Justin K. Aller
Pitt coaches haven't always placed the highest priority on building a talented offensive line. Part of it is that better programs tend to swallow up a good bit of the top guys and star linemen aren't always hanging around. But Paul Chryst is hoping to change some of that.
The Panthers may not always get the best offensive linemen, but Chryst not only landed one this year in Dorian Johnson, but he's stockpiling some depth there as well. Pitt has five committed linemen so far in Johnson, the recently signed Jaryd Jones-Smith, Alex Officer, Aaron Reese, and Carson Baker.
Just how much of a priority is Pitt placing on the line in terms of other classes? Well, here's the number of offensive linemen signed in other recent years:
2012 - Two
2011 - Two
2010 - Four
2009 - Four
2008 - Three
2007 - Four
2006 - Three
2005 - Three
2004 - Four
2003 - Five
2002 - Three
Assuming all stick, Pitt will have the most offensive linemen in a class that they've had in a decade. There's also more time so Chryst could add even more depth here - particularly since there are some more slots open for 2013 with some players enrolling early.
Does any of this mean the line is guaranteed to not be a heaping pile of crap? Of course not. But with Johnson and Adam Bisnowaty leading the way along with some other solid recruits, the line should be better in a year or two. And as Bryan pointed out yesterday, Pitt's going with some physically imposing linemen.
And with some good young quarterbacks in Chad Voytik and Tra'Von Chapman along with running back Rushel Shell, wide receiver Tyler Boyd, and tight end J.P. Holtz, Chryst is putting some nice offensive pieces together.
In my opinion, Pitt should really be stocking up here. The line has left a lot to be desired and you really can't over-recruit here. Even if you settle in on starters and have a glut of backups, they can be moved to the other side of the ball. I'd have no problem with Pitt bringing in one or even two more here to shore up the position.
It all starts with the line, though, and if they can develop, the skill players can do their thing.