With a verbal commitment from Bernardo Nunez this week, Pittsburgh has 18 recruits who have said they will sign with the Panthers' football team Feb. 4, which is National Letter of Intent Day. But Pitt has several more targets to finish off its 2009 recruiting class.
And each one is a three- or four-star player, according to the Scout.com ratings. That group includes linebacker Shane Gordon from Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fla., linebacker Dan Mason from Penn Hills HS in Pittsburgh, safety Josh Evans from Irvington, N.J. HS, defensive end-tight end Malcolm Bush from Hackensack, N.J. HS and defensive tackle Isaac Holmes from Hoboken, N.J. HS.
Pitt linebackers coach Joe Tumpkin will be in Florida for an in-home visit to lock down Gordon Monday. The player also visited South Florida, the other big-time player for his services in college. He was expected to visit Mississippi as well, but apparently the Panthers and USF are his leaders.
Head coach Dave Wannstedt will attempt to secure Mason during a home visit Wednesday. Mason has been dragging his feet a bit, letting the recruiting process play out, but the Panthers want to stop that and secure him as soon as possible. Mason reportedly has taken a hard look at West Virginia, Penn State and Michigan, but his hometown Panthers have been said to have the edge.
No one is expected to visit the Panthers this weekend, but Evans has a trip scheduled to Florida. Then, he has an official visit scheduled Jan. 30 for Pitt. He already has taken official visits to Oklahoma and Purdue in December and should be able to make a decision shortly after the Pitt trip. He isn't expected to announce that decision until signing day.
Evans will be joined on campus by Bush next weekend. Bush already has had an official visit, but he and his father will take an unofficial trip. The highlight that weekend will be Pitt's Big East men's basketball matchup against Notre Dame Jan. 31 at noon at the Petersen Events Center. Bush has said that Pitt rates ahead of North Carolina, which apparently has over-recruited this year.
Pitt secondary coach Jeff Hafley is the key recruiter for Evans, Bush and Holmes. Panthers verbal commitments Nunez, running back Raymond Graham from Elizabeth, N.J. HS, running back-defensive back Kevin Adams from St. Joseph Regional HS in Montvale, N.J. and running back Dion Lewis from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. also were recruited by Hafley.
Holmes already has taken official visits to Florida and Maryland, as well as Pitt, and he still has a trip to Rutgers this weekend. Reportedly, he will make a final decision after that and likely announce it by sometime next week.
Pitt's first big junior day is Feb. 14. The Panthers have handed out 15 written offers to high school juniors and are expected to hand out even more after that. The highlight that day is the Pitt men's basketball game against Cincinnati at 4 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.
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