Huggins Checks On Pitt

From Wisconsin to Notre Dame, to Pittsburgh, and then home. Five-star running Savon Huggins was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday for an unofficial visit. Exhausted from his travels, he found time to talk about what he saw, and what he liked.

From over 60 offers down to a top ten, Savon Huggins took a tour halfway across the country and back to check out Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, three of the schools that made his top ten, which he announced on Thursday.

"I just hung out with some players, we talked for awhile," Huggins said of the Pittsburgh trip. "It was really more for my mom and my sister to see. I'm really comfortable with the coaching staff. I feel really at home there. This was for my mother and sister to see, and they liked it too."

When asked who on the coaching staff he connected with, Huggins mentioned more than a few. Though Jeff Hafley and Tony Wise have been responsible for the success in New Jersey recruiting that Pitt has had, Huggins has had some contact with more than just those two.

"It's Coach Wannstedt, Coach Cignetti, Coach Walker, and even the academic guy, (assistant director of football operations) Coach Matt (Dudek)," Huggins said. "They're all cool guys. I'm comfortable with them."

The players that Huggins knows, similar to the coaching staff, there's no short list. It's a combination of guys that Huggins has either played against, or knows because they live close to him.

"Dion Lewis, Ray Graham," Huggins said, when asked of the first Pitt players he knew. "I played against (Bryan) Murphy. Quinton Alston, who committed recently, I know him. Gary Nova, who committed. Bill Belton, who committed. I'm friends with all those guys."

Because of this all of a sudden large New Jersey contingency, Huggins says that isn't a factor that will push Pitt over the top. It is, however, a factor worth considering.

"It can make it," Huggins said. "You know people by talking to them. That's me and Dion. We talk a lot. He's the big man from our area. Right off the bat, we connected. I got comfortable with him right away."

Another reason he connects with Dion Lewis is not so much the position factor, as much as it is how both he and Lewis play the game. Lewis averaged 25 carries a game last year as a true freshman, including 47 times in the regular-season finale against Cincinnati last year. Huggins doesn't relate to Lewis as a guy who can carry the load like that. He can be, but Huggins feels being a running back is about making plays. He felt Lewis' reputation wasn't about a running back who could withstand the number of carries he took. He relates more to the big play ability.

"Well, when you make plays, it's about saying, ‘give me the ball,'" Huggins said. "What down is it? You score, and move the chains. That's the key. Moving chains and making plays. The Pitt offense keeps giving you the ball to do that."

He also took notice, and was impressed with how Lewis and Graham shared the load at running back last year.

"Offensively, that's a good thing," Huggins said. "They have that offense where they run the ball, when one's hot, the other one switches out. They get a lot from the Steelers and from Coach Wannstedt being in the NFL."

It's obvious that Huggins has done his homework on how the Pitt running backs play, and how they fared as true freshman, sharing the workload last year. As a program, does Huggins see Pitt as a program on the rise, or a program that is already in the limelight.

"They're already established," Huggins said. "They can win the Big East this year. Their schedule has Notre Dame, Miami. They're going out to Utah to play. That's a tough schedule. When it's all said and done, they can be in a BCS game, maybe even the national championship game. They're already established. I've followed them through."

Will there be a possibility of getting back to Pitt for an unofficial or an official this fall?

"It's too early to tell," Huggins added. "We'll see. They're telling me Miami, ‘Come to the Miami game.' We'll see."

Outside of meeting with the coaches, and just seeing the facilities once more, Huggins likes the area in general.

"I liked that part of town," Huggins said. "It's reasonable. It's a good city. I like the city feel because of the big buildings. It's pretty neat, too."

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