Pitt Offers 2009 Safety

With 13 among the 14 defensive backs offered scholarships for its 2009 recruiting class already verbally committed to other schools, the Pitt football team has made an offer to a high school senior.

Pittsburgh is hopeful that 6-foot-1, 197-pound safety Brandan Bishop from Boca Raton, Fla. High School will follow safety Carl Fleming from Franklin High School in Reistertown, Md. and commit to the Panthers.

Along with Pitt, Bishop has offers from the Air Force Academy, Florida International (FIU), North Carolina State, West Virginia and Western Michigan. Wake Forest, UNLV, Minnesota, Syracuse, and Central Florida (UCF) also have shown interest in Bishop. He visited Pitt at the end of June.

"I've been to UCF, Wake Forest, Minnesota and Pitt, and I enjoyed all of the campuses.'' Bishop said. "I really don't have a favorite, because I have enjoyed all my visits so far. Pitt shares a lot of their facilities with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Minnesota has a nice new stadium, and Wake Forest and UCF were beautiful.''

Bishop has always been a tough, tenacious defensive player, but his size and speed were in question. Two years ago, he was about 6-feet tall and 175 pounds. Now, he is 6-1, nearly 200 pounds and has run a sub-6.0-second 40-yard dash. Bishop also transferred from North Broward Prep, a smaller 2A school in South Florida, to 4A Boca Raton before his junior season.

"I really didn't see that big of a difference from 2A to 4A,'' Bishop said. "The biggest distinction between the two levels is the depth. A lot more schools are bigger and faster at 4A than they are at 2A.

"(But) I'm a hitter. I'm a physical safety, and my game is at its best with pads on. (And) I think adding muscle tells coaches a lot. It says I'm a hard worker and a player who is willing to do whatever it takes.''

Although Bishop appears to be on top of his game, that won't stop him now.

"I just need to keep working hard,'' Bishop said. "I'd like to get a little faster. I'm in the land of speed (in South Florida), so going against top athletes helps. I'm also trying to get a little bigger. I'd like to get to 205 pounds.''

Bishop noted that some schools believe he eventually can grow into a weak-side linebacker, but Pitt appears to be interested in him just as a safety now. And he's a pretty good one, according to an ESPN.com evaluation.

"Brandon Bishop is a very reliable defensive back,'' ESPN.com said. "He has good size and is quicker than fast. He is an active and instinctive safety that reacts instantly to the run or pass. and displays a quick break on the football and takes good angles to make the interception or knock down the pass.

"(Bishop) demonstrates the talents to be an outstanding center fielder in a three-deep zone defense. He possesses soft hands, but needs to learn how to high-point the football (better) and often waits for it to come down. He makes proper run-support angles to the football and maintains leverage on the ball carrier while making physical tackles.

"(Bishop) makes solid chest-up tackles in the open field and rarely gets out of position,'' ESPN.com added. "He also shows versatility on special teams as a punt- and field-goal blocker. Bishop is a smart and solid defensive back that shows ability and field smarts.''

Here are some video highlights for Bishop.



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