The Guru Grill

Hello, Pitt football fans. On this rainy winter day, it seemed like a good idea to fire up The Guru Grill.

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

chuckaddle: What's the status of (Pitt redshirt freshman CB) Buddy Jackson?

Dale: Jackson suffered a shoulder injury and midseason and never was able to come back from it. In the meantime, he was passed on the depth chart by Ricky Gary and even freshman Antwuan Reed.

Guru: I think it was more that Jovani Chappel and Ricky Gary are playing up to where the coaches thought they would, especially Chappel, and even Reed has been getting some time. So, I don't think it was a matter necessarily what Buddy didn't do, but what the other guys have done.

w0lfinator: I know he is real young, but some kids have a clear-cut favorite at a young age. Any word on where (Hopewell, Pa. HS frosh RB) Rushel Shell might be leaning, and do you think he is gonna end up garnering the accolades Shady did in HS? Does he project to the next level like Shady? Thanks.

Guru: First, it caught everybody by surprise, because they didn't no anything about him. Second, the talent in the state, not just Western Pa., was down this year. And third, I do think he's a good running back at that age, and if he continues to progress the next few years he'll be a big-time Division I back. But a lot can happen over the next three years.

Dale: I saw him play a couple times, and he definitely has the size and speed to compete against some good HS players. As far as him liking Pitt, Hopewell, despite famous alum Tony Dorsett starring at Pitt in the 1970s, hasn't really been a serious pipeline to the Panthers like Aliquippa. There have been a few here and there, Craig Bokor a few years ago and Ryan Turnley last year, but others have gone to Penn State (Paul Puz) and Notre Dame (David Puz).

pacoach: Just a random question: Where did DeJuan Blair's brother end up going to play college football?

Guru: The last I heard about (Schenley's) Greg Blair was that he went with (former Brashear wideouts) Ed Tinker and Quamane Bryant to a prep school in North Carolina, but to be honest with you I haven't heard any updates on them throughout the season. At Pitt's camp last year, Blair showed that with some seasoning and time in the weight room he could have been a good college LB. But that's a new prep school down there, so you don't hear much about it.

TheConjuntoPanther: Any progress report on Jarred Holley? Many said he was the sleeper in last year's recruiting class.

Guru: I know that they're very impressed with Holley and Antwuan Reed. Pitt has even backed off recruiting corners who might have helped them because they're so happy with Holley and Reed. I think Reed played to push the guys ahead of him, Jovani Chappel and Ricky Gary. And if Dan Cafaro could have stepped up, maybe Reed wouldn't have played, but he did and played all right.

Dale: Reed played primarily on special teams, and both he and Holley should make an even bigger splash the next couple years. Starters Chappel and Aaron Berry will be seniors next season.

CaptainH: Any indications that there are academic issues with any of the 2009 verbals? (Beaver Falls, Pa. HS WR) Todd Thomas? Todd, I know, has some work to do. But he's the only one that I've heard about so far.

Is there a listing of the 2010 offers? Who has definitely been offered, and who do you expect to receive one when they start bringing the recruits in for the basketball games?

Dale: The 2010 offers are listed in the Ironhead Lounge near the top of the page. There likely won't be any more until after the 2009 class is finalized.

How many scholarships do you anticipate for 2010?

Guru: Pitt is recruiting some kids now who can leave early for the NFL, and it's likely that will occur more and more in the coming years if Dave keeps it up. You never know about certain guys, but with a lot of work there could be several over the next few years. So, with all the seniors next year and possible guys leaving, it certainly should be a bigger class than the past few years.

Any interest in Andrew Holland, QB at (Cleveland, Ohio) St. Ignatious? Even a greyshirt? The kid comes from a great program and led the team to its 10th state championship since 1988.

Guru: Andrew was in camp and he was one of the more impressive kids that I saw from a QB perspective that they had in. I think there are a few kids right now that they like more and you just have to wait and see what happens with a few of them I think before they'd pursue Holland.

Before anyone else asks, how do you see the remainder of the 2009 class play out? Any surprises on the horizon?

Guru: You never know, but if Pitt wins the bowl game I would bet that they'll be in on quite a few big names. And the Florida kids, remember Conredge Collins. He held out waiting for a certain offer, and it never came. Pitt stayed on him and got him at the last minute. That could happen again, and they always have a couple guys in Florida who could decide at the end. But it all depends.

With 14 players already committed, the spots are filling up fast. With Dan Mason and Jordan Hill, I think they're leaning to Pitt. And Rutgers might not take back Malcolm Bush, even if he wants to go back, so he could come to Pitt. That would be 17 right there. Then, there's the Merrill twins. And in January, there's a few they're looking at, so like I've said before: You never know.

dj0825: What are the odds of Pitt landing the RB (Alex Green) at Butte College, he is supposedly a stud?

Guru: With the way things are going right now for Pitt, I would be surprised if it even could offer him. With the commitments expected the next couple weeks and the other kids they already have at running back, in this class and on the roster, they're going to be pretty filled up at the position. Henry Hynoski will be the guy at fullback, but there's nobody after him. I don't think they'll consider Shariff Harris there, even though they like Chris Burns, too. Raymond Graham from Elizabeth, N.J., they're really high on him. And some of the other guys, they'll probably have to switch positions. But it worked out pretty well for Greg Williams. I think that's what they'll do with Kevin Adams (St. Joseph Regional HS in Montvale, N.J.), move him to defense.

Panther Digest Top Stories