Big Recruiting Weekend At Pitt

As if Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt didn't have enough to worry about with his star player waffling about either returning to school to turning pro, it's also a big recruiting weekend for the Panthers with more than a dozen players in town for visits with the men's basketball game with St. John's Sunday at noon at the Petersen Events Center capping the event.

At least Wannstedt got tailback LeSean McCoy and his family to table the player's decision concerning the NFL Draft for the weekend. The group met late Friday afternoon and will get together again Monday apparently to determine an outcome for McCoy. He has until Thursday to declare for the NFL Draft.

While McCoy and his family ponder pros and cons to turning pro, a large recruiting contingent and their families are visiting the Pittsburgh campus, including six players trying to determine their futures in football as well.

That group includes linebacker Shane Gordon from Cypress Bay HS in Weston, Fla., quarterback Kolby Gray from Cypress Falls HS in Houston, Texas, tailback-cornerback Jason Hendricks from Hudson Catholic Regional HS in Jersey City, N.J., defensive tackle Isaac Holmes from Hoboken, N.J. HS, middle linebacker Dan Mason from Penn Hills HS in Pittsburgh, Pa. and defensive end Bernardo Nunez from Hoboken, N.J. HS. Commitments from any of these players would elevate the status of Pitt's 2009 recruiting class.

Here is a brief synopsis for each uncommitted player:

A 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker, Gordon has more than a dozen scholarship offers, but Pitt, South Florida and Mississippi have been among his top schools for a while. With speed and athleticism, Gordon could strengthen a spot on the Panthers' depth chart that was thin this year after two starters were injured in the opening game.

Gray is a 6-2, nearly 195-pound quarterback with a cannon arm and experience in a spread, pass-oriented offense. Along with Pitt, Utah and Boise State are interested in him, and he in them as well. Some believe he could commit to the Panthers, even though they joined the recruiting race for him late in the year.

Hendricks is 5-10, 180 pounds, and he has the speed and coverage skills to be a solid cornerback. He had a half-dozen offers for a while, but Pitt added its name to the mix a few weeks ago. He also has interest in Syracuse and Temple and has a visit to the Orange scheduled for next weekend.

The 6-3, 290-pound Holmes moves well for a big man, and he would be a strong addition to this class as an interior lineman. Few remaining targets are better than Holmes. He already has visited early favorite Maryland, as well as Florida, but Pitt can secure his commitment with a strong showing.

Mason, a 6-foot, 220-pound tackling machine still appears to be strongly considering his hometown team, but Pitt freshman Cameron Saddler says he is drawing out his recruitment because he enjoys the attention. This weekend is a chance for the Panthers to seal the deal with Mason, who also has Penn State, West Virginia and Michigan among his leaders with Pitt.

The 6-3, 235-pound Nunez joins his Hoboken teammate, Holmes, as someone Pitt would love to have in this class. He appears to be a perfect fit for Pitt's four-three defensive scheme, but the Panthers aren't his favorites. Maryland leads at this point, but he is strongly considering Pitt and Michigan State, which he will visit next weekend. He isn't likely to make a decision this weekend, but the Panthers certainly can move into the lead if they make a good impression.

There also are eight players who already have said that Pitt is it for them and will sign letters-of-intent Feb. 4, the first official signing day. They are running back Kevin Adams from St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J., defensive end Will Clarke from Allderdice HS in Pittsburgh, Pa., tight end Brock DeCicco from Thomas Jefferson HS in Jefferson Hills, Pa., offensive lineman Fernando Diaz from Cardinal Hayes HS in the Bronx, N.Y., defensive lineman Tyrone Ezell from Steel Valley HS in Munhall, Pa., lineman Juantez Hollins from Aliquippa, Pa. HS, offensive lineman Cory King from Lakeview HS in Stoneboro, Pa. and wide receiver Devin Street from Liberty HS in Bethlehem, Pa.

Remaining recruits already verbally committed to signing with Pitt for its 2009 class are wideout Ed Tinker from Brashear High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. and North Carolina Tech Prep in Charlotte, running back Jason Douglas from Cypress Bay HS in Weston, Fla., wideout Todd Thomas from Beaver Falls, Pa. HS, running back Raymond Graham from Elizabeth, N.J. HS, safety Carl Fleming from Franklin HS in Reistertown, Md., defensive end Jack Lippert from Central Dauphin HS in Harrisburg, Pa. and running back Dion Lewis from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. Pitt currently has 15 verbal commitments.

Remaining visitors already scheduled for Pitt later this month are cornerback Carl Miles from Cypress Bay HS in Weston, Fla. and wideout Matt Plautz from Seneca Valley HS in Harmony, Pa. Friday, safety Josh Evans from Irvington, N.J. HS Jan. 20 and running back Greg Pratt from Naples, Fla. HS Jan. 23.

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