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Pitt Football Recruiting: Can Panthers Break Into Texas?

Todd Graham's eyes are on Texas (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Todd Graham's eyes are on Texas (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Lost in the hoopla of Pitt's big game against Villanova this weekend was a pretty good article in the Trib that came out on Thursday about Pitt's chances of recruiting in Texas. Can the Panthers break into that area now with Todd Graham?

Well, the first thing to note is that it's not just Todd Graham as the article points out:

Under Graham, whose staff includes six assistants with Texas ties, the recruiting target broadened. Perhaps the most interesting hire is quarterbacks coach Todd Dodge, who led Southlake Carroll High to four Texas Class 5A state championships and a 79-1 record in his final five seasons. He also spent three-plus seasons as head coach at North Texas before being dismissed in October.

"With the 'Todd and Todd Show,' we can get the quality kids out of there," said Tony Gibson, Pitt's recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach. "We don't want to get the seventh- and eighth-best players. We want to try to compete and get the best."

So the good news is that Pitt has plenty of ties to talent-rich Texas. The problem for Pitt is that, well, everyone else is recruiting that area as well. In-state, you've got Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor, Houston, and Rice to deal with among others. Then, you've got all of the other schools in nearby states like Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, etc.
I know, I know - Pitt was able to get some kids from Texas this year, right? Well, that's true, but Graham had also been actively recruiting the area already for Tulsa. As the years go by, the test will be if those ties remain as strong.
I am optimistic that Pitt will be recruiting there more often, but how many of the top kids can they get there? Until they start having success on the field, it's hard for me to imagine Pitt landing a lot of four- and five-star recruits there - at least right away
The other issue is that you can't recruit everywhere. There's just not enough resources, obviously. When Dave Wannstedt came, Pitt focused more on Western PA and had just begun branching out east, but they had to give up a bit on the Florida area - an area in which they had some success under Walt Harris. So if Pitt does indeed start going to Texas more, other areas are going to have to be sacrificed a bit. That's fine, but again, will Pitt be able to land the type of upper eschelon talent that Graham's talking about?
And, by the way, as the article points out, Pitt is going to have to deal with Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia for kids in that area as well.
It's also going to be interesting to see what kind of commitment Graham places on the Maryland/DC/New Jersey area. Pitt really made some inroads there this past year, but with Jeff Hafley and the rest of the old staff now gone, Graham could essentially be starting over in that area if they even pursue it at all. Maybe he sticks with Texas and the midwest - an area he's familiar with.
Time will tell.