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Local star Donovan Johnson takes unofficial visit to Pitt

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The top-50 recruit was recently denied an extra year of eligibility by the WPIAL

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Johnson, an elite recruit out of Moon Area High School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, spent Wednesday afternoon on an unofficial visit to Pitt, according to Mike Vukovcan of Pittsburgh Sports Now. Also in attendance was his brother, former Pitt star Cam Johnson, and the two met with Panthers coach Jeff Capel and his staff at the Petersen Events Center.

News of Johnson’s visit broke after it was revealed he was denied an additional year of eligibility by the WPIAL on Monday. Academically, Johnson will be a high school senior at the start of the 2019-20 school year, but the issue of eligibility arose over him repeating the eighth grade and playing basketball during that time.

”Under PIAA rules, which the WPIAL follows, a student may not play in more than six seasons in a sport after the sixth grade,” wrote Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “However, a waiver can be granted for an extra year because of severe and personal hardship.”

”Age is not a factor in Johnson’s eligibility,” White continued. “He meets age requirements to be eligible next season. At issue is Johnson attending eighth grade at Moon and then repeating eighth grade at Rhema Christian School in Coraopolis.”

Capel offered Johnson, who is a consensus four-star recruit, on April 23, which was right around the time his recruitment was beginning to take off. All told, the 6’7”, 185-pound small forward has reeled in 19 offers, and Pitt faces competition from Arizona, Auburn, Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, TCU, Virginia Tech and Xavier in its effort to land the local star.

Johnson is a priority target for Capel in the 2020 class, as he has strong ties to the school through his father and brother in addition to the talent needed to help Pitt return to its winning ways. It is unclear what the issue with Johnson’s high school eligibility means for his recruitment, but what is certain is that Capel will be keeping an eye on him as a prospect who could potentially succeed Xavier Johnson as the centerpiece of the team if he commits.