Pitt Recruiting Predictions: What to expect from the Panthers' 2014 football class

The Pitt student section should be pretty excited about the upcoming recruits. - Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notes and predictions on Pitt's 2014 recruiting class

With signing day now behind us, it's time to make a few predictions on the 2014 Pitt football recruiting class. Let's get started with some of my thoughts on some of the newest Panthers:

THE STARS - This year's class studs appear to be local offensive linemen Alex Bookser and Mike Grimm - both four-star talents. Rising four-star running back Chris James, and wide receiver Adonis Jennings. Going with one player, I would select Jennings. I just love the kid's highlight videos and his 6'3" frame and 4.48 speed don't hurt too much, either. He seems to use his hands really well to get separation and could give Pitt the star they need opposite Tyler Boyd.

PLAYERS WITH THE BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY - We can stick with James and Jennings on this one, too, but don't count out Avonte Maddox and Patrick Amara in the defensive backfield either since Pitt loses K'Waun Williams and Jason Hendricks back there. As for Bookser and Grimm, I think you will see the offensive line depth force them into a redshirt year, which is a great thing since the offensive line is really a tough place for a true freshman to come in and play early anyway.

SLEEPER PICKS - Wide receiver Elijah Zeise and Avonte Maddox. As I mentioned, Maddox could come in and compete for time right away, but he's still an underrated recruit right now. I just like his athleticism a lot and think he can bring something to the return game as well over the next four years. Zeise has always struck me as one of those kids who seems to have the physical gifts and is a smart player, too. It baffles me sometimes when someone performs on the field but doesn't get the big offers and I see Zeise in that way. Aaron Donald was that way - he always played well in games but never got the big offers because of one thing or another, including his size. I think Pitt fans are going to end up liking these two players a whole lot.

WORTH THE WAIT PLAYERS - Defensive line recruits Rori Blair and Mike Herndon are the selections here. Most know Blair's story with health issues and it's an amazing tale. He will need to redshirt but if he can put the unfortunate stroke of a couple of years ago completely behind him, he could end up being a good one down the road for Pitt. Herndon is someone who is really intriguing. Players that are 6'4" and 323 pounds in high school and playing middle linebacker of all positions tend to stick out. I think he'll redshirt, but after that and a year in the weight room, Herndon could end up being an explosive interior defensive lineman.

FAN FAVORITE - I'd go with Blair, Maddox, and Grimm here. Blair definitely has the emotional story that fans will love if he can reach his potential. Maddox has that ability to make the fans come to their feet quickly and due to his size (or lack thereof, as he is only 5'9"), Panther fans will take to him well when he gets on the field. Grimm is already just a mass of humanity and if he comes close to reaching what Pitt thinks he can be, fans will love watching him dismantle defensive lineman for a few years.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and manager/editor of Cardiac Hill @BrunoPittsburgh

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cardiac Hill

You must be a member of Cardiac Hill to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cardiac Hill. You should read them.

Join Cardiac Hill

You must be a member of Cardiac Hill to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cardiac Hill. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker