Glad to be back from vacation and, with just eight days until Pitt’s 2013 recruiting class puts ink to paper, let’s get started taking a look at the players who will sign with the Panthers Feb. 6. Over the next week, I’ll take a look at the current recruiting class position by position, look at who Paul Chryst and his staff have signed, and if there’s anyone still out there that could jump on board.
Before we get started, a quick note on the overall numbers. Pitt currently has 27 verbal commitments, including the four early enrollees. Those four can count against last year’s 16-person class, so the staff has two more scholarships to give out before they hit the annual limit of 25. The problem, though, is that another 29 players would put Pitt at 91 overall, well above the 85-man scholarship limit (and that’s not even factoring in that Tom Savage will almost certainly be added on scholarship this year). The Panthers have to get down to 85 by the time this class enrolls in the fall, and to do so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple more transfers, as well as maybe some walk-ons who were on scholarship this year having to pay their own way this year. It may not be pretty, but Pitt is somehow going to have to get down to 85 scholarships over the next few months.
With that, let’s move on to the positions. We’ll start today with a pretty straightforward one: quarterback.
Tra’von Chapman (6-2, 200 lbs)
Theodore Roosevelt High School (Kent, Ohio)
Rivals: 4*, No. 12 dual-threat QB
Scout: 4*, No. 20 QB
ESPN: 3*, No. 20 pocket-passer QB
Verbal commitments: None
Tim Boyle (6-4, 216 lbs)
Xavier High School (Middletown, Conn.)
Rivals: 3*, No. 25 pro-style QB
Scout: 3*, No. 70 QB
ESPN: 3*, No. 36 pock-passer QB
Like I said, this one is pretty easy to start off with. Chryst got his quarterback early in the process when Chapman committed to Pitt in June. Chapman is a dual-threat guy, and I know a lot of people have made comparisons to Russell Wilson, who Chryst coached for one season at Wisconsin. I can see that, to an extent. Chapman is taller than Wilson, and I think a more polished recruit coming out of high school. We spoke to him a few weeks ago, and he said that his first goal coming in is just to learn the offense and not worrying about his place on the depth chart. Enrolling early is always beneficial for quarterbacks, but barring disaster, he will almost certainly redshirt the 2013 season behind Tom Savage and Chad Voytik (in some order). That said, the staff is very high on Chapman as their quarterback of the future. Voytik will certainly get his chances to win the job — and he has the talent to do so — but he originally committed to Pitt under Todd Graham, whereas Chapman has been Chryst’s guy from the get-go. Ideally, it would seem that the longterm plan is to have Chapman be a multi-year starter down the road for Pitt.
As for Boyle, he originally committed to Boston College under former coach Frank Spaziani, and is rethinking things after the hiring of Steve Addazio, who brought in a third quarterback recruit when he took the job. Boyle was originally very high on Pitt, according to his coach, Sean Marinan, and if the Panthers have an open spot, Boyle would strongly consider it. He also said Boyle would try to make it out on a visit this week, but wasn’t sure. I think some other targets would have to fall through for Pitt to find a spot for Boyle, but it’s at least worth paying attention to.