Rowell talks Pitt

Any quarterback needs a center, obviously. Therefore, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that Artie Rowell, an interior line prospect from Harrisburg (PA) Central Dauphin gave Pitt his verbal commit hours after quarterback Gary Nova did.

Nova was offered by Pitt verbally at last summer‘s prospect camp, and according to him were his top choice all along.

"Really, my family, we talked about it, we discussed it, we sat down," Artie Rowell said. "The last visit I took was an academic visit. I was highly impressed when I came home. We discussed it. There was nothing I was unsure about at that point. I couldn't find one negative. I had a great relationship with the coaches, and really (Pitt) is me. I'm really glad I made the phone call to (tight ends) coach (Brian) Angelichio, followed up with a phone call to (head) coach (Dave) Wannstedt. I'm happy I made it."

Another factor, aside from the way he was impressed with Pitt's academics, was his unofficial trip to the Pitt Notre Dame game. In particular, a fourth-quarter run by Ray Graham in that game, that spoke volumes.

"I know how they play, they're hard-nosed guys," Rowell said of the Pitt offensive line. "They really play with a passion. That's exactly what I stand for, and how I play. The one thing I really saw when I visited last year, was the Pitt-Notre Dame game, when they beat Notre Dame. Ray Graham broke this big run. The one thing I noticed was John Malecki, 35 yards downfield, putting someone on the ground. When I saw that, that‘s when I understood they get after it, until after the echoes of the whistle. That style of play, the offense they're running, and they're running the ball a lot, I like it. I think I'll fit in great."

Rowell also picked up an offer from Temple, and most recently picked up an offer from Northwestern. He was a fan of both schools, but a Friday trip to Pittsburgh sealed the deal.

Ironically, former Central Dauphin teammate Jack Lippert is a redshirt freshman center for the Panthers this season. He is a converted defensive line. Rowell was told by Temple they were considering him as a defensive line prospect, for their 3-4 defensive scheme. Temple coaches believed Rowell could be that two-gap nose tackle that is required of such a scheme. Rowell will start his career on the offensive line, possibly at guard or center.

"Guard or center, somewhere on the interior line," Rowell said. "They haven't said specially yet, but definitely guard or center."

If he moves to center, the days of Pitt being thin at that position are long gone. Alex Karabin looks to lock up the starting spot this year, as Lippert will learn the position behind him. Brandon Sacco--a 2010 signee from Don Bosco Prep, could also be moved to center. Between Lippert, Sacco and now Rowell, Wannstedt and company are off to a good start solidifying the future of the interior line.

That coupled with the impending losses the Panthers will face over the next two seasons on the offensive line, make Rowell an even more important commit for the Panthers. Rowell's commitment also marks the fourth time in the last five recruiting classes the Panthers have added a big-time prospect from Harrisburg.

Up next for Rowell, he will turn his focus to his senior season, as well as recruiting some other prospects to Pitt's 2011 class. It's easy to tell that this part of the recruitment, he has already put some serious thought into.

"I'm good friends with Jameel Poteat, the running back at (Bishop) McDevitt," Rowell said. "I told him (Tuesday) night, I am going to try to get the best players in the area, the best players that Pitt is recruiting. I'd love to play with him.

"Another player I'd like to see out there in Pittsburgh is (Dallastown, PA linebacker) Ben Kline. I think he's a phenomenal athlete. I'd like him to be a part of it. Of course, if the coaches say it's okay, I'm going to do it."

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