Pitt Football: Jordan Whitehead & Darrin Hall Are Recruiting Gems For Class Of 2015


Sep 27, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney (L) talks with Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst (R) before the Panthers host the Akron Zips at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Thus far, it has been a relatively disappointing third season for Paul Chryst, as the Panthers own a 4-5 record (2-3 in ACC) and are in jeopardy of missing a bowl game.

The Panthers have had a little bit of every emotion this season, starting strong with a 62-0 thrashing of Delaware, a key road win against Boston College, and a 3-0 start to excite Pitt fans.

Things then took a turn for the worse, with a frustrating 10-point lead slipping away against Iowa, a discouraging and emotionless stunner to Akron, a sign of life with a national TV victory over Virginia Tech, an embarrassing and historical “fumble-happy” debacle on Homecoming against Georgia Tech, and a blown opportunity against ACC Coastal favorite Duke in double overtime.

Paul Chryst and staff will need to land and maintain a strong recruiting class to help turn things around. As for the Class of 2015, here are the current commitments for the Pitt Panthers:

  • OT (Scout 81, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 50, 3*) Alex Paulina (Canon-McMillan SHS) Canonsburg, PA 6-5/295
  • TE (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 14, 3*) Nick Bowers (Kittanning SHS) Kittanning, PA 6-4/220
  • OLB (Scout 71, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 73, 3*) Kevin Givens (Altoona HS) Altoona, PA 6-3/230
  • CB (Scout 98, 3*) (Rivals 2*) (ESPN 55, 3*) Malik Henderson (Hallandale HS) Hallandale, FL 6-1/175
  • QB (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 42, 3*) Alex Hornibrook (Malvern Prep) Malvern, PA 6-4/195
  • WR (Scout 71, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 93, 3*) Quadree Henderson (Alexis I. Dupont HS) Wilmington, DE 5-9/172
  • WR (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 124, 3*) Tre Tipton (Apollo-Ridge HS) Spring Church, PA 6-1/170
  • DT (Scout 37, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 85, 3*) Kraig Howe (Archbishop Alter HS) Kettering, OH 6-3/262
  • RB (Scout 103, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 64, 3*) Sekai Lindsay (Palm Bay SHS) Melbourne, FL 5-10/205
  • DT (Scout 57, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 84, 3*) DaVon Hamilton (Pickerington HS Central) Pickerington, OH 6-4/285
  • CB (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals 2*) (ESPN 128, 3*) Dane Jackson (Quaker Valley HS) Leetsdale, PA 6-0/170
  • S (Scout 98, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN NR) Peter Knox (First Coast HS) Jacksonville, FL, 6-2/180
  • OT (Scout 106, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 106, 3*) Tony Pilato (Hempfield Area SHS) Greensburg, PA 6-7/295
  • RB (Scout 30, 4*) (Rivals 4*) (ESPN 37, 4*) Darrin Hall (Fitch HS) Youngstown, OH 6-0/205
  • OT (Scout 41, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 47, 3*) Rob Dowdy (Westerville-South HS) Westerville, OH 6-5/260
  • CB (Scout 20, 4*) (Rivals 4*) (ESPN 13, 4*) Jordan Whitehead (Central Valley HS) Monaca, PA 5-10/170

At first glance over this list, Jordan Whitehead and Darrin Hall are the two who come in with the most accolades. Whitehead, a local product from Central Valley High School, will likely compete and win a starting position in the secondary for the Panthers.  Hall and Lindsay join a loaded backfield, with James Conner, Chris James, and Rachid Ibrahim, but he could certainly make an impact.

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Chryst continues to reinforce the offensive line with much size. Pilato is 6-foot-7, Paulina is 6-5, and Dowdy is 6-5.  The Panthers continue to adjust and fit the mold of a prototypical Wisconsin offense, with a huge offensive line, strong blocking tight ends who can also catch, and a variety of running backs that can punish and show speed.

On the defensive side, I am a huge fan of the addition of two Florida recruits for the secondary, as this adds much needed speed and depth to the roster. Whitehead, Knox, and Henderson can instantly compete for secondary positions, as Ray Vinopal graduates and the other cornerbacks have gone through some growing pains this season.

Quarterback is a position of interest, and it is still up in the air on how sophomore Chad Voytik will grow over time. Unfortunately, Pitt just doesn’t have much depth for the most important position on the team.  Trey Anderson and Adam Bertke are the only two other quarterbacks on the roster.

Bertke has size, but we haven’t seen what he is capable of yet.  Alex Hornibrook also brings some size at 6-foot-4, so he and Bertke may compete with Voytik for the starting spot next season.  I would like to see Pitt land another quarterback to fill depth.

Stay tuned to City of Champions for additional recruiting news and game recaps, as well as Pittsburgh.scout.com and Pittsburgh.rivals.com for additional Pitt coverage.