The Guru Grill

Hello fellow Pitt football fans. It's time to fire up The Guru Grill.

This is where Panthers fans go to get the answers to their questions about University of Pittsburgh athletics and primarily recruiting from Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels. He will answer the recruiting questions, and Senior Writer Dale Grdnic will handle questions about this year's Panthers football team.

w0lfinator: What current verbal do you expect to blow up the most during their senior year, ala Chris Burns? And, Do you expect any decommits from Pitt?

Guru: I would say that the guys most likely to blow up this year, like Chris Burns last year, would be running backs Raymond Graham from Elizabeth, N.J. HS and Dion Lewis from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J.

Guru: I do not believe there will be any decommits. The USF win was huge, and as long as Pitt continues to stay on the right track, get a few more wins and go to a bowl game, no one should decommit.

pacoach: Whatever happened to Leon Green, the kid who was at West Mifflin and transferred to Gateway? I assume prep-school? Also, If Pitt were to bring in a new head coach after the season, who do you feel are some candidates who would be looked at?

Guru: He committed to Kent State and is listed as a freshman DB on the football roster. After the USF win, Dave Wannstedt's job security won't be an issue. However, when he leaves, depending when that is, probably Matt Cavanaugh, Phil Bennett, Greg Gattuso, maybe Sal Sunseri will get a look, and even Tom Bradley, I'm sure, could be considered if he doesn't succeed Paterno.

jells73: Do you have a list of what juniors got offered?

Guru: Quarterback Paul Jones from Sto-Rox, Pa. HS; wideout Andrew Carswell from Sto-Rox, Pa. HS; offensive lineman Miles Dieffenbach from Fox Chapel, Pa. HS; linebacker Mike Hull from Canon-McMillan, Pa. HS; wideout Kevin Weatherspoon from Clairton, Pa. HS; and running back Corey Brown from Cardinal O'Hara (Springfield, Pa.) HS are the only ones I know got mailed out Sept. 1.

WeRNotTheirRivals: Jeff Sinclair of Highlands. Will he be another kid who ends up elsewhere, say some MAC school as he torches us from Miami, OH, running the spread offense, or when we have some smallish FS out there not making plays, and Sinclair is now a Barry Church or Devonte Shannon for some MAC school that will be drafted by the NFL. Why aren't we recruiting him?

Guru: Jeff is a good athlete and a good HS football player, and he might end up being a MAC player. But I don't think he's a Barry Church or Devonte Shannon. He's definitely a good athlete, but Pitt is recruiting a lot of good athletes. The safety position has been pretty thin the past couple years. Anyway, if I was going to offer somebody like that, I'd offer Jeff Parrish from Gateway.

PantherDen: It appeared during our game with Buffalo that we were able to pressure the QB better when we came out with only three down lineman. Do you think we will see that allignment more against teams that like to spread you out or will we keep coming out in a traditional 4-3?

Dale: Wannstedt was raised on the four-three and is committed to it. However, as he showed against USF, he can adapt (grudgingly), but change a bit nonetheless and played primarily a dime with six DBs, MLB Scott McKillop and four down guys. He won't get away from that too much, I don't believe.

CaptainH: From what you've written previously, Pitt will go all out to get Paul Jones in 2010. Who would be your choice as a backup if he decides to go elsewhere? Also, will DW & Co go after any quarterbacks this year since Savage committed to Rutgers. ... And how serious is Pitt about DJ Barney? Some folks I know there feel he's a better athlete than Mo Williams, although with a 4.6 40, I'm not so sure. Finally, has Pitt taken an active interest in DE/TE Darryl Baldwin, Solon HS, Class of 2010?

Guru: I like the kid from Florida that they had at camp, not real big but pretty smooth, and Kyle Smith from Eastern Pa. He's pretty good, and there's interest there. But Jones is real good, and you don't want him to be insecure if you're going out and looking at other guys, too. Like Pitt did with Pat Bostick. He basically had until June to make up his mind, and if he didn't they were going to move on and pursue other guys. So, you have to give Jones the time he needs.

