Head coach Paul Chryst snagged another offensive lineman with the commitment of Dan Samuelson from Plymouth High School in Indiana. Samuelson joins Aaron Reese on the line and becomes Pitt's second commitment for 2013 for that unit.
Expect to see more of this, folks. Chryst knows the line has a long way to go and coming from Wisconsin, also knows it will take a significant upgrade if he wants Pitt's offense to mirror that of the Badgers.
Samuelson not only liked his recent visit to Pitt, but his dad says some area ties helped:
"It's a situation where we know people around Pittsburgh, we have connections there, and every time we go to Pitt, having that group of friends, there's just a connection to Pennsylvania and Pitt. That has aided us in making this thing work."
Samuelson reportedly had offers from Illinois, Wake Forest, and Minnesota, among a few other schools. Doesn't sound all that impressive, but the thing to keep in mind is that he was beginning to draw some interest from bigger programs like Penn State and Michigan. He also visited Michigan State a couple of times. His athletic director also says he actually had an offer from Penn State, though I've not seen that anywhere else. About a month ago, SB Nation's Penn State blog, Black Shoe Diaries, had an interview with him after his visit to State College, and at the time, he was still waiting for a PSU offer.
Let's head to the rankings ...
Then there's the fact that he's from Indiana, which is significant. According to the Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise, he might be the first kid from that state in about 40 years. We all know the deal with recruiting - unless you're a top ten-ish program, you can't recruit everywhere. Pitt had some success in Florida under Dave Wannstedt and had begun moving east into Maryland/DC when he was let go. Then came the Todd Graham era, and we saw Pitt go more towards the south in his first season. Pitt needs to get guys from western Pennsylvania, of course, but if they can find a way to break into Big Ten territory, that would be huge.
Now, competing with Wisconsin, at least in the immediate future, has been possible since they're scrambling a bit after losing some key guys from that staff. But Pitt isn't realistically going to start snatching up five-stars from Urban at Ohio State or other programs like Michigan, Michigan State, etc. What they can do, however, is make more inroads in that part of the country. And if they grab a few guys and start winning, the Panthers could at least be a minor player out there.