Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
The Panthers don't get many players from Hawaii, but they managed to get one to leave the islands for the Steel City.
Hawaii is not considered a recruiting area for the Panthers, being a few thousand miles away. But defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield used his connections in Hawaii and found a very under the radar prospect in Kailua (HI) defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni. Early this morning, or late last night in Hawaii, he committed to the Panthers, giving them 26 commits for the 2013 class. He also had offers from Massachusetts and Washington State.
I mentioned he is under the radar simply because, other than not many programs hearing about him, I didn't think Pitt would get, well, any prospects from the West Coast to come to play here from Coach Breckterfield's West Coast connections. It just didn't seem like it would work out well for the Panthers. But Paul Chryst is a fairly good judge of talent and skill, so if he thinks that this is a guy we want, then so be it. We'll have to wait and see what he can do once he gets to Pitt. At the very least, he adds depth to a unit that needed it.
So what can we tell about him? He's a big kid, at 6'2 and 315 pounds, and that certainly helped him win the battle over linemen in high school. College is of course a much different game. But if he can lower his weight down to closer to 300, I think he'll be in good shape once he gets to campus for fall camp. I managed to find a highlight reel of him on YouTube so feel free to make your own assessments. I think that he can be a good one for Pitt and ultimately, Pitt's success or failure in the ACC will come down to whether prospects like Taleni pan out and can make a big impact.
Welcome to Pitt, Jeremiah Taleni!