closed the gap? And do you really ever expect Pelusi to ever get passes thrown his way or is he basically just going to be another lineman?



DALE: They know what Dorin can do and will use all three. They may even split Dorin and Nate out some, because they are so athletic. Pelusi looks to be the best blocker of the three, but he has also had a injury plagued career, so can he stay healthy?



Reno9: Do you see Pitt playing more nickel this year under Phil Bennett than they did last year? It almost seemed the base defense was on the field in 3rd and long situations all the time.


DALE: Will find out right off the bat with Bowling Green. A lot of the teams Pitt plays will predicate the defensive calls. Our short answer would be yes.


Rmf05: Could the recent de-commits at Rutgers trickle down to some of the kids Pitt was/is looking at, in the near future?


GURU: Most of the New Jersey kids will stick it out no matter what. Jordan Hill would have been the one I could have seen changing his mind or possibly a Malcolm Bush maybe. I think Bush is probably out since there is not much need for him. Hill may have played the game too much already.


W0lfinator: Is it true that the Wildcat has been removed from NCAA 09 and Madden 09??


GURU: I could not tell you, I have not had time to play a video game  in about five years. I still have NCAA 2006 and it is still in the wrapper.



Reno9: what's the biggest position of need right now for the panthers 2009 recruiting class?


GURU: Defensive line was a need, but that has been pretty much taken care of. The interior offensive line was a concern, but that has been addressed as well. Really, Pitt can be in the mode of taking the best available right now. Safety I think is still a little thin.


Reno9: Can you give us an update on some 2008 recruiting class members that we've heard little about.. Justin Virbitsky, Joe Trebitz, Ryan Turnley & Manny Williams??



GURU: Ryan Turnley injured his knee very early in camp. Manny Williams came on strong at the end of camp. He looked like he was adjusting physically and mentally. Justin Virbitsky he is behind Mike Cruz at tight end in what is a deep position. Joe Trebitz didn't really get a ton of reps after the split squad practices. He will likely redshirt.


Baldwin, Nix and Taglianetti look to be the only freshmen starting out who will play. That is barring any unforeseen circumstances.



Buccoboy: RJ Thomas is a junior linebacker at Hempfield area with decent size, 6'2" 210 pounds, and said he likes Pitt and PSU. Is this kid a legit a D-1 player, and has Pitt showed any interest in him?


GURU:I have not seen him on film or at any combines or camps, so I have no answer for you right now.


ShannonPanther: It sometimes takes a team a while to learn how to win. Other than at WVU last year I can't remember many close wins under Wanny, but I can tick off tons of close losses. In your opinion, was last years brawl the beginning of us winning these tight games? Has this staff / team learned to finish?



GURU: I think the staff has, but more importantly the players themselves now know they can beat a team as high quality as the Mountaineers and in a close game at their place. The Pitt players should have plenty of confidence this year after that win and getting most of their injured players back.


Pittparade: What happened with the PITT recruitment of Jaleel Clark?   I mean, did the staff back off or was the kid just evasive about where he wanted to go to school?

How do you think the staff will address the fullback situation after this season--- recruit, player switching positions, phase out the position?

In your opinion who is the most under rated commit PITT has right now?



GURU: Clark was supposed to visit this summer a few times and I don't believe he ever did show up. He has been the most evasive recruit I have ever dealt with in Pennsylvania, next to Callahan Bright.


I would expect a fullback could come from another position. There just aren't a lot of pure fullbacks out there who are worth a ship.


I think Will Clarke has amazing potential, but the one guy who could be a potential star is Devin Street in my opinion.






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