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Counting down to Signing Day 2016: Quarterbacks

Written by Sam Werner on .

We're just over two weeks away from national signing day, so over the coming days we'll start taking a look at the class Pat Narduzzi is expected to sign on Feb. 3. We'll look at the players Pitt has committed, as well as any top prospects still on the board for the Panthers.

Before we get started, a quick note on scholarship numbers. Pitt currently has 67 scholarships allocated to returning players for 2016 (that includes Ejuan Price, who is very likely to return for a sixth year, per sources within the program). The Panthers currently have 19 players verbally committed for next season (plus transfer TE Chris Clark), and could take a few more. Right now, if every player verbally committed to Pitt signed, the Panthers would be at 87, two over the NCAA's limit of 85. Pitt will likely add at least one or two more players to the fold before signing day, so that pushes the number even higher. This is all a roundabout way of saying that there will likely be some more attrition from the ranks of the upperclassmen before we get to training camp next year.

Of course, this is a subject that seems to come up just about every year and it always has a way of working out. If Damar Hamlin and/or Khaleke Hudson, for instance, want to come to Pitt, the coaches will find a way to make the numbers work. It's a bit tricky because the roster skews to the young side, so there aren't as many clear candidates of players who will move on, so to speak, but it's not a significant crisis or anything.

Now, that being said, let's get to the first position: Quarterbacks.

Verbal commitments:
Thomas MacVittie (6-4, 213 lbs)
Moeller High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 59 QB
247: 4*, No. 8 pro-style QB

Key remaining targets: None

This one should be pretty simple. MacVittie has been committed to Pitt since March, and seems relatively solid in his pledge. LSU has started showing some interest recently, and any time an SEC school gets involved, it's reason to at least be a bit concerned. Still, I would be surprised if MacVittie signs anywhere other than Pitt on Signing Day. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada made visiting with MacVittie a priority when the contact period reopened this week.

As far as where that leaves the Panthers, Chad Voytik's transfer means the quarterback depth chart will still skew very young next season, with Nate Peterman at the top and two guys with no game experience (Adam Bertke and Ben DiNucci) backing him up. Because of that, it wouldn't surprise me if the staff pursued a JUCO quarterback to help bridge the gap, so to speak. That, though, could be a situation where the numbers just don't end up working out (having five quarterbacks on scholarship would be a bit cumbersome). The ultimate goal is usually to take one quarterback every year, but (partially due to coaching changes), Pitt's quarterback recruiting has been a bit uneven in recent years. That led to the addition of Peterman this offseason and a young depth chart for MacVittie to step into.

As with most quarterback prospects, MacVittie will almost certainly redshirt in 2016. Still, he's talented enough that I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a push for the starting job as a redshirt freshman in 2017. The spot will be open, and he has a better recruiting pedigree than both DiNucci and Bertke, even though those two will have the edge on him in experience.

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Pacman Jones apologizes to Antonio Brown

Written by Alex Iniguez on .

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Remember when the Bengals' Adam "Pacman" Jones said he would apologize to Antonio Brown for saying Brown faked his injury last weekend if Brown doesn't play in Sunday's game? Well, Brown has been ruled out for the game, so here's the apology, via Jones' Instagram account:

 

@antoniobrown84 I truly apologize !!!!!! That's my word !!!

A video posted by @realpacman24 on

And, as a bonus, in case you haven't heard it yet, here's what Mike Tomlin had to say about Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown today:

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Actor Dick Hughes trying to help Agent Orange victims

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

Readers may know Dick Hughes as a Shadyside native, Carnegie Mellon University graduate and actor who turns up frequently on stage, TV and film. He also spent years in Vietnam helping children through what turned into the Shoeshine Boys Project.

He is still trying to help those affected decades later by Agent Orange, recognized by the Veterans Administration as causing cancers, health problems and birth defects. You can see more in the video.

Below, click on this link to a 2001 story about him:

http://old.post-gazette.com/lifestyle/20011007hughes1007fnp2.asp

 

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About the Lightning - 01-15-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Lightning.

