When James Franklin announced he was leaving Vanderbilt for Penn State, most Pitt fans thought any recruiting impact wouldn't happen until later. The fact is, though, that Franklin's departure set off some dominoes that resulted in the Panthers losing one of their prized recruits in the 2014 class.
Today, quarterback Wade Freebeck decommitted from Pitt after pledging over the summer, and decided to head south to Vanderbilt. Franklin's move to Penn State actually had something to do with it. When he left, he took one of his quarterback recruits with him. That opened up a spot at Vandy and Freebeck made the move.
The first bad sign I got was when Freebeck declined comment when the Trib tried to get him to comment for a story a few days ago after he visited Vandy.
At Pitt, Freebeck could have found immediately playing time difficult. Pitt likely would have tried to redshirt him, hoping to get by with Chad Voytik and Trey Anderson, if they could have gotten away with it. If Voytik pans out and stayed healthy, Freebeck may not have taken a meaningful snap for three years. Then, consider, that Pitt is also bringing in freshman Adam Bertke this year and almost surely would have considered sniffing around for another quarterback in 2015.
Freebeck may have gotten his shot ... but then again, maybe not.
Really a shame for Paul Chryst to lose him this close to signing day. Former Pitt quarterback John Congemi was pretty high on him and over the past few months, it was easy to get excited about him coming in. Without Freebeck, the quarterback position gets significantly thinner and recruiting another signal-caller for 2015 really becomes a much bigger priority now.
I'll never get too upset at kids for backing out of a commitment. I'd much rather this happen than a kid get into the program and then bail. That's understandable, too, but while this hurts Pitt, it's hard to be that upset with him. At the end of the day, these kids deserve to be able to find the best fit for them and things change over the course of a year.