Sunday afternoon, Paramus (NJ) Catholic DT Marquise Wright was at Pitt for an unofficial visit to check out the facilities, and meet with the coaches. Monday night, Wright was a Pitt Panther. After mulling his decision over with his family, Wright became Pitt's ninth commitment for its 2011 recruiting class, the fourth from New Jersey.
"I sort of wanted to commit on Sunday," Wright said. "Penn State and Maryland, I was there a lot. The Maryland coaches were good to me, and I had a good relationship with (Penn State offensive line coach) Dick Anderson. It wasn't anything like the relationship I had with (Pitt defensive backs coach) Jeff Hafley. He was fantastic. Everything about Pitt was great."
In fact, it was Hafley who got the call Monday night, that Wright was a Panther.
"I called Hafley first," Wright added. "He was excited. He recruited me harder than anyone else. That showed me how much (Pitt) wanted me."
Afterwards, Hafley passed the message on to head coach Dave Wannstedt.
"Hafley called (Wannstedt) to say that I was a Panther, and he was pretty excited too," Wright said.
Two other factors stood out for Wright. One, was Pitt's reputation for developing defensive linemen.
"They have some good ones, don't they," Wright said. "Why wouldn't you want to go there, with the defensive linemen they have. I'm going to go there and do my best."
It's been well documented about the job Pitt has done recruiting in New Jersey in the last three recruiting classes, the 2011 one included. That was the final straw for Wright picking the Panthers.
"Pitt has awesome players from New Jersey," Wright said. "There‘s (Don Bosco Prep quarterback) Gary Nova, and there's a lot of good players in this class. (Winslow Township receiver) Bill Belton, he's going there too."