Tinker Returns Home

Wideout Ed Tinker's football career has come full circle in just a year.

After starring at Brashear High School in the Pittsburgh City League as a senior in 2007, Ed Tinker had to spend this past fall at North Carolina Tech, a prep school in Charlotte.

Now, Tinker has a chance to spend the next four years at his hometown college. He verbally committed to the Pitt football team Wednesday and is expected to sign a letter-of-intent Feb. 4, 2009. The academic issues that dogged him after his scholastic career have not yet been cleared up, but Tinker believed he would get a passing SAT score this time around.

"I'm going to get the score sometime next week, and I know I passed,'' Tinker said. "Then, I'll be able to sign with Pitt. It's a good thing for my family that I'll be playing for my hometown team, but it wasn't the most important thing. I want to be a part of Pitt's team because they're a very good team.

"They won nine games and are going to a bowl game. That's great, but they have a chance to be even better next year. And I want to be part of that. I believe I can come in and help them, be a big part of their success, and that's what I look forward to the most. I want to help them win a championship.''

Tinker noted that the Panthers coaching staff believed that with (freshmen) Jonathan Baldwin and Aundre Wright joining him at the receiver spots, Pitt is set there for the future. The Panthers lose Derek Kinder from this year's team, while Oderick Turner, T.J. Porter and Cedric McGee will all be in their final seasons of eligibility next fall.

Tinker, at about 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, has a chance to make an immediate impact, as he has the hands, concentration and strength to play at this level. A downside last year was that he had average speed, but Tinker said he worked on that and believed being in Pitt's off-season program as a January enrollee will enhance it even more. And Tinker's strengths will stand out as well.

"For me, the biggest thing, I think, is that I work out hard and I have good hands,'' Tinker said. "I can move the chains, and I can be counted on in the red zone. If our quarterback gets the ball near me, I'll catch it.''

Tinker said that many friends and family members are glad that he's back home, and "I'm glad, too,'' Tinker added, "because Pitt is so good now. Some other teams that offered me, like Louisville, they're down now. They've fallen off, but Pitt has a lot going for them right now.''

A big selling point for Tinker was the chance to get a good education. That's a main reason he wanted to take an official visit. Tinker got a chance to talk to Pitt's support staff and liked what he saw.

"Academics are very important to me,'' Tinker said. "They showed me some stuff I hadn't seen before, and after I spent the weekend with everybody at Pitt, the players and coaches, I knew I wanted to commit to Pitt.''

Tinker is Pitt's 15th verbal commitment for 2009, and he expects to join Blair Academy (N.J.) running back Dion Lewis as a January enrollee.

Todd Thomas, Beaver Falls, Pa. High School and Devin Street, Liberty HS, Bethlehem, Pa. are the other wideouts in this recruiting class.

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