We'll get to a little of the 7-on-7 preview in a bit, but a pair of big-time visitors will be in attendance to check things out this weekend. One is Lansdowne (PA) Penn Wood defensive end Shawn Oakman, who is expected to come in for an unofficial visit on Saturday. Oakman has a number of good offers, including some as far away as South Carolina and Rice, but it looks to come down to one of the in-state schools in Pitt, Penn State and Temple.
Penn State has always had the edge during his recruitment, but Oakman has been quoted as saying that Pitt and Penn State are the schools recruiting him the hardest. At the very least, Pitt gets one more shot at him. Whether his mind is made up yet or not, no one knows. If it is, at least he's willing to give Pitt one more look by coming here Saturday.
Pitt continues to make strides in the new territories they are digging in to get recruits, specifically eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Success in those areas were non-existant before Dave Wannstedt got here in 2005. Five years ago, a kid in Oakman's case (a Penn State lean), would not have given Pitt a second look. Prospects like him and Angelo Mangiro--whether they come to Pitt or not, the fact they're giving the staff one more time to make a pitch, is almost as valuable as the Panthers scoring big commitments this year out of Ben Kline and Quinton Alston. It shows the Pitt product is a high commodity among these recruits. Think of the recruits last year from in-state, like Miles Dieffenbach, Tom Ricketts and Dakota Royer. All three were heavily recruited, but committed to Penn State before giving anyone else a second look.
Woodbridge (NJ) defensive end Max Issaka is expected to be at Pitt on Friday for an unofficial look at the facilities. Much like Oakman described Penn State and Pitt recruiting him the hardest, Issaka recently said that Rutgers and Pitt are recruiting him the hardest. In his case, he may be a Rutgers lean at this point. He's not as serious a lean to Rutgers as Oakman is to Penn State. Again, Pitt at least gets one more shot at him, on Friday.
Another interesting thing about these prospects, is that they're not strictly defensive ends. At 6-9, if he was willing to make the move, Oakman could make an interesting left tackle prospect with his reach. Issaka could be projected as a defensive end or outside linebacker. He's strong enough right now to play in a down position, but if stood up in the college game, that strength may give him an edge in run support.
Whatever happens with these two, this much is clear. If Pitt gets one or the other, or both, they can turn the heat up on some of these other defensive end prospects they have offers out to, 10 to be exact. With each that commits, the heat gets turned up on the others, whether it's Pitt or not. Two of them will be participating in the passing camp this weekend.
PASSING CAMP PROSPECTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON/POSSIBLE COMMITS
This may be the most talented group of athletes to be in attendance at a Pitt passing camp. Staying with the defensive end theme, Desimon Green will bring his Clairton Bear team to the passing camp once again. Green will line up at quarterback. Earlier this month, Green led Clairton to the championship game of the Gateway 7-on-7 passing camp, losing to this host Gators, 12-7. Not bad for a single-A school against the Quad-A power.
Green has been at Pitt's South Side facility the last two weeks, simply there to watch some of the other campers, almost looking like an underclassman, checking on the younger campers who will soon be prospects themselves. Clairton teammate Kevin Weatherspoon committed to Pitt at this same passing camp a year ago. That history, combined with the other two defensive ends Oakman and Issaka at the facility this weekend, gives the coaching staff a couple legitimate reasons to turn up the heat on Green. If any of the campers were to commit this weekend, the leading candidate has to be Green for these reasons.
Woodland Hills will also be one of the teams in attendance, and they have three prospects that will be participating in the 7-on-7 camp, that have Pitt offers. First is Ejuan Price. Of all the linebackers that Pitt has offered, Price is the most heavily targeted linebacker overall. With Quinton Alston and Ben Kline already committed, they are looking for a third member to join them. Price figures to be the first choice because of he too is a natural linebacker, he's physical, can play either outside or inside, and he comes from Woodland Hills--a school that has a track record as good as anyone of producing good Division I players, and even sending them on to the next level.
The Wolverines will also bring defensive end/tight end Quenton Jefferson and athlete Lafayette Pitts. Jefferson recently claimed that Iowa and Pitt are his top two choices. A positive experience at this camp could put Jefferson over the edge. Pitts' name is getting out there, but of all three of these prospects, he has been to Pitt the most. He will likely have the ball in his hands a lot of the time.
West Allegheny LB Michael Caputo will also be in attendance. The interesting thing is this time last year, Caputo had just moved into the West Allegheny school district, and was a virtual unknown. With West Allegheny using his as a running back, with a heavy dose of Wildcat formations, it will be interesting to see how many plays he'll be able to make in this type of atmosphere.
ALSO KEEP AN EYE ON
2012 Chartiers Valley QB Wayne Capers Jr. Though Capers is the quarterback for his team, he is expected to be recruited as a receiver. He may be one of the fastest players in attendance, and it will be interesting to see how he's used in a 7-on-7 situation. Capers may be one of the juniors on September 1, to get a few early written offers.
Sto-Rox 2012 LB Deaysean Rippy will also be in attendance. Sure, Rippy will be playing in his linebacker position, hopefully showing off good cover skills. Don't be surprised if he gets the ball in his hands for a few offensive tries.
SOME NOTABLE COMMITS AT THIS CAMP
Lucas Nix committed to the Panthers at the 2007 camp. While Brandon Sacco and Bryan Murphy were not at the 7-on-7 camp last year, they did commit to the Panthers during the camp. Khaynin Mosley-Smith committed just a few days after last year's camp, even though the Pitt staff made a strong push for him during the camp.