When and where: 7:30 p.m., EST, Ice Palace Arena St. Pete Times Forum Tampa Bay Times Forum Amalie Arena.

TV: Root Sports, Sun Sports, TVA.

Record: 22-17-4, 48 points. The Lightning is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

Leading Scorer: Right winger Nikita Kucherov, 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists).

Last Game: 4-0 road win against the Avalanche Tuesday. Goaltender Ben Bishop made 21 saves for the Lightning.

Last Game against the Penguins: 6-3 road loss Jan. 2, 2015. Defenseman Victor Hedman (right) had a goal and an assist for the Lightning.

Lightning Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Left winger Ondrej Palat. He has seven points in six career games against the Penguins.

Ex-Penguins on the Lightning: Assistant coach Brad Lauer.

Ex-Lightning on the Penguins: Head coach Mike Sullivan, assistant coach Rick Tocchet.

Useless Lightning Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Tocchet (2,972 penalty minutes) is one of four one-time NHL head coaches who had over 2,000 career penalty minutes as a player. The others are Craig Berube (2,149), Dale Hunter (3,565) and Terry O'Reilly (2,095).

The last time the Penguins played the Lightning, this happened: 

-This too:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (15-11-4, 2.26 GAA, .926 SV%) for the Penguins. Andrei Vasilevskiy (5-4-0, 2.67 GAA, .911 SV%) for the Lightning.

Injuries: For the Penguins, right wingers Beau Bennett ("upper body"), Pascal Dupuis (blood clots) and center Nick Bonino (hand) are on injured reserve. For the Lightning, right winger Joel Vermin (hand) is on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins had an optional morning skate. Consider this a guess based on their lines and pairings from Tuesday's game against the Hurricanes: 

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 39 David Perron
72 Patric Hornqvist - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 81 Phil Kessel
34 Tom Kuhnhackl - 16 Eric Fehr 17 Bryan Rust
61 Sergei Plotnikov - 7 Matt Cullen - 11 Kevin Porter

58 Kris Letang - 3 Olli Maatta
8
 Brian Dumoulin - 12 Ben Lovejoy
6 Trevor Daley - 28 Ian Cole

-The Lightning had an optional skate. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he could potentially choose to use 11 forwards and seven defensemen after warm-up tonight. Its lines and pairings against the Avalanche were:

18 Ondrej Palat - 90 Vladislav Namestnikov - 91 Steven Stamkos
17 Alex Killorn - 9 Tyler Johnson - 86 Nikita Kucherov
13 Cedric Paquette - 51 Valtteri Filppula - 24 Ryan Callahan
23 J.T. Brown - 11 Brian Boyle - 22 Erik Condra

77 Victor Hedman - 6 Anton Stralman
89 Nikita Nesterov - 55 Braydon Coburn
5 Jason Garrison - 62 Andrej Sustr

Notes:

-The Penguins recalled left winger Conor Sheary from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Fleury has won seven consecutive games against the Lightning.

-Sullivan was named as an assistant coach for Team USA in next season's World Cup of Hockey.

-Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison has 98 career assists.

-Lightning center Steven Stamkos has 296 career goals.

-The referees are (No. 36) Dean Morton and (No. 19) Gord Dwyer. The linesmen are (No. 75) Derek Amell and (No. 98) John Grandt.

(Photo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

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Twitterverse reacts to Antonio Brown being ruled out with concussion

Written by Alex Iniguez on .

The Steelers announced Friday morning that wide receiver Antonio Brown is ruled out for Sunday's AFC divisional round playoff game against the Denver Broncos.

Brown was concussed late in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ 18-16 victory against Cincinnati Saturday night and did not pass through the NFL concussion protocol in order to be cleared to play this weekend.

With the news, teammates and fans weighed in with their reactions to the announcement.

 

UPDATE: Antonio Brown weighs in on his own status and the Steelers' chances Sunday:

What are your thoughts on the ruling? Do the Steelers still have a chance against the Broncos? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SteelersPG or @PGSportsNow.

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