Pitt's Florida Recruiting

For those who believe the Pitt football program has de-emphasized its recruiting efforts in Florida this year, that's just not the case.

Pittsburgh and its primary Sunshine State recruiter, linebackers coach Joe Tumpkin, have not yet had a chance to pound the pavement there this year. Tumpkin likely will take a trip in the spring, sometime after the annual Blue-Gold game on April 11 at Heinz Field.

The Panthers already have offered three juniors from Florida -- quarterback Mark Leal from Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Fla.; wideout DeJoshua Johnson from Pahokee, Fla. HS; and offensive lineman Brandon Linder from St. Thomas Aquinas HS in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Other players with Pitt interest include quarterback Mitch Marincov from Timber Creek HS in Orlando, Fla.; linebacker Justin Birkenholz from Stoneman Douglas HS in Lakeland, Fla.; cornerback Jayestin Boston from North Fort Myers, Fla. HS; and cornerback Cody Riggs from St. Thomas Aquinas HS in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


Johnson turns it on



Leal ready to fire downfield

The 6-foot, 180-pound Leal holds offers from Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Wake Forest, Florida International and Vanderbilt, as well as Pitt. He threw for 2,355 yards (144-for-278) and 21 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Linder, a 6-6, 285-pound center-offensive guard, is a national recruit with 17 scholarship offers, including Pitt and schools like Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Fla. Auburn, Notre Dame and Boston College. Lindon is versatile and considered to be among the more technically sound players in the country.

Johnson is elusive

Johnson, a speedy 5-10, 155-pound wideout, nearly committed weeks ago, but as additional offers -- including Pitt, South Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Miami, Fla. It would be easy for Johnson to stay home, but his mom told him to be thorough.

"I had a talk with her, and she just told me that I should talk to all the colleges, hear what they have to say, and not rush my decision,'' Johnson told Scout.com. "After talking to her, I have to say I agree with her. So, I don't have a leader, and I am going to talk with a lot of coaches.''

Here are two videos with Johnson footage:



Marincov sets up to pass

Marincov, a 6-1, 210-pounder, was at Pitt's Prospects Camp this past year.

Marincov "looks poised beyond his years,'' Scout.com Regional Recruiting Manager Bob Lichtenfels said, "and he (has) a strong arm. ... (Marincov) once again was impressive (the second day). He will be one to watch next season.''

A nearly 6-2, 205-pound strong-side linebacker, Birkenholz has interest from Boston College, Connecticut, Florida Atlantic, North Carolina State, Rutgers and Wisconsin, along with Pitt. Birkenholz is not flashy, according to Scout.com, but is consistent with a frame that should fill out to 220-230 pounds in a year. He used to be a wrestler, but is focused solely on football now. He has been highly productive in his career with more than 100 tackles each season as a starter.

Here are a story with video and a second video on Birkenholz:


Along with Pitt, Louisville, Maryland, South Florida, Central Florida, Wake Forest and Wisconsin are courting the 6-1, 165-pound Boston. Projected as a receiver or cornerback in college, the speedster was a solid quarterback and safety this past fall and also led his basketball team in scoring. He will play quarterback and safety. He has 4.43 speed in the 40 with a 4.16 shuttle and 9-8 broad jump.

A first-team all-area selection, Boston had 41 tackles and four interceptions as a sophomore with 43 catches for 736 yards before moving to quarterback as a junior. Here is a story and video about Boston:


Here are two more stories on Boston:



A series of junior highlights for Boston follows in the media center:

Boston Videos

Riggs ready to bring some lumber.

Riggs has had interest from Pitt, Boston College, Duke, Miami, Fla., Notre Dame, Rutgers and Wisconsin. He is a lockdown corner due to his speed (4.39 in the 40), but he's only 5-10, 170 pounds. A first-team all-state selection in Class 5-A, he is the son of former NFL running back Gerald Riggs. He had eight interceptions and 20 pass breakups as a junior. He has excellent ball skills.

Here is a story on Riggs:


Here is a video on Riggs:


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