SAN ANTONIO, Texas (93-7 THE FAN) — On what was otherwise a rough day for Pitt, the football program received great news that it hopes will offset a recent disappointment on the recruiting frontier.
Clairton wide receiver Tyler Boyd, the new WPIAL leader in career touchdowns, and one of the premier athletes in the country, verbally committed to Paul Chryst’s Panthers while playing for the East team in the 12th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl at The Alamodome.
Boyd (6’1,” 170 lbs.) selected Pitt over West Virginia and Michigan State, though multiple sources say he will still honor plans to visit the latter, while also checking out Tennessee. He had previously canceled visits to WVU and to Penn State before spending time in and around Oakland.
He is ranked as the No. 4 wingback (multi-purpose offensive player) in the nation by MaxPreps and CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, with Central Valley standout and 2010 district champion Robert Foster leading that list.
Foster, another one of the PIAA’s best playmakers over the course of his varsity career, was considered to be a crown jewel in the 2013 WPIAL recruiting class, along with Boyd and Belle Vernon offensive lineman Dorian Johnson.
Johnson committed to Pitt Nov. 18 after reneging on Penn State, but Foster, at the last minute, chose Alabama over them Dec. 21, despite reliable sources saying he would pledge allegiance to the Panthers.
Like Foster, Boyd was said to be on the fence with regard to his college choice for the longest time, but perhaps a wider window of opportunity at Pitt might have sweetened the deal. Reportedly, WVU wanted Boyd, also an accomplished defender, for its secondary, but Chryst, like Boyd himself, wanted the All-PIAA honoree on offense.
Furthermore, with Second-Team All-Big East stars Mike Shanahan graduating and Class of ’14 Devin Street possibly entering the NFL Draft early, Pitt’s depth at wide receiver, in any event, is going to get shallower soon.
“His route running needs some refinement, but Boyd has excellent footwork and the burst needed to get past the second level of opposing defenses,” said Bleacher Report featured columnist Rick Weiner. “Boyd has the ability to step in and contribute both on offense and special teams for Pitt as a freshman.”
He is slated to become the fourth, and possibly, fifth, member of the “Bout Dat” Bears to dress for Pitt this fall. Receiver Kevin Weatherspoon and defensive back Trenton Coles are already there, Clairton teammate Titus Howard also committed to the program as a DB, and deep threat Terrish Webb has been offered by Pitt after backing out of his Kent State commitment.
Boyd, known for his explosiveness and ability to change games in the blink of an eye, spear-headed one of the most accomplished senior classes in Pennsylvania high school football history. He ended his career with 117 all-time TD’s–seven more than Pitt freshman tailback and Hopewell product Rushel Shell–and in 2012, he caught 12 passes for 218 yards while rushing for 2,567 yards (11.9/carry), and earning PIAA Class A Football Player of the Year honors.
Clairton became the second WPIAL team to win five district titles in a row, the first to win four PIAA championships consecutively, and, thanks in part to his leadership, enters 2013 with a state record 63-game winning streak, still the longest active one in America.
As of Saturday, he brings Pitt’s 2013 recruiting class to 22 strong, and joins Johnson, Howard, Gateway tight end Jaymar Parrish, South Fayette receiver Zach Challingsworth, and Seton-LaSalle tight end Scott Orndoff as the sixth WPIAL member of that group (meanwhile, Blackhawk Class of ’14 QB Chandler Kincade has kept his verbal commitment from prior to Chryst’s hiring).
Chryst’s inaugural recruiting class, which totaled only 16, also consisted of six WPIAL players.
National Letter of Intent Day for major college football is Wed., Feb. 6. Assuming Boyd stays true to his verbal, it would give Chryst, like Shell a year ago, exactly the kind of local impact player needed for his offense to evolve.
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