Pitt Recruiting Update

With the Pitt football team securing its 11th verbal commitment this week, the Panthers are nearly half way toward filling their next recruiting class.

However, Pittsburgh still has a lot of work to do to reach the maximum 25 scholarships allowed, which is the number of players the Panthers are expected to sign in February, 2010. Here is a rather comprehensive list with possible candidates, their ratings, some information on each and the other schools involved with securing their commitments.

FOUR STARS Fullback Zach Zwinak, Linganore HS in Frederick, Md., 6-2, 225 Recruited by Bryan Bossard. Zwinak has about 20 offers, but Pitt reportedly is in his top five with Ohio State, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Virginia. This will be a tough commit to get for the Panthers, but they are in the running. Zwinak is a powerful runner with decent speed for a big guy. He ran for 1,447 yards (10.9 average) and 19 touchdowns as a junior. Here are video highlights with Zwinak: Click Here

Cornerback Cullen Christian, Penn Hills HS in Pittsburgh, 6-1, 180 Recruited by Greg Gattuso. Christian has 17 offers, but hometown Pitt is not in his top three. Michigan is the leader with Michigan State, UCLA, West Virginia and Pitt. Christian has the ability to be a solid shut-down corner. K'Wuan Williams is the Panthers' only CB commitment so far. Christian had 35 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble as a junior. Here are video highlights with Christian: Click Here

Wideout Shakim Phillips, DePaul Catholic HS in Wayne, N.J., 6-2, 198 Recruited by Jeff Hafley. Phillips is an elite receiver with 22 offers, but Pitt and Boston College reportedly are the front-runners. Rutgers, Maryland and West Virginia also are involved. Receivers Andrew Carswell, Kevin Weatherspoon and Salath Williams already have committed to the Panthers. Phillips had 40 catches for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. Here are video highlights with Phillips: Click Here

Running back Corey Brown, Cardinal O'Hara HS in Springfield, Pa., 5-11, 170. Recruited by Brian Angelichio. Brown has 15 offers, but won't name a front-runner. Pitt, Penn State, Rutgers and West Virginia reportedly are right there. T.J. Peeler is the lone RB committed to the Panthers. Brown ran for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns with 15 catches for 281 yards and four scores as a junior. He also had a punt return for a TD and four interceptions on defense.

Safety Josh Furman, Old Mill HS in Millersville, Md., 6-2, 187. Recruited by Bryan Bossard. Furman has 13 offers, but he has not stated a top-five list. Pitt certainly is among his top 10 with Duke, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech. The Panthers already have commitments from safety prospects Jeff Knox and Derrick Burns, who could grow into a linebacker. Furman had 87 tackles, 25 behind the line with eight sacks, six forced fumbles and two blocked punts as a junior. On offense, he ran for 796 yards (nearly eight per carry) and 14 touchdowns. He has run a sub-4.4 40. Here are video highlights with Furman: Click Here

Tight end Kevin Haplea, North Hunterdon Regional in Annandale, N.J., 6-4, 230 Recruited by Jeff Hafley. Haplea has 17 offers and recently took a whirlwind trip to visit most of them. Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia reportedly are his top three. The Panthers don't have any tight ends committed this year, and just one -- Brock DeCicco -- in 2009, but Carswell has the frame to grow into one. Haplea had 16 catches for two TDs as a sophomore and 17 for two as a junior. Here are video highlights with Haplea: Click Here

Safety Brandon Ifill, Penn Hills HS in Pittsburgh, 5-11, 180. Recruited by Greg Gattuso. Ifill has 13 offers with Pitt, Maryland, Michigan and Rutgers reportedly as the front-runners. He will be easier to get than teammate Christian, but no guarantee. Ifill is a tremendous athlete who had 42 catches for 680 yards and seven TDs as a sophomore and 31 for 405 and three as a junior. Here are video highlights with Ifill: Click Here

THREE STARS Offensive guard Sal Conaboy, Abington Hts. HS in Clarks Summit, Pa., 6-4, 260 Recruited by Brian Angelichio. Conaboy has offers from Pitt, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Syracuse, Temple, West Virginia and Rutgers, but the Panthers reportedly are battling the Scarlet Knights because he isn't likely to matriculate too far away from home. Conaboy is a powerful blocker and would be a nice addition to Pitt's class, which already has inside O-lineman Brandon Sacco. Here are video highlights with Sacco: Click Here

Offensive guard Matt Rotheram, North Olmstead, Ohio HS, 6-6, 310 Recruited by David Walker and Tony Wise. Rotheram has 22 offers with Pitt, Purdue and Indiana reportedly making his top three. Despite his size, Rotheram could be better-suited to playing inside on the O-line. Here are video highlights with Rotheram: Click Here

WR-CB Tre Boston, North Fort Myers, Fla. HS, 6-1, 175 Recruited by Joe Tumpkin. Boston has nine offers and lists Indiana as a leader, but that could change if the big Florida schools eventually offer him. Pitt is a long-shot for him. Boston had 43 catches (17.1 average) and five touchdowns as a junior with 41 tackles and four interceptions on defense. Here are video highlights with Boston: Click Here

Offensive tackle Shane Johnson, DeMatha Catholic, Hyattesville, Md., 6-5, 300 Recruited by Bryan Bossard. Johnson has 16 offers, but he has developed a good relationship with Bossard and OL coach Tony Wise. Therefore, Pitt is among his leaders with Boston College and Rutgers.

