Smith Awaits Offers

The Pitt football team has secured just one verbal commitment from an outside linebacker, so there should be room for at least one more before the Panthers close out that position for the 2010 class.

However, at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Bryan Murphy from Don Bosco Prep School in Ramsey, N.J. could grow into a defensive end. Other top candidates are Dakota Royer from Manheim, Pa. Central High School and local kid Manessah Garner from Brashear High School.

But a guy that Pittsburgh might turn to late in the recruiting process, and the Panthers actually still have to offer him, is Rashaun Smith from Bridgeton, N.J. High School. At about 6-1 and 260 pounds, Smith might appear to be ticketed for a defensive end spot, but he doesn't think that's the case.

"Pitt really liked me,'' Smith said after attending the Panthers' prospects camp with his mom. "I met a lot of the coaches and toured the campus, but they want me to get down to about 250 pounds. And that shouldn't be tough.

"Coach (Tony) Wise has been recruiting me for Pitt. He came to my school. We send e-mails back and forth, and I've called a couple times. I like him a lot. I consider Pitt a favorite right now, but we'll see how things go this season.''

Smith also has had academic issues in the past, but those have been cleared up, he said, so he expected to get some scholarship offers soon.

"My grades, I'm sure that's what held me back,'' Smith said. "So, that's been my main concern over the summer, and it's going real well. I just have to keep going strong, working on my grades, and things will come together for me.''

Smith also has been working out for his senior year at Bridgeton.

"I'm not in a down position at our school,'' Smith said. "I'm kind of a stand-up linebacker, and I've been able to make a lot of players the past couple years. So, I'm working hard to improve on that this season.''

Along with the Panthers, Smith has been hearing from Rutgers, East Carolina and James Madison, but Pitt appears to be in the lead so far. If Smith appears to have his academic issues cleared up, his recruitment could improve greatly.

There should be no doubt about his on-field ability. Smith had 216 total tackles the past two seasons as a starter with 13 sacks and two interceptions last fall. He had 116 tackles as a junior and eight sacks, so he certainly improved.

With additional development, on the field and in the classroom, Smith should get that elusive scholarship offer.

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