James Conner committed to Pitt back in August, making a college decision before his senior season. Conner is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and ESPN, while Scout has him as a two star. Rivals even went as far as to rank him as the 12th best player in Pennsylvania. Conner picked the Panthers over MAC teams Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Ohio, and Toledo.
Conner is listed at 6-2 230 pounds and is being recruited as a defensive end. At first glance, he appears to be a bit small as a down lineman, and could be moved to an outside linebacker at Pitt. Conner certainly has the athleticism to play that position and he is having a great senior season. Not known as an offensive player, he is also putting up some serious numbers on that side of the ball. Conner has 744 yards rushing and eight total touchdowns on the season. He has also registered two sacks on defense.
Conner is from Erie, PA and attends McDowell High School, which has been an off and on again WPIAL team. This season they are competing out of District Ten and they are playing a brutal schedule. McDowell sports a 2-4 record but two of those losses have come to Ohio powers St. Edward and St. Ignatius. The schedule is allowing Conner to see some of the best competition in the country. The thing to remember here is that while Conner does not have the great offers you would look for, he has production against top competition.
He could be an under-the-radar type player for coach Paul Chryst in the 2013 recruiting class.