Signing Day, 2010

Another recruiting season is nearing the end, and while the bulk of this class might not have an impact on the Pitt football team for at least two years, there's a lot to like about the Panthers' 2010 group.

Pittsburgh has secured verbal commitments from 24 athletes, including junior-college transfer Saheed Imoru and safety Todd Thomas. Imoru is a cornerback who already has enrolled in school and will participate in spring drills. He has two years of eligibility remaining and has a chance to earn a starting spot.

Thomas originally was a 2009 blue-chipper who spent the fall semester at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y. He has not yet qualified academically, but the staff is hopeful he will be OK by the summer. Thomas wanted to enroll in January, but apparently his status is still pending in the NCAA's Clearinghouse.

Pitt's 24 2010 verbal commitments.

Safety Brandon Ifill and defensive tackle Aaron Donald from Penn Hills High School in Pittsburgh, quarterback Anthony Gonzalez from Liberty HS in Bethlehem, safety Eric Williams from Pennsbury in Fairless Hills, offensive guard Arthur Doakes from Lebanon HS, defensive tackle K.K. Smith from Woodland Hills HS in Pittsburgh, wideout Andrew Carswell from Sto-Rox HS in McKees Rocks, wideout Kevin Weatherspoon from Clairton, Salath Williams from Bishop McDevitt HS in Harrisburg and safety Derrick Burns from Wilmington HS in New Wilimington represent the Keystone State.

Thomas also is from Pennsylvania, and he is rated with four stars by So, 11 new Panthers, nearly half the Class of 2010, basically will be hometown talent. Gonzalez, Williams and Donald also are four-star recruits.

Thomas likely is the only player Pitt can't afford to redshirt from this group. First, he is immensely talented. Second, it might be difficult to keep him eligible, so he needs to play. Carswell could get some time, possibly, as an H-back-type player. And Ifill could play special teams to start. But the other can be redshirted this fall.

Donald and Smith had solid senior seasons and could be Pitt's starting interior D-linemen in a couple years. Gonzalez, Williams, Weatherspoon and Burns might not be at their present positions in the future. No guarantees either way with these guys, but that doesn't mean they won't contribute in some way. Gonzo, for example, could be a multiple-year starter at safety if he doesn't make it as a quarterback.

The Pennsylvania Top 65.

There are five 2010 Pitt recruits from Ohio: Running back Andre Givens from Hubbard HS, left-handed quarterback Mark Myers and tight end Brendan Carozzoni from St. Ignatius HS in Cleveland, tight end Dan Schneider from Avon on the Lake HS and offensive guard Matt Rotheram from North Olmstead HS. Each is a three-star recruit.

Carozzoni and Schneider should ensure that Pitt's tight end depth will continue to be top not for years to come. Rotheram could be a good offensive lineman for the Panthers in a few years, while Givens was told by sophomore starting running back Dion Lewis that he will get a legitimate shot to earn carries at Pitt. Givens wavered late last year, but Lewis sealed the deal during a long talk on an official visit.

Many believe Myers is Pitt's quarterback of the future, as his classic drop-back style and accuracy are what offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. covets. If redshirt junior Pat Bostick secures the starting job this year, and certainly has a chance to out-battle redshirt sophomore Tino Sunseri for it, he could hold the spot for two years. Myers would be a redshirt sophomore, while Sunseri would be a fifth-year senior after that.

The Ohio Top 80.

T.J. Clemmings is the gem in Pitt's 2010 group. The defensive end from Paterson Catholic HS is the lone five-star recruit for the Panthers, but he's also the most likely to hit the field immediately. This amazing specimen is too good to keep off the field.

Offensive guard Brandon Sacco and defensive end Bryan Murphy from Don Bosco Prep School in Ramsey, N.J. and cornerback K'Wuan Williams from St. Joseph Regional HS in Montvale are Pitt's other New Jersey recruits. Clemmings and Murphy, a four-star player, are rated as Jersey's top two players. Sacco, a three-star O-lineman, could be Pitt's center for the long-term future.

The New Jersey Top 45.

Offensive guard Shane Johnson and safety Jeff Knox from Dematha Catholic HS in Hyattsville are Pitt's two Maryland recruits. Knox is a former Pittsburgh Central Catholic HS player, and he was all too glad to return home. Knox could be an early contributor for the Panthers, but not likely this year. Johnson is a couple years away, but could be a good offensive lineman for Pitt by the time he leaves.

The Maryland Top 25.

Running back T.J. Peeler is going to make a bruising impact at Pitt during some point in the near future, but when his eligibility calendar begins is still in question. Peeler suffered a knee injury in the Virginia state title game that his Broad Run HS teammates went on to win for a second straight crown, and he waited about a month to get surgery.

Peeler could grayshirt initially, which means he would not enroll until Jan., 2011. He would practice during the spring if healthy and be a true freshman in the fall, 2011. But if he can practice this summer and fall, he possibly could just redshirt and battle for playing time in 2011 anyway.

The Virginia Top 30.

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Panther Digest will cover Signing Day 2010 from morning 'til night beginning early Wednesday with updates on the arrival of the faxes as they arrive at Pitt's practice facility.

Panther Digest also will be at Heinz Field during the afternoon for Panthers head coach Dave Wannstedt's 3:30 p.m. press conference to introduce the official class. It is the first opportunity for the staff to discuss the recruits on the record.

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