With the way Todd Graham salvaged Pitt's class this Spring, I was really excited to see what he could do with a full season. While it's way too early to even have the slightest bit of concern, it is fairly interesting that Pitt hasn't yet landed a recruit for 2012.
Graham, though, has his reasons for the lack of verbals:
"I don't pressure kids," Graham said Thursday. "I probably could have a couple of them. But, as a former high school coach, I'm not interested in pressuring kids. I don't know how you can make a decision without seeing other places. It's early right now."
Penn State has, by contrast, received eight verbal commitments. Others schools have multiple commitments as well. Graham and his assistants are taking their time.
"We're doing outstanding in recruiting," he said. "We've been diligent in our research. We don't just watch a film and offer a scholarship. We want to make sure it's the right fit. We don't offer 150 kids and take the first 25 that commit. I don't worry about what other coaches are doing. I don't mind being unique."
As always, though, Graham is optimistic about the situation.
So, of course, the fact that Graham expects a great class should be no surprise:
"You reap what you sow in that regard," he said. "We will be well on our way to a tremendous class about (the start of) football season."
That class, he hopes, anyway, will be made up of plenty of local talent:
But those four players probably won't make or break Graham's tenure at Pitt. What really matters are the prospects who live within a short car trip of the Cathedral of Learning.
"We want to get the best and the brightest from Western Pennsylvania to stay right here so they won't have to transfer back," he said. "The last time that happened was 1976."
To his credit, Dave Wannstedt had started moving in that direction and was really beginning to reel in some quality local talent. And I think it would be a bit unfair if Graham never recognized the groundwork Wannstedt had put in over the past few years. But in the end, Graham is correct - Pitt has not landed the best of the best locally in a pretty long time.
Graham is tasked with getting the program back on track and it all starts with recruiting.
And while, recruiting in Texas is going to be a part of his ultimate plan, he knows it mostly comes back to getting guys to stay at home:
"The last time Pitt owned western Pennsylvania was in '76, when they won a national championship and they kept the best and the brightest here," Graham says. "We'll spot-recruit in places where we have existing relationships. You're not going to be at Pitt and primarily recruit Texas or Florida."
With his current batch of players, Graham does have an intriguing group to run the offense. Running back Ray Graham (no relation to the coach) emerged as a big-play threat as a sophomore last season (6.2 yards per carry, eight touchdown runs); he also is a good receiver out of the backfield, an important component in Graham's offense.
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