Posted: 1:01 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, 2014
Now that signing day is over, it's time to look to next year's recruiting class.
Pitt wrapped up its 2014 recruiting class, and with a 7-6 record, Pitt brought in some quality pieces. Still, the class left a lot left to be desired. The Panthers missed out on some big time prospects near and far that they need to start landing. Paul Chryst seems to be building an impressive offense down the line, but missing out on some key defensive players is what is troubling. But enough on the 2014 class - it's all about 2015 from now on.
Western Pennsylvania and the entire state in general is usually Pitt's best chance to bring in four and five-star caliber players, and that will be no different in 2015. Yes, the Panthers will dip into southern and midwestern states for talent, but Pitt needs to have a solid presence right here in Pennsylvania. Keep in mind it is very early in the process and Pitt could offer new kids right off the bat and get eliminated right away from consideration by some. It is all a guessing game right now, but here are some of the names we will be tracking over the course of the next year.
Sterling Jenkins 6-8 300 OT Baldwin, PA - This is the name we all need to watch for the next year. Jenkins is a big prospect in every sense of the word. He is a four or five-star player, depending who you ask. Pitt has made offensive line a priority in recent seasons, and have been able to lock down the top WPIAL lineman the past three years. Landing the gigantic 6-8 lineman will not be an easy task as he already holds early offers from Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State among many others. Rumor out there is that he likes the Big Ten, but Pitt should be in this one to the very end.
Jordan Whitehead 5-11 190 CB Monaca, PA - Jordan Whitehead takes on the role of being this year's massive Beaver County prospect and judging how the Robert Foster and Dravon Henry decisions went, this recruitment could be difficult as well. Whitehead is another four-star player that will attract attention from schools all over the place. Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech are just some of the names out there. Pitt will make a push, and it would be huge for perception to land a guy like this.
Andre Robinson 5-10 210 RB Harrisburg, PA - Another big time back from Bishop McDevitt. Pitt hopes they can get the next great McDevitt back following in the footsteps of LeSean McCoy. Robinson is a bigger bodied back and a physical runner. He fits the mold of what Pitt is looking for in a running back, but like the first two names mentioned, it will be a battle. Penn State, Michigan State, and Virginia Tech are just some on his growing offer sheet.
Adam McLean 6-2 275 DL North Potomac, MD - McLean is a big time defensive lineman from Maryland and Pitt appears to be in the mix for him. He is a four-star recruit and a lot of teams are all over him. He initially named a top five a few weeks ago with Pitt in there but more offers have rolled in lately, so the final list may have changed.
Tyrone Wheatley 6-6 245 DE Buffalo, NY - Wheatley is one of the best defensive end prospects in the country, yet Pitt has a chance with him. Wheatley is a high school teammate of 2014 recruit, Qadree Ollison. Still, the likes of Alabama and Florida have offered the Buffalo product.
Kareem Ali 5-11 170 CB Sicklerville, NJ - Ali is a big prospect from a talent rich high school in New Jersey. Pitt was able to land Adonis Jennings this past year, and hopefully that could influence Ali's decision. Plenty of Big Ten and ACC schools have extended offers already.
CJ Conrad 6-5 220 TE Le Grange, OH - Pitt has already landed a tight end for this class, but perhaps they would look to take another one. Conrad is a big prospect for Ohio and Pitt was one of his first offers.
Larry Scott 6-1 215 RB Hubbard, OH - Scott is a top 100 back from Ohio and Pitt is in the mix. He does not have an Ohio State offer to date, but things would be a lot easier without Urban Meyer in his recruitment. West Virginia, Michigan State, and Tennessee are some of Scott's other offers.
Nick Conner 6-3 215 LB Dublin, OH - Conner is a four-star linebacker from the Columbus area of Ohio. He has a Pitt offer, but not an Ohio State one yet. As I said earlier, no Urban Meyer means good things for Pitt. Still, an offer from the hometown team could come at any time.
Kyle Shurmur 6-4 205 Philadelphia, PA - Shurmur's father is a coach for the Eagles, and comes from a strong football background. Although he does not have a big offer sheet yet, he still appears to be a pretty good player. Shurmur is the only QB that has a Pitt offer to date. He also holds offers from Illinois and Central Michigan.