Pitt landed their 19th commitment for the 2014 recruiting class today as Chris James made the call to the Panthers. Chris James plays for the Notre Dame school for boys in the Chicago area. He just wrapped up his senior season that saw him rush for 1, 734 yards and 21 touchdowns, which was down from his junior totals of 2,098 and 30 scores. James is rated as a four star recruit by Scout, and a three star by Rivals and ESPN. Scout labels him as the 22nd back in the country, while Rivals names him the 30th at his position.
Chris James is Pitt's second major running back commitment for the class, after Qadree Ollison committed back in September. James is a physical back that is listed at 5-10 208 pounds, and you can see, he moves well in the open field. James had an extensive offer sheet that included Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan State, and Arizona State. He announced he wanted to make a decision sooner rather than later earlier in the week, and wasted little time.
James is an important piece to the recruiting class, and is the first commitment since the big Notre Dame win. Many feel James was one of Pitt's main priorities to close out the class, and it is nice to land a physical running back from Big Ten country. The commitment obviously raises some questions. What will happen with Shai McKenzie now? The local back is a four star, but just sustained an ACL tear this season, and has had an odd recruitment from the onset. I am sure Pitt would still take him, but that would make for a crowded backfield. It also leads some to wonder if James Conner and Rachid Ibrahim will move to defense. I doubt Conner is going anywhere, but with Bennett, Conner, Ollison, and now James, Ibrahim may be looking at a move to safety.