Stanford Makes Run at Pitt Legacy

One state filled with talents on both sides of the ball is Pennsylvania, but it has been difficult historically to pry those prizes away from Penn State and UVA. Stanford took a step in the right direction last year when they landed Austin Gunder, and now they have taken the plunge with Pittsburgh TE/DE John Pelusi. But can the Card pry him away from the hometown Panthers?

While much of the noise made in the Northeast this year in Cardinal recruiting has come in New Jersey, you can never overlook the deep talent pool in Pennsylvania. One little-publicized event that occurred in the May calling/evaluation period was an offer handed out by Buddy Teevens to Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic tight end/defensive end John Pelusi. If that name sounds familiar, you might be remembering his father, John, who was a starting center on the 1976 National Championship team at Pittsburgh. The legacy link has made most recruitniks conclude that the younger John will follow in his father's footsteps to Pitt, but the 6'4" recruit says he is undecided on his future.

"There really isn't a leading one school. I'm looking at others," the son says of his rumored Pitt leaning. "I will probably take my visits before deciding on a leader."

Pelusi goes on to say that he would like to take most of his official visits after his senior season, which leaves a lot of time for schools to chip away at any familial ties to the hometown Panthers. Stanford is the most distant suitor in that group, and they put their cards on the table with an early offer in May.

"I am interested in them just because it's a great school, but I'm going to have to love it to go that distance," he openly admits. "I'm going to try to visit Stanford this summer with my dad. Everything I've heard about the place and the school is unbelievable - it's just the distance."

When queried further, the younger Pelusi says that his father is not at all bothered by the prospect of Stanford's distance. "It would more affecting my mom," he adds.

The Central Catholic standout names an early top five of Boston College, Northwestern, Pitt, Virginia and Notre Dame. The Eagles and Panthers have offered from that group. He also has offers from UConn, West Virginia and Stanford.

"I'm looking at the academics and tradition of the schools," Pelusi comments on his evaluation criteria. "I also have to take a look at the roster to figure out when I could play. I could play tight end of defensive end - I'm open to playing wherever."

The Cardinal have not cracked this 240-pound athlete's top five despite their offer, and he is openly pessimistic about distance concerns. Noting the fact that his mother is the parent worried about distance, it is bad news for the Stanford staff that she is not coming out on the summer unofficial visit. Her concerns would likely then remain in tact. Is it safe to say, then, that John Pelusi is a longshot for the Cardinal in this 2005 recruiting class?

"I wouldn't say that," the two-way standout answers.

Pelusi caught 19 balls for 295 yards and one touchdown this past fall for Central Catholic. He will keep our eyes on this one and check back with this top Pennsylvania prospect later in the summer after his visit. It will need to make a big impression for the Card to have a crack at this Pittsburgh prize.


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