Paul Chryst has a history of doing more with less (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
With the recent pickups of four-star recruits Tra'Von Chapman and Corey Clement, a good number of Paul Chryst's detractors have gone into the woodwork. But, really, there's no way Chryst should have been garnering the type of criticism he had, anyway.
For one, it's way too early to determine that Chryst is unable to recruit effectively. Even if he's not the best recruiter out there right now, it's virtually impossible that he won't get any better. He's been on several coaching staffs over his career, but this is his first shot at being the man in charge ... and he's only been on the job for a few months. Regardless of how good he is right now, he'll definitely improve. He may never approach the point of being labeled 'gregarious' or 'outgoing,' but over time, he'll learn tricks of the trade and start to figure this whole thing out.
And guess what? As the head coach, it's not even all that essential that he's a great recruiter, anyway, since much of that work is done by the assistants. Sure, it would help if he were a bit more dynamic, but a great personality isn't the be all end all of recruiting (insert appropriately-timed Todd Graham joke here).
But beyond all that, there's an even bigger reason Pitt fans shouldn't worry about Chryst as a recruiter.Before Chapman and Clement, few would argue that Pitt's recruiting had gotten off to a slow start. The class consisted of mostly two-star (or even unrated) players. But Chryst had put together some pretty good offenses at Wisconsin and did it mostly without star recruits.
According to Rivals, here's how Chryst's and Wisconsin's classes rated from 2005 - 2011, while he served as the team's offensive coordinator (number of five-star recruits in parentheses):
2011: 40th (0)
2010: 87th (0)
2009: 43rd (0)
2008: 41st (0)
2007: 34th (1)
2006: 40th (0)
2005: 34th (0)
Over that span, Pitt, on the other hand, had one top 25 class (and three in the top 30) and ranked ahead of Wisconsin in recruiting four times. In other words, the Badgers have either done more with less talented players or they've spotted more talented guys that haven't ranked as well. Either way, it's impossible to miss that they've done a better job than Pitt has on the field.
Seriously, we all know that it'd be nice to have top 25 classes. After all, who wouldn't want to have the most talented players to work with? Losing Dorian Johnson to Penn State was a blow to be sure, but it hardly means Chryst has failed at his job and that it's major cause for concern. The biggest thing Pitt can do to land bigger recruits is win and it's difficult to judge Chryst on that since, you know, he hasn't even coached his first game yet.
But the simple fact is that even without the top players, Chryst might be able to do just fine without them.