Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
9 Total Updates since February 4, 2013
3 months ago Article 22 commentsContinue
3 months ago Article 4 comments
Despite some late drama, Pitt's signing day goes as expected as the Panthers lock up one of the top classes in the ACC.
3 months ago Update 0 comments
With Tino Sunseri gone, the quarterback discussion is front and center for 2013. But it's beyond this year that really matters.
This fall, Tom Savage, Chad Voytik, and Trey Anderson will battle it out for the starting job. But Savage has only one year of eligibility and while Anderson has a bit more experience than Voytik, it's not likely he would become the starter in 2014. But just in case Voytik doesn't pan out, Pitt has 2013 recruit Tra'Von Chapman hanging around as well.
Chapman is a highly-touted prospect and could be a legitimate threat to challenge Voytik for the starting job. Last year, he threw for 2,900 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only nine interceptions. His completion percentage of 53% could come up a bit, but he's clearly capable of competing for the starting job.
In addition, Chapman brings a bit of a different dimension as a dual-threat quarterback. Voytik has some scrambling ability, but not as much as Chapman, who rushed for more than 1,500 yards the past two seasons. Even if he doesn't overtake Voytik for the starting job, Pitt could utilize him in any number of packages to come in and spell Voytik from time to time.
Chapman was a valuable pickup for Chryst and along with Voytik, really helps stabilize the quarterback position.
3 months ago Update 2 comments
We've all seen the projections - Pitt could quite easily have a top 25 football recruiting class when it's all said and done. But beyond the depth and beyond the stars, there's another good reason to like this group that Paul Chryst has put together:
He's filled several positions of need.
Perhaps no unit was more in need of help than the offensive line. The group has been weak for the past few years and despite churning out some decent individual players, the unit has never been all that strong in recent years. That should change as Pitt has secured the most offensive linemen in a class (five) since 2003. Just as important is that Chryst picked up a legitimate star in the heralded Dorian Johnson. Upgrading the line will not only mean added protection for the quarterbacks, but will also open up holes for Rushel Shell and company.
Another area in need of some help was wide receiver. Now, this one's a bit tricky since we're still not sure where Tyler Boyd will end up. But Chryst secured a verbal from him earlier this year and if he sticks, the receiving corps will get a nice boost. Pitt will get back Devin Street since he decided to return for his senior year, but the unit loses Mike Shanahan and Cam Saddler. Throw in running back Ray Graham and Pitt will be without three of their top four receivers last year. But in addition to Boyd, Pitt added three other receivers to the mix to help stock up a bit.
There's also quarterback. Yes, Pitt has redshirt freshman Chad Voytik, expected by many to be the quarterback of the future. But part of the knock against the Panthers the past few years is that there was no legitimate competition for Tino Sunseri. If Voytik doesn't work out, the Panthers have a backup plan with Tra'Von Chapman. Chapman gives Chryst a bit of insurance under center and even if Voytik is as good as expected, there's a chance that he could be even better.
It's hard not to be excited about Chryst's 2013 class.
4 months ago Update 0 comments
You can never guarantee that things will run smoothly on National Signing Day, but the big day for Pitt should be a relatively normal one.
With the exception of Tyler Boyd, the Panthers' commitments have been relatively stable. As a matter of fact, the Post-Gazette's Sam Werner says all of the other recruits are 'rock-solid' in their commitments. Could someone flip at the last second or get cold feet? Sure, that's part of the game. But we're not likely to see an Anthony Morelli/Andrew Johnson situation.
If you're hoping for some kind of suspense, one thing to watch for is to see if Pitt adds any recruits late. Assuming Boyd stays with Pitt, the Panthers would still have two slots open for a couple of extra kids. They recently lost out on Boston College quarterback decommit Tim Boyle and running back Jojo Kemp.
The thing to keep in mind, obviously, is that Pitt doesn't need to necessarily use up those scholarships on signing day. They could hang onto them in the hopes of landing a kid that will sign later. They also could give them to a deserving walk-on as Todd Graham did for Trey Anderson a couple of seasons ago.
4 months ago Update 0 comments
Coming off of two consecutive down seasons, you might not expect that Pitt would have a successful recruiting class. But Paul Chryst has beaten the odds and is not only on the cusp of a respectable class, but one of the best in the nation.
Recruiting rankings vary, but count Scout among those that are believers in the group of players expected to sign with Pitt. As of now, they have the Panthers rated with the No. 16 class in the nation and best in the ACC just ahead of Florida State.
Now, that's quite a bit higher than Rivals, who ranks Pitt at No. 31. But even that's higher than you might expect from a team that won a total of 12 games over the past two years. Chryst's class isn't full of stars, but when you compare the rankings from Rivals and Scout with the low amount of on-field success the team has had, it's hard to not recognize that he's done about as well as could be expected.
Chryst has proven his staff can recruit and if the program starts winning more, just imagine what he could do.
4 months ago Update 4 comments
The Tyler Boyd saga is apparently nearing its end.
With National Signing Day on Wednesday, I had my doubts about prized wide receiver Tyler Boyd making a decision at that time. After all, recruits don't always sign with a school that day and Boyd could drag this thing out. But his high school coach says that won't happen. Even though the coach doesn't know where Boyd will end up, he says that the receiver will making a selection that day.
And in case you were wondering, Boyd is still pretty confused - per the PG's Mike White:
Clairton coach Tom Nola said Tyler Boyd will definitely sign with a college tomorrow. But apparently not even Boyd knows who college he will choose.
"I only talked to him briefly, but he's just very confused right now," Nola said. "Everything is still pretty much up in the air."
Going on those additional visits to West Virginia and then Tennessee, unsurprisingly, only added to the confusion. Those schools surely pulled out all the stops for him and he left impressed.
Okay, so by now you're hoping for any sliver of hope...anything to hang on to. Well, the Trib's Jerry DiPaola has an interesting nugget via Twitter:
Titus Howard, Terrish Webb will be joined by Tyler Boyd 10 a.m. tomorrow in Clairton's library to sign letters of intent.#Tribrecruit— Jerry DiPaola (@JDiPaola_Trib) February 5, 2013
What's that mean? Beats me. He could just be going to show his support for them. Could it mean that he'll be faxing his commitment to Pitt along with them? I'd like to think that, but to say that with absolute certainty is a bit of a reach.
Either way, at least it sounds as if we'll know where he's headed tomorrow.
4 months ago Article 6 comments
On paper, Paul Chryst's first class as Pitt's coach is quite impressive considering the circumstances.