Guru: D.J. is a great athlete who can throw the ball a country mile, but I'm not sure he's the answer as a quarterback. He's a great athlete and could play WR, but I wouldn't say he's as good an athlete as Mo Williams. But he can play receiver, like he did at Scout's Akron camp, but he could go to a small school just to play quarterback.

Guru: Baldwin is being recruited by the Who's Who in the Midwest and East. I'm sure Pitt will offer him, if it hasn't already. He's a big-time talent.

Reno9: Anything new with Chris Houston-CB (Harrisburg, Pa. Bishop McDevitt)?

Guru: Nothing new that I know about. I don't believe he'll be offered.

pacoach: Is Montay Green a legit D-I prospect? I know as a sophomore it is hard to tell, but the 2 games i have seen him in he looks like a workhorse back.

Guru: Green definitely is a legit prospect, but he's coming back from a severe leg injury. He's done well this year with good size, and he'll get some offers if he continues to progress. He could be one of the best to come out of Fox Chapel (Pa.) HS.

rmf05: How has Lippert played in the wake of his injury problems last season? And how has Street responded to an expanded role in his team's offense?

Dale: Jack Lippert had five sacks in his game last week, while Devin Street caught four passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. They are having solid seasons so far.

Reno9: Is Pitt still in play with Pete White?

Guru: I think they're on the outside looking in right now. Pitt was in it early, but has dropped off lately. Pete is pretty high on Penn State right now. The key for Pitt is to get him here on an official visit. Then, they have a chance.

BCQB2: How many recruits do you think we'll sign in February?

Guru: My magic number always is 18. Something could happen, but you never know. You might think it could be 15-16, but something always happens, kids leave and whatnot, so I think it'll be around 18.

Reno9: Did Je'ron Stokes ever consider Pitt? With Tennessee going in the wrong direction, do you see Je'ron looking around again, maybe at Pitt?

Guru: Je'Ron, if he decommits, probably would switch to Penn State. They're playing really well now, and if Fulmer gets fired he could go there. But he never really showed a lot of interest in Pitt.

jells73: How much does the USF win help with recruiting, especially with guys like Todd Thomas and Dan Mason?

Guru: A win like that always helps, but Danny's pretty set in his ways. He wants to wait until after the season, and if he plays in any post-season game he will make his commitment then. That doesn't mean I don't believe he'll come to Pitt, because I do, but he's talked about waiting for a long time. Thomas, I haven't talked to lately, but he might wait until after the season, too.

bear071562: Do you think that Pitt is reaching the stage in Wannstedt's program where it can really go after the top recruits head to head with the so-called elite programs in the recruiting areas out side Western Pa.? I think the talent level in Ohio, N.J., Florida and in some cases Eastern Pa. at least in the foreseeable future are going to be better than the WPIAL. I see maybe a handful of recruits for 2010 from this area, but Ohio and Jersey are going to be loaded. If Cavanaugh can't get it done in Ohio, put someone else there. Also, are we still going to hit florida or just try to cherry-pick a kid here and there?

Guru: You can't compare these areas, I don't believe. However, since Pitt is located in the WPIAL, it has to dominate that area. And has been since Wannstedt took over. You have to be able to recruit in your own back yard. Pa. has dominated the Big 33 the past couple years, and the WPIAL kids have been the key players on that team. To compare one district in Pa. to entire states like Ohio, N.J. and Florida, that's not really fair. But the WPIAL certainly holds its own, and the entire state of Pa. does even better. Pitt will remain interested in Florida, and when there are kids who get their interest they'll go after them.

sailboy: What do you think of Zach Barket of Schuylkill Haven. A 6-foot, 205-pound running back with 1,684 yards and 27 rushing TDs?

Guru: I am not familiar with him. Sorry.

sailboy: Do you hear any new names looking at Pitt?

Guru: I really haven't heard anybody new. Pitt is going after the remaining kids they've been looking at.

Panther Digest Top Stories