Since Pittsburgh already had 24 players publicly committed and another scholarship player -- tight end Hubie Graham -- expected to enroll in January after transferring from Illinois after two seasons, many wondered about this new recruit's identity. Here's what Wannstedt said on the radio.
"This will be the first year since my first year (2005) that we brought in 25 new recruits, and I'm excited to say -- not who or how -- but we got our 25th verbal commitment while I was at the (Meineke Car Care) bowl game.
"Generally, at this time, we've been around 15 verbal commitments. But never at 25, so we're pretty much set and full, and we can start looking at guys for (2011). So, that's certainly taking a major step from a program standpoint.''
From what Panther Digest has learned, it appears that Wannstedt referred to cornerback Brandon Ifill from Penn Hills High School in Pittsburgh. Ifill announced his college intentions late Monday night, Dec. 21, the day the Panthers left for Charlotte, N.C. So, when Ifill informed Wannstedt, he was at the bowl game.
There are several recruits expected to enroll early when Pitt classes begin again Jan. 6, 2010. That group includes Graham and cornerback Saheed Imoru from Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, Texas. Graham has to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules, but he will be a redshirt junior for the 2011 season.
Preferred walk-on Mark Giubilato from St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia went to Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y. (where LeSean McCoy attended) in the fall and also will enroll in January. Giubilato initially committed to Temple before going to prep school.
Safety Todd Thomas, a 2009 commit from Beaver Falls, Pa., played for Milford as well this past fall and hoped to enroll early. However, he has not yet qualified academically, so his status is up in the air right now. Thomas reportedly has passing grades, but he has not achieved a qualifying SAT score.
Here is a list with Pitt's 2010 verbal commitments: Click Here.
Recruits on Pitt's radar appear to like the Panthers' style of play on offense and defense, according to Wannstedt, and they believe that they have a shot to contribute immediately. While that isn't always the case, there is evidence that it can happen.
"Some can, while some others take a little time,'' Wannstedt said. "But they watch our (bowl game) and see (freshman) Dan Mason intercepting a pass, and (redshirt freshman) Mike Shanahan making a critical third-down catch.
"And they see (freshman) Dion Lewis breaking records and (sophomore) Jonathan Baldwin making All-America teams. But I think these young kids realize that if you're good enough to play, we'll give you a chance to play. And that's what they're able to see when we play on TV.''
Mason, Lewis and tailback Ray Graham were the three freshmen to play for Pitt this season, and a couple players in the 2010 class could make a similar impact in 2010.
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