clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2015 Pitt Football Recruiting: A look at the Panthers' other needs and targets

New, comments

Here is a position by position breakdown of where Pitt stands, and where else they go from here.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Whitehead committed to Pitt on Friday, and that helped put things into perspective for the 2015 recruiting class. Whitehead becomes Pitt's most celebrated recruit, and he addresses a position of big need. Paul Chryst does not have a lot of spots for this recruiting class, so things become pretty tight between now and signing day. Here is a position by position breakdown of where Pitt is, and where they might go from here.

Quarterback - Pitt has Alex Hornibrook committed, and that may be all they do for 2015.  Hornibrook is a three-star guy from Eastern PA and he plans to enroll early to be here for Spring football. Hornibrook will give Pitt four scholarship quarterbacks heading into next season, and could be heading for a redshirt even though the jury is out on Chad Voytik and we're not yet sure about Adam Bertke either. If a quarterback competition comes up, he will be in the middle of it. An interesting thing that could throw a wrench into the mix is Brady Hoke and Michigan. Pitt missed out on four-star Michigan QB, Alex Malzone. He held Pitt in high regards before choosing Michigan. If (when) Hoke gets fired, you have to wonder where Pitt falls into the mix with Malzone.

Running Back - Pitt has Darrin Hall and Sekai Lindsay committed, and they likely won't add anyone else.  It will be tough for either player to crack the projected top three for next year of James Conner, Chris James, and Rachid Ibrahim. Hall sustained an injury recently, and that is something to monitor. Many thought Lindsay would be the only back for this class up until Hall committed. Competition scares some guys off, and others embrace it.  I think it would be big if Pitt can hold onto both players, as they have tons of upside.

Wide Receiver - Tre Tipton and Quadree Henderon are the two committed players here, and Pitt may be settled with those two. The Panthers will likely go into next season with Tyler Boyd and Adonis Jennings as the starters, and Ronald Jones as a slot man. Henderson's game fits the bill as a slot receiver, and perhaps he competes for time right away against Jones.  Aside from that, Pitt has a lot of bodies, but no real solid definite options behind the first three. Tipton could work his way into the mix, but he has a lot of guys ahead of him now.

Tight End -  One of the biggest stories Pitt fans need to follow from here until signing day is Nick Bowers. Could he leave Pitt? Will Penn State pry him away? It is a real possibility. Rumors about Penn State have been out there for some time, but nobody knows if there is mutual interest. Pitt's usage of tight ends isn't helping their cause either. I don't think Pitt adds another tight end if Bowers sticks, but if he left, Pitt would be left scrambling. They have five tight ends currently and they all return next year, so Bowers would have to put in some serious work to play right away.

Offensive Line - Many expected Pitt to take two offensive linemen when Alex Paulina and Tony Pilato were committed, but Rob Dowdy decided to commit last month. That all but assures three is the final number for this position. Still, Paul Chryst does love linemen, so I wouldn't say everything is set in stone just yet. Pitt is likely done, but don't count out adding another linemen if a surprise like Dowdy comes around again  All three players are three star guys, and look to have great upside.  Tony Pilato has great athleticism and size and could be a very good player, Alex Paulina looks like a good future center, and Dowdy is a real good prospect that had offers from all five major conferences. Chryst knows how to find the beef up front.

Defensive End - Pitt has one defensive end committed, but they should be looking to add at least one more. Kevin Givens is listed as a linebacker by most recruiting services, but with his size and and skill set, end looks like his landing place.  Givens is a good prospect that went under the radar nationally. I think Pitt found a good one with him. So who else can Pitt land here? The consensus top choice is three-star Philadelphia native, Shareef Miller. Miller lists Pitt among his top 11 that he released recently, and I would expect the Panthers to make another round of cuts; he likes Pitt a lot. Pitt has some Philly guys on the team selling him on the idea, and I really like Chryst's chances. Pitt is in the top ten for a New York prospect also and that is Austrian Robinson. Pitt also has an offer out to Luke Ancrum of Florida. Not a highly rated guy, but one that looks the part. In some way, Pitt needs to land one of these three guys, but Miller is clearly the top option, and one that Pitt is in good shape with right now.

Defensive Tackle - Pitt has Kraig Howe and DaVon Hamilton committed right now, and that might be all they bring in for interior linemen.  Both players hail from Ohio, and they are pretty good prospects. Pitt isn't really in the mix for anyone else, and this position seems pretty well set.  Pitt returns nearly every interior linemen for next season, so not a ton of playing time is out there.

Linebacker - Pitt does not have a linebacker committed, and that's a big concern.  Pitt will lose Todd Thomas and Anthony Gonzalez after this year, but will still enter next season with ten scholarship linebackers.  Bam Bradley and Nicholas Grigsay will likely step in and start next to Galambos in the middle, but things are murky after that with tons of unproven guys. Pitt just needs to hope a young guy or two elevates their game. Quintin Wirginis is a guy with a high upside that fits that description. Still, Pitt should add at least one linebacker recruit this year, two would be even better. Anthony McKee is the top option, and he lists Pitt in his top ten, but Oklahoma is going to be tough to beat for his services. Saleem Brightwell of New Jersey, and Qaadir Sheppard of New York are good prospects that Pitt is in the mix for at the moment. Both are three star guys that would be a good fit. Shawn Curtis of Florida is an under the radar guy, but with the talent in that state, he could be a good catch as well.

Cornerback - Pitt is obviously in good shape with landing Jordan Whitehead. He is one of the best players in the country at the corner position, and he could see instant playing time. Pitt also has Malik Henderson committed from Florida. He isn't a very highly rated guy, but has a few good offers, and like many Florida prospects, he is probably slightly underrated. Dane Jackson is a local athlete from Quaker Valley High School that is projected as a corner, and he rounds out the class. I would imagine Pitt is done with corners, but if they were so inclined to add another, it would possibly be Shun Brown of Louisiana.

Safety - Pitt does not have a safety committed, but they are likely to add one, maybe even two. The prospects are pretty well defined right now.  Jay Stocker of Coatesville is the best of the bunch, and he has Pitt in his top five with Wisconsin, Duke, Syracuse, and Maryland. He is rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals, and regarded as one of the state's ten best players. The other safety out there is Johnny Petrishen of Pittsburgh Central Catholic. He is down to Pitt, Virginia, and Wake Forest. Petrishen has good size, and maybe he can follow in the footsteps of another solid safety from Central, Andrew Taglianetti. I guess the emergency option is Peter Knox of Florida.  There was some kind of miscommunication, and he actually committed to Pitt earlier in the year. If the staff still likes him enough, and they can't land Stocker or Petrishen, he is one to watch.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow@JimHammett