I'll be the first to admit that for as much as I may downplay recruiting rankings, I was expecting things to go a bit different for Shayne Hale and T.J. Clemmings. Both Hale and Clemmings were five-star recruits from the Dave Wannstedt era and both were expected to be big-time players.
There's nothing to say that can't happen yet, but with Hale entering his third season into the program and Clemmings his second, I found this tidbit from Paul Zeise's camp notes quite interesting:
So right now, if the team was going to lineup, based on what we've seen and what Patterson said, the starting defensive line would be Alecxih and Hargrove at end and Caragein at nose tackle with Lindsey at the Panther linebacker position.And then the second group would be freshman Juan Price at the Panther position back up at that position, Donald at one end and Mosley-Smith at the other and Tyrone Ezell at nose tackle. That means the two guys who have to continue to battle to work their way onto the two-deep at defensive end are Shayne Hale and T.J. Clemmings, which is somewhat interesting considering they were two of the biggest names and highest rated recruits on this unit.
Clemmings' situation is far less panicky since he's only entering his second season. But having played a bit last year, if he plays scarcely this season, he'll only have two more left. He still has his redshirt, but since he saw time on the field last year, he could quite easily contribute at least a bit in 2011.
Hale, however is a different story.Hale, the redshirt junior, only has two more seasons including this one. From the sound of things, he may not crack the two-deep rotation. And because he's already had his redshirt, this season counts barring some type of catastrophic injury.
At this point in their careers, I would have expected them to be starting or at the very least, playing significant roles. Pitt has either really stockpiled genuine talent on the line or Hale and Clemmings are really underachieving - or both. Chas Alecxih starting I would have guessed, but Justin Hargrove?
Yeah, I didn't see that coming. No knock on him, obviously, just wouldn't have guessed it heading into the season.
Again, it's a matter of Hargrove really playing extremely well or Clemmings/Hale not. And to be fair to Hargrove, Clemmings/Hale are also behind Khaynin Mosley-Smith and Aaron Donald.
T.J. and Shayne could have their work cut out for them this season and in all actuality, 2012 as well. All of the players ahead of them, with the exception of Alecxih, will presumably still be around then. There could be some position changes, but it's going to be interesting to see how this thing plays out.