LOI Eve Thoughts

Pitt's 2009 recruiting class will be evaluated up and down from now until it arrives on campus, even though its true worth won't be determined for at least couple years from now.

However, there are certain aspects about the Pittsburgh recruiting efforts that need to be noted right now.

Josh Evans, the safety prospect from Irvington, N.J. High School, hasn't officially said that Florida is where he wants to go to college. But that's his likely destination. Still, Pitt was in the running for his talents along with BCS title-game finalists Florida and Oklahoma. When one thinks about where the Panthers' football program was just a couple years ago it's quite an accomplishment to be included with those two.

It also must be noted that while the Panthers lost out to Rutgers at the last minute for defensive tackle Isaac Holmes from Hoboken, N.J. High School and tight end Malcolm Bush from Hackensack, N.J. High School, they nearly plucked the two from the Scarlet Knights' backyard.

These points can't be overlooked, so fourth-year Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt and his staff must be congratulated for what they've accomplished in recruiting considering what they accomplished on the football field in recent years. And after putting together the best regular-season record in more than two decades and receiving the first bowl bid in four years, this should only be the beginning for the Panthers on the field and the recruiting trail as well.

On a down side, verbal commitments by middle linebacker Shane Gordon from Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fla. and defensive end Will Clarke from Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh have softened a bit. They still could sign with the Panthers, but they have taken other visits since their verbals. Gordon went to Kansas this past weekend, and Clarke -- an Aug. 13, 2008 commit -- took a trip to Akron and had a West Virginia one planned as well.

There are more high points -- getting five Jersey kids that Rutgers coveted -- as well as some other gems, and low ones -- losing some WPIAL kids to other schools, but in all the class appears to be solid. So, don't jump off the Pitt bandwagon just yet. It's just starting to roll.

Pitt's 21 verbal commitments going into LOI Day, their national rank and star status by Scout.com:

OT 70 *** Ryan Schlieper, North Allegheny HS, Pittsburgh, Pa. 6-6, 278

MLB 38 *** Shane Gordon, Cypress Bay HS, Weston, Fla. 6-0, 220

MLB 8 **** Dan Mason, Penn Hills HS, Pittsburgh, Pa. 6-0, 218

DE 44 *** Bernardo Nunez, Hoboken HS, Hoboken, N.J. 6-3, 235

CB 148 ** Jason Hendricks, Hudson Cath. Reg. HS, Jersey City, N.J. 5-10, 180

QB 43 *** Kolby Gray, Cypress Falls HS, Houston, Texas 6-2, 192

WR PG *** Ed Tinker, N.C. Tech Prep, Charlotte, N.C. 6-3, 215

RB 224 ** Jason Douglas, Cypress Bay HS, Weston, Fla. 5-7, 155

WR 31 **** Todd Thomas, Beaver Falls Area HS, Beaver Falls, Pa. 6-2, 202

TE 7 **** Brock DeCicco, Thomas Jefferson HS, Jefferson Hills, Pa. 6-5, 227

RB 34 **** Raymond Graham, Elizabeth HS, Elizabeth, N.J. 5-10, 175

DE NR ** Will Clarke, Allderdice HS, Pittsburgh, Pa. 6-6, 240

DE 21 **** Tyrone Ezell, Steel Valley HS, Munhall, Pa. 6-4, 248

S 74 *** Carl Fleming, Franklin HS, Reisterstown, Md. 6-1, 200

RB 92 *** Kevin Adams, St. Joseph Regional HS Montvale, N.J. 6-0, 208

OG 76 ** Fernando Diaz, Cardinal Hayes HS, Bronx, N.Y. 6-2, 270

WR 110 *** Devin Street, Liberty HS, Bethlehem, Pa. 6-3.5, 180

DE 48 *** Jack Lippert, Central Dauphin HS, Harrisburg, Pa. 6-4, 245

DT 38 *** Juantez Hollins, Aliquippa HS, Aliquippa, Pa. 6-4, 265

RB 70 *** Dion Lewis, Blair Academy, Blairstown, N.J. 5-7.5, 180

OT 38 *** Cory King, Lakeview HS, Stoneboro, Pa. 6-5, 300

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