Belton Sheds More Light On Pitt Decision

Friday afternoon was monumental for the 2010 Pitt season, and summer, as the Pitt coaching staff hosted the first of its summer prospect camps. That in itself is monumental, as it looks to promote what they coach, how they teach, as well as a chance to interact, recruit and promote the program through the first of its prospect camps.

Little did the staff know that by Friday afternoon, they'd have something else that would make it a monumental day, in the form of a big-time commit. Bill Belton became the sixth player to verbal to the 2010 class, choosing the Panthers from among 20 offers, including schools from the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12 and SEC.

In talking more about his commitment to Pitt, Belton said committing on June 10 wasn't part of the original plan.

"I originally planned to wait it out, but I found a school that fit me," Belton said. "I just wanted to get it out of the way."

Though it was nearly two months after the spring game, Belton contemplated pulling the trigger back then.

"I got a feel for (committing) when I went for the spring game," Belton added. "I kept in contact with the coaches, and we started talking more a lot this week. I got that feeling again. The coaches are why I made my decision today."

Belton was recruited jointly by Tony Wise and Jeff Hafley. When Belton called Hafley to deliver the news, Hafley passed the phone around to pretty much the whole Pitt staff.

"I called Coach Hafley, he was very excited," Belton said. "He was passing the phone, so then I talked to Coach Wise, then Coach Cignetti, Coach Turner, then Coach Wannstedt."

Academics also played a role. The academics presentation that Belton received, was another check mark in Pitt's favor.

"They had the presentation, how they explained Pitt, and what they do to keep me focused academically," Belton said. "It was the campus, the campus, I took tour of city, that's basically everything I needed to see; football, campus and academics, which sold me."

Another factor in his commitment, was his friendship with two other Pitt commits in his class, Don Bosco quarterback Gary Nova and Timber Creek Regional linebacker Quinton Alston.

"I'm good friends with them, all three of us played on the same 7-on-7 team," Belton said. "They keep in contact. Me and Quinton talk, me and Gary talk. We're just building a relationship, getting to know each other better."

First Nova committed to Pitt, then Alston committed, and now Belton has committed. Belton talks of relationship building, but this 2011 class is also building in a way; building a foundation of highly-touted New Jersey players. Since Nova has been instrumental with both Alston and Belton, and Alston being instrumental with Belton, will the three of them team up together to help recruit some other New Jersey athletes?

"I think we're trying to get some more Jersey guys," Belton said. "We'll see what happens, we'll see who our next commit is."

When he gets to Pitt a year from now, Belton expects to see the field immediately.

"They said running back, receiver, get me out there returning kicks and punts, stuff like that," Belton said. "We'll see what happens."

It sounds like Pitt plans to try him out everywhere. As a junior, Belton threw for 2,200 yards and 15 touchdowns. He rushed for over 1,000 yards with 15 touchdowns on the ground.

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