“Mr. High School Sports” – What’s Next for Pitt?
By Matt Popchock
Win or lose, Todd Graham has at least one victory to brag about in the days to follow, as Fox Chapel’s Adam Bisnowaty, a 6’6”, 280-pound offensive lineman, has verbally committed to Pitt.
Bisnowaty chose the Panthers over Florida, but he also received interest from Connecticut, Michigan State, Penn State, Virginia, and West Virginia.
He’s the sixth WPIAL/City League prospect from the Class of 2012 to commit to Pitt, joining Tyrique Jarrett (Allderdice), Trenton Coles (Clairton), Dakota Conwell (Upper St. Clair), Marzett Geter (Sto-Rox), and Corey Jones (Penn Hills).
For all of Pitt’s shortcomings in recent history, one thing the program has consistently done well is never to take a defeatist attitude when it comes to pursuing the best high school talent in the country. Dave Wannstedt was a skilled recruiter, and now it looks like some exceptional players are also starting to buy into what Graham is trying to do here.
Bisnowaty is a nice addition for the Panthers. He’s already perceived as capable of playing guard at the next level, and if he improves his agility, he could easily play tackle, his natural position.
In any event, Pitt sorely needs help up front, especially when you consider that, from a recruiting standpoint, last season was not a particularly good one for linemen in these parts, so give Graham credit for taking advantage of an improved class.
So what’s next for Pitt? Here is a sample of some of the other top WPIAL talent the Panthers are courting:
*Rushel Shell, Hopewell – The leading rusher in WPIAL history and one of the top recruits in the country insists he’ll make up his mind Oct. 14 prior to a nationally televised game at Central Valley, with Pitt, Alabama, and Oregon supposedly remaining on his short list.
*Deaysean Rippy, Sto-Rox – He’s a stud linebacker and leading tackler on a Sto-Rox squad that he has helped make one of the teams to beat in Class A, and he’s being pursued coast to coast, with nearly 30 offers on the table. He recently told me he’s keeping an open mind and did not offer a timetable for his decision.
*Demetrious Cox, Jeannette – The quarterback of the Jayhawks is a well rounded athlete and also one of the most menacing safeties in the WPIAL, not to mention a darn good basketball player. He’s getting a lot of looks from Big Ten schools, including Penn State, but also has received offers from Texas A&M and Arizona State.
*Greg Garmon, Erie McDowell – One of the most versatile offensive players in Quad-A, the Trojans’ triple-option tailback has received nearly 20 Division I offers, including ones from Penn State and West Virginia. A number of Big Ten and Big East schools are interested, particularly in the north and northeast, and an offer from Florida State is also on the table.
*T.J. Neal, McKeesport – The backbone of the Tigers’ defense is one of the premier middle linebackers in western PA. In addition to the local interest, he’s received offers from a number of big-name football schools like Auburn, USC, Florida, and Nebraska.
*Jaylen Coleman, University Prep – Things didn’t work out for the middle linebacker at Gateway–for reasons nobody seems to agree on–nevertheless, Coleman is making a name for himself at the newly-formed City League program. It seems most likely he’ll go either Big East, Big Ten, or MAC.
*Treyvon Hester, Penn Hills – This defensive lineman has been a beast for the Indians this year, and is being recruited as an offensive guard. In addition to Pitt, he’s received offers from Cincinnati, Kent State, UMass, Temple, and Toledo.
*Logan Dietz, Pittsburgh Central Catholic – Pitt’s interest in him appears relatively minimal, but it’ll be interesting to see if Central Catholic’s continued success and national prestige changes their tune. The offensive lineman has received interest from small schools like Akron, Harvard, and Old Dominion, but could also end up in the Big Ten or ACC.
*Wayne Capers, Chartiers Valley – Now that the quarterback/slotback is finally healthy, some of the Division I schools that gave him early looks have maintained their interest. He’s being recruited as a receiver and has been courted by Maryland, WVU, Ohio State, and Penn State, in addition to Pitt.
Each of those aforementioned players are ranked among the top 100 nationally at their respective positions by Scout.com.
(Special thanks to Panther Digest for their contributions to this post.)
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)