Now that the 2015 recruiting class for football is in the books, it's time to get out the crystal ball and go out on a limb, and make some predictions sure to fail. If you want to see how I did last year, take a look. Not too bad, but I'm gonna try and do a little better this season:
THE STARS - We'll begin with the easiest one first. Hopefully in the coming years with Pat Narduzzi and his staff having more time to build a relationship with kids, this category will get a little tougher to narrow it down to a couple of kids. You don't have to look very hard to know that Jordan Whitehead is the runaway winner here from Central Valley. If you have seen him play or checked out his highlight tape, you know the deal and it's a good one. He's going to be good...very good. If you must have numbers, he is the top player in the state, sixth in the country at cornerback, and 75th nationally by Rivals. It doesn't hurt either that he is a defensive back, which is a big area of need. After Whitehead, you have to go to a familiar position with Darrin Hall at running back. Hall is from Austintown Fitch High in Ohio and is a four-star recruit, who Rivals ranks at 195th overall in the 2015 class and the 22nd running back. I'll go a little deeper here and give you a linebacker by the name of Anthony McKee from Marion Franklin High in Ohio. McKee ranks 36th in the nation at outside linebacker.
PLAYERS WITH THE BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY - Get used to Whitehead, he's going to be seen early and often. We'll see if he can unseat a starter on defense, but you will see him returning kicks and Narduzzi even mentioned he could have a small package of plays on offense (is it starting to sink in that this kid is special?). Beyond that, I would go with wide receiver recruit Tre Tipton from Apollo Ridge High in PA. See the next category for my reasons.
SLEEPER PICKS - When I view Tipton's highlights, I wonder how many offers he would have received and how many stars he would have if he didn't play in AA. Tipton's only other P5 offer was from Michigan State. He's 6'0" and 160 pounds, and is athletic enough that he ran the wildcat. It wasn't just the wildcat to run either, as Tipton can throw the ball when he needed to last year. His route running is very good for a young kid and he can go up and get a ball. I think he will do very well and considering Tyler Boyd needs a runnin' buddy, Tipton could surprise a few people.
WORTH THE WAIT PLAYERS - If you are looking for a couple of players who fans will have to wait to watch, but will be well worth it, take a look at receiver Quadree Henderson from Alexis I Dupont in Delaware and offensive lineman Tony Pilato from nearby Hempfield High. Henderson is small, but is he ever explosive. He's shifty and finds a hole and takes off. There is an outside chance you could see him return some kicks next fall, as well as some slot receiver snaps, but they could also make you wait a year to get a look at him. Pilato is a massive and athletic offensive lineman, but the depth on the line will allow Pitt the luxury to red-shirt him, His basketball skills translate well to his footwork and when he gets a hold of a defensive player to block, he's just plain nasty. His 6'7" and 290-pound frame has Pitt coaches salivating to put him in at a tackle position some day, but he did move around in high school and has experience at other positions on the line.
FAN FAVORITE - I think there is a chance Whitehead could reach Tyler Boyd and James Conner status with Pitt fans rather quickly. I'm sure you are tired of hearing about him, so I'll also mention Henderson again, along with McKee. Henderson's size and big-play ability makes him easy to like and McKee LOVES to hit and can be a violent player on the field.
That's my predictions for 2015 and if I'm wrong, I'll have Anson destroy this entire article ASAP. It is either that or I'll say Jim wrote it and put my name on it. If I'm right, I'll take full credit.