It took Pitt a number of recruiting classes to get into Ohio. In 2010, they added made a big jump with the signings of Matt Rotherham, Mark Myers, Brandon Carozzoni, Dan Schneider and Andre Givens. They picked up a boost when Justin Olack, out of Massillon Washington committed in June for the 2011 class.
Continuing to build in Ohio, the Panthers picked up another commit---a rare training camp commitment, when St. Edward's Gibson decided on becoming a Panther.
Gibson was offered shortly after attending Pitt's prospect camp in June. So far, he is the first prospect offered during the prospect camps, to commit to the 2011 class.
"I was pretty excited," Gibson said. "The process, I felt, was coming to a close. I'm comfortable with the decision I made. I can enjoy my senior year, and get ready to play college football."
First, when looking at all the schools, one thing that drew him closer to his decision, was taking a look at Pitt's recent recruiting classes.
"I got on the internet, and took a look at the last recruiting classes Pitt had coming in," Gibson said. "I looked at the last class that came in, and the guys they're recruiting in my grade--defensive end, even linebacker. I compared it to every school I like. Pitt had far more better guys coming in, I had a better chance at competing early, and I'm on a great team."
Gibson says he is being recruited to Pitt as a defensive end. The success at that position in recent years was also a big draw.
"I'll have to go back down there and see how they want to use me, but they've talked about me as the speed rusher," Gibson said. "Romeus and Sheard are All-Americans at the end spot. I believe if they have a good year, they can go to the NFL. That's good for me, beneficial to me. There's two spots open."
Obviously, he's impressed with Wannstedt's NFL connections and Pitt's history of sending several former players to the NFL. Gibson is aware of the percentages of prospects that don't make the NFL.
"It's always been a dream to play pro football," Gibson said. "I know Coach Wannstedt has a lot of connections, being in the NFL so many years. I also know the NFL, there's a slim chance of everyone getting there. I liked the foundations (at Pitt), the internships available."
Even before he came to Pitt's prospect camp, running backs coach David Walker--who recruits a lot of Ohio--opened things up by stopping by his school to meet with St. Edward head coach Rick Finotti.
"They recruited me the way they basically recruited me," Gibson said. "I don't even know how they got to know me. Coach (Finotti) helped me get recruited. Coach David Walker came in, and he was straight forward. It felt like a good fit. He stayed pretty honest. I have to work hard when I get there."
Within hours of making his commitment official, Gibson was tracked down by two other Pitt commits.
"Actually, I just played against Justin Olack (in a scrimmage) on Tuesday," Gibson said. "I talked to him a little bit. I've been talking to Quinton Alston on Facebook, as soon as I committed. He seems like a real cool guy. I'll get to meet him when I got back up there."