And here we reach the end of our series previewing Pitt’s 2013 recruiting class. To wrap it up, we’ll look at the two specialists Pitt will be signing tomorrow. Like all college football players, most of the guys who sign tomorrow will make their first impact on special teams so, really, all of these posts are about future special teams players. There are, however, a kicker and a punter in this class...
Early enrollees: None.
Chris Blewitt, K (5-10, 165 lbs)
West Potomac High School (Alexandria, Va.)
Rivals: 2*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 6 K
ESPN: 3*, No. 5 K
Couldn't find a highlight package of Blewitt, but I imagine it would involve a lot of kicks from various distances going through uprights.
Ryan Winslow, P (6-5, 215 lbs)
La Salle High School (Wyndmor, Pa.)
Rivals: 2*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 4 P
ESPN: 2* No. 28 K
Remaining targets: None.
Pitt has had some pretty good luck in the past with walk-ons developing into solid kickers, but it doesn’t hurt to go the recruiting route for a position that this season taught us can be painfully important in some big games.
Unless Chris Blewitt totally combusts in fall camp, I would expect him to be the kicker in the opener against Villanova. Pitt has two other kickers (Brad Lukasak and Drake Greer), but Blewitt, despite the somewhat unfortunate name for a kicker, has the talent to claim the job right away. The biggest question, especially as a freshman, will be if he can have the mental makeup that kickers need to be successful. College kickers will miss kicks; that’s just a fact of football. But the good kickers are able to put them aside and not let them snowball into prolonged slumps. Blewitt has a strong leg and, by all accounts, the right mentality, so he definitely has the potential to be a four-year starter for the Panthers.
Matt Yoklic has one year of eligibility left, so Ryan Winslow will probably take a redshirt this year, but he should be ready to go as the starter in 2014. It’s always a little tricky managing scholarships for specialists, since you don’t want to tie up too many in the kicking game, but having a solid punter can quietly swing a lot of football games.