Quarterback Anthony Gonzalez, Liberty HS in Bethlehem, Pa., nearly 6-3, 190 Recruited by Brian Angelichio. This talented athlete is a priority for Pitt, which reportedly is with leaders Penn State, Florida State and West Virginia among his 13 offers. As a junior, Gonzalez was named the Associated Press Class AAAA Player of the Year, was a first-team performer and led his team to the PIAA title. He completed 114 of 206 passes for 1,580 yards and 12 touchdowns with just five interceptions and ran 264 times for 1,697 yards and 24 TDs. Here are video highlights with Gonzalez: Click Here

Outside linebacker Manessah Garner, Brashear HS in Pittsburgh, 6-2, 201. Recruited by David Walker. The athletic Garner has six offers with Pitt and Wisconsin ahead of Maryland, Minnesota, Akron and Toledo. He had six sacks and three interceptions from his LB spot, but added 52 catches for 702 yards and 10 touchdowns as a wideout his junior year. Bryan Murphy is the lone OLB who has committed to Pitt, but he could end up at D-end. Here are video highlights with Garner: Click Here

Cornerback Brendon Felder, Gateway HS in Monroeville, Pa., 5-10, 162 Recruited by Greg Gattuso. Felder has 12 offers, but Pitt, Boston College and Penn State are the leaders. Felder isn't real big, but he has sub-4.4 speed. Here are video highlights with Felder: Click Here

Defensive end Dakota Royer, Manheim, Pa. Central HS, 6-3, 220 Recruited by Brian Angelichio. Royer has 20 offers and will be a tough commit for Pitt to get, but the Panthers are among his top schools with Notre Dame, Michigan State, Penn State and Oregon. Royer had 107 tackles, 31 for loss with 13 sacks and two fumble recoveries as a sophomore and recorded 86 tackles, 32 for loss with 13 sacks, four pass deflections and a blocked a punt on his way to first-team All-State honors as a junior. Here are video highlights with Royer: Click Here

Offensive guard Arthur Doakes, Lebanon, Pa. HS, 6-6, 350 Recruited by Brian Angelichio. His lone offers are Pitt, Rutgers and Troy. Despite the size to play OT, Doakes is a powerful inside blocker as a guard.

Safety Eric Williams, Pennsbury HS in Fairless Hills, Pa., 6-3, 205 Recruited by Brian Angelichio. Williams has six offers with Pitt joining Akron, Kent State, Syracuse, Temple and Vanderbilt. Here are video highlights with Williams: Click Here

Wideout Tyrek Cheeseboro, Milford Mill Academy, Baltimore, Md.; 6-0, 175 Recruited by Bryan Bossard. He has nine offers with Pitt, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, Connecticut and West Virginia among the leaders. Cheeseboro has a good relationship with Bossard and tremendous speed and would be a nice addition to Pitt's WR corps if Phillips doesn't commit first.

ONE STAR Wideout Allen Hurns, Carol City HS in Miami, Fla., 6-1, 170 Recruited by Joe Tumpkin. Hurns has just four offers with Pitt, Central Florida, Miami, Fla. and Florida International in the mix. However, the Panthers are a long shot with his three home-state schools involved. UCF is the front-runner. Hurns had 23 catches for 440 yards and four touchdowns as a junior. Here are video highlights with Hurns: Click Here

Defensive tackle K.K. Smith, Woodland Hills HS in Pittsburgh, 6-1, 292 Recruited by Greg Gattuso. Smith has four offers, and Pitt is a clear leader ahead of Syracuse, Ohio University and Toledo. West Virginia has not yet offered, but is being considered. He had 100 tackles and nine sacks as a junior. Pitt has one DT, Aaron Donald, already committed this year with DE T.J. Clemmings the only other D-lineman in the fold.

Tight end Brendan Carozzoni, St. Ignatius HS in Cleveland, Ohio, 6-4, 216 Recruited by David Walker. Carozzoni has eight offers with Pitt, West Virginia and Indiana reportedly listed as the front-runners. He would be a solid addition to the class if the Panthers don't get the more highly-rated Haplea. Here are video highlights with Carozzoni: Click Here

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