Pitt Panthers Football Recruiting Update for the New Year

Michigan football former coach Lloyd Carr hands the championship trophy to Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst after the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In the first game of the 2013 season, the Pitt Panthers matched up against the Florida State Seminoles at Heinz Field. A heavy underdog, Pitt marched down the field to take a 7-0 lead with a Tom Savage touchdown pass to Manasseh Garner.

Though the Seminoles proved too powerful for Pitt, one thing really stuck out to me: the significance of the 18 freshmen (true and redshirt) who were tossed into action against the No. 11-ranked team in the country. Take a look at my overview of the 2013 freshman class posted earlier this week.

Let’s look into the current situation regarding Pitt’s incoming freshmen class for next season, as the Feb. 5 National Signing Day is quickly approaching. In addition to City of Champions, I suggest checking out recruiting sites Pittsburgh.scout.com, Pittsburgh.rivals.com, and ESPN NCAAF Recruiting for continued updated coverage on signings and updated player rankings.

By the looks of Paul Chryst’s previous classes and the list below, Pitt continues to add offensive lineman with a similar prototype to the Wisconsin Badgers. Local products Alex Bookster and Michael Grimm will be important pieces to Pitt’s team. This is an indication of the Panthers’ mentality to run the ball and protect the quarterback.

Pitt’s offensive line has had problems in the past, but I believe that problem will diminish under Chryst. Chad Voytik will also add the element of a mobile quarterback to the Panthers, which we experienced while watching the second half of the Little Caesars Bowl. Pitt will also be adding much needed QB depth with the additions of Wade Freebeck and Adam Bertke.

Pitt still has several targets, and prospect Jamil Kamara (four-star receiver from Virginia Beach, Va.) will be deciding between Wisconsin, Pitt and Virginia on Saturday. Look for Chryst to add a few more recruits to this list by National Signing Day.

Pitt Football Recruiting Commitments:

  • OT  (Scout 15, 4*) (Rivals 25, 4*) (ESPN 14, 4*) Alex Bookser (Mt. Lebanon SHS) Pittsburgh, PA    6-6/295
  • RB  (Scout 20, 4*)  (Rivals 23, 4*) (ESPN 49, 3*) Chris James (Notre Dame College Prep) Niles, IL    5-10/207
  • WR  (Scout 137, 3*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 136, 3*) JaQuan Davidson (Elizabeth Forward SHS) Elizabeth, PA    6-3/180
  • RB  (Scout 41, 3*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 97, 3*) Qadree Ollison (Canisius HS) Buffalo, NY    6-1/225
  • CB  (Scout 101, 3*)  (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 168, 3*) Phillipie Motley (Hilliard Davidson HS) Hilliard, OH   6-0/175
  • WR  (Scout 102, 3*) (Rivals 92, 3*) (ESPN 72, 3*) Elijah Zeise (North Allegheny SHS) Wexford, PA    6-2/186
  • QB  (Scout 84, 2*)  (Rivals 30, 3*) (ESPN 15, 4*) Wade Freebeck (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) Fort Lauderdale, FL    6-3/180
  • TE  (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN 32, 3*) Brian O’Neil (Salesianum School) Wilmington, DE    6-5/220
  • DE  (Scout 7, 3*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 91, 3*) Shane Roy (Reading Community HS) Reading, OH   6-4/235
  • OT  (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 137, 3*) Mike Herndon (Riverheads HS) Staunton, VA   6-5/320
  • OG  (Scout 86, 3*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 66, 3*) Connor Dintino (Choate Rosemary Hall) Wallingford, CT   6-3.5/300
  • OLB  (Scout 109, 3*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 37, 3*) Quintin Wirginis (Fox Chapel Area SHS) Pittsburgh, PA    6-2/225
  • OT  (Scout 66, 3*) (Rivals 28, 4*) (ESPN 52, 3*) Michael Grimm (Bethel Park SHS) Bethel Park, PA    6-6/311
  • CB  (Scout 35, 3*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 105, 3*) Avonte Maddox (King HS) Detroit, MI    5-9/160/4.39
  • WR  (Scout 173, 3*) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN 121, 3*) Patrick Amara (West Philadelphia HS) Philadelphia, PA   6-2/182
  • RB  (Scout 108, 3*) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN 131, 3*) Dennis Briggs (Shady Side Academy Senior School) Pittsburgh, PA   5-10/185
  • QB  (Scout 51, 3*) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN 24, 3*) Adam Bertke (Marion HS) Maria Stein, OH    6-5/200
  • S  (Scout 115, 3*) (Rivals NR, 3*) (ESPN 115, 3*) Jalen Williams (Newburgh Free Academy) Newburgh, NY    6-1/180
  • OG  (Scout 65, 3*) (Rivals 29, 3*) (ESPN 81, 3*) Connor Hayes (Traverse City West Senior H.) Traverse City, MI    6-4/280
  • DE (Scout NR, NR) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN 113, 3*) Rori Blair (Upper Saint Clair HS) Upper Saint Clair, PA 6-4/205
  • LB (Scout NR, NR) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN NR, NR) James Folston Jr. (Cocoa HS) Cocoa, FL  6-2/200

Brett is a Pitt staff writer at City of Champions. Follow him on Twitter @BJoseph21.

Topics: Paul Chryst, Pitt Panthers Football, Recruiting

Want more from City of Champions?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • David Gazda

    Brett,
    As a Pitt alumni, I was a little disappointed in our defense this year, the exception being the great performance of Aaron Donald. Gave up too many long runs, long passes; don’t know if it is the recruiting or the defensive coordinator or both that need improved if they are going to really be competitive in the ACC next year.

    • Brett Tunno

      Dave,

      I totally agree with you. Pitt seemed to give a rather large cushion to wide receivers, particularly in the Florida St and Miami games. It looked as though Lafayette Pitts had somewhat of a sophomore slump. I think the “Florida speed” could be a reason, and Pitt will definitely need to recruit players with mroe speed. I think all of the playmakers from Clairton (Howard, Webb, and Coles) could be important to the secondary next season. I think linebacker should be strong with Todd Thomas and Anthony Gonzalez’s experience. The void left by Aaron Donald will certainly need to be filled, and hopefully some of Chryst’s freshmen recruits could contribute immediately.