Pitt now has four commitments for the class of 2013 and judging from the group it is pretty clear that big bodies are a top priority for Paul Chryst and his coaching staff. Here is a review of the four players who have committed.
In talking with Chris Peak from Pantherlair/Rivals about the three guys who aren't from the area as he obviously follows recruiting closely and knows about many of the prospects, he seems to think they are off to a pretty good start in terms of getting good players. And that is a good thing because this team is extremely devoid of offensive linemen, defensive ends and tight ends and those areas really need to be restocked.
I'm not sure of what the exact breakdown will be at the end of the recruiting period on signing day but it won't shock me if we see a class that is loaded with big bodies - i.e. offensive linemen, defensive linemen, a couple of tight ends and maybe even a fullback.
And there is a good reason for this - there is a very big void in these areas on this roster as a result of the coaching turnover of the past two years.
So here is what the class looks like at this point:
Dan Samuelson, OL, Plymouth, Indiana - Samuleson is the latest commitment for the Panthers - he is also Pitt's first recruit from the state of Indiana in at least 40 years from what we can tell. He is big (6-5, 290), he seems to be able to move well and he had some nice offers -Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois and Wake Forest - so it looks like a good get for the Panthers.
Shakir Soto, DE, Wilkes Barre, GAR - Soto is 6-4, 235, which means he has the kind of rangy body that you can put 30 or 40 pounds on and bulk him up over the next few years. He, like Samuelson, had some good offers (Maryland, Boston College, Temple - so he must be a real player - and Virginia) so that's a sign that he has some potential. Again, it is an inexact science and offers and rankings aren't always an accurate barometer but they can be a gauge. Soto fits a real need because the Panthers really need some defensive ends.
Aaron Reese, OL, Chambersburg - Reese is 6-5, 290 pounds, so he is big. He is a prospect who had a lot of interest but Pitt was the first team to offer and he accepted it and committed to the Panthers. Now, if this were a different era of Pitt football, I'd be very skeptical of this kind of prospect from Central or Eastern Pennsylvania because the track record was pretty poor but Paul Chryst, Jim Hueber and company seem to know linemen and know what they are looking for so the fact that they were so quick to offer tells me they saw something they really liked in Reese, who is a tackle and that is another position of extreme need.
The only of the class that I've actually seen play is Scott Orndoff, the tight end from Seton LaSalle. I like him, he seems like a good player and a very good prospect and he, like the other three, fills an area of need. He is 6-foot-6, 250 pounds and he moves well, he is a traditional big time tight end. He fits in the offense well and he had a bunch of really good offers. He certainly looks the part, there is no question about that.
In short, there is no way to know if these guys can play until they get to Pitt but if you look at their positions, the needs they fill, their measurables and everything else, it appears to me that Chryst has a good start to a very solid recruiting class.