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Five new verbal commitments

Written by Sam Werner on .

Boy. That escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast.

No, Brick didn't kill a guy with a trident, but Pitt's recruiting efforts for 2014 are certainly back on track after a whirlwind 48 hours that included four FIVE new verbal commitments, most notably one from an elite WPIAL prospect. Here's a link to my quick story about all the new guys. Let's jump right into the new pledges...

OL Mike Grimm (Bethel Park HS; Bethel Park, Pa.)
6-6, 315 lbs
Rivals: 4*, #25 OL
Scout: 3*, #31 OL
24-7: 3*, #41 OL

Grimm is certainly the biggest pickup of the day for Pitt. He's a huge kid that will fight right into offensive line coach Jim Hueber's system. He said he will at least start his career as a tackle. It's hard to ignore the WPIAL pipeline Pitt is starting to set up, as Adam Bisnowaty (Fox Chapel), Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon) and now Grimm all look like they could be multi-year starters along the line. Here are a couple of quotes from Grimm:

On his relationship with the coaching staff: "Coach Chryst and all the coaches, they've been great to me. They stuck with me since they first offered my sophomore year. That's what I was looking for. I was looking for the commitment from those coaches, from the coaches that I know will stand by me and keep recruiting me throughout the process. That's what I got from them."
On how Hueber told him about he fits along the offensive line: "He definitely thinks that I'm a good fit for the upcoming offensive line. I know that the first year is definitely going to be earning the respect of other players, working hard and hopefully with those two things maybe getting playing time."
On the Pitt's recruiting the last couple of days: "It's definitely picked up a lot. The guys that I've talked to that are committed to Pitt, we share the same kind of reasons why we're doing this."

S Patrick Amara (West Catholic HS; Philadelphia, Pa.)
6-2, 190 lbs
Rivals: 2*, NR
Scout: NR
24-7: 3*, #37 S

Amara committed to Pitt today after visiting earlier in the week. He's listed as an athlete on most sites, but will start his Pitt career at safety. West Catholic coach Brian Fluck said Amara projects at safety, unless he bulks up a lot and shifts down to outside linebacker. Amara played a lot at outside linebacker this year, due to necessity, but should move back to safety for his senior year. Fluck also said Amara played a lot of man-to-man coverage in high school, which should help in acclimating to Pitt's defensive scheme.
"He has great attention of where the ball is, a very aggressive nature to him," Fluck said. "He really goes and attacks the ball carrier and the football on the defensive side of the ball."

RB Dennis Briggs (Shady Side Academy; Pittsburgh, Pa.)
5-10, 190 lbs
Rivals: NR
Scout: NR
24-7: NR

Briggs is definitely an under-the-radar prospect, but could certainly end up being a diamond in the rough. Keep in mind that it's still somewhat early for the evaluation websites, which could lead to the NRs you see above. Shady Side coach Dave Havern, though, is very high on Briggs' potential. He only ran for 237 yards last year, but Havern said that wasn't for lack of talent.
"Stats-wise, he didn't really have big stats," Havern said. "But what he did, every time he touched the ball it was nine yards. In our offense, he really did a lot of the lead blocking. He didn't have the big numbers like that; the other guy had big numbers because Dennis was knocking guys out."
Next year, Havern said Briggs will likely play a bigger role in the offense. Havern also said that one of Briggs' best aspects was his versatility.
"One of the big bonuses with Dennis is he catches the ball really well," Havern said. "He dropped the ball once when he was a sophomore and he told me he would never drop another ball again, and I've never seen him drop another ball."
Once again, the relationship with the coaching staff was a big plus here.
"I think it's a good choice," Havern said. "I think Dennis feels real comfortable with it and his family feels real comfortable with the choice and we have confidence coach Chryst is going to do a great job down there. We have confidence in him. We like how he goes about his business."

QB Adam Bertke (Marion High School; Maria Stein, Ohio)
6-5, 200 lbs
Rivals: NR
Scout: 3*, #50 QB
24-7: 3*, #24 Pro QB

Always good to have a quarterback on board. Always. Not a whole lot of information out here on Bertke, and I don't think it's any secret that the No. 1 guy on the Panthers' quarterback board is still Keller Chryst, but especially given the lack of depth Pitt has had under center in recent years, Bertke at the very least will provide solid depth. He's a good guy you can get in the system and, you never know, some guys can blossom in college. It's a little tough to tell Bertke's true potential because he comes out of a very small school in Ohio.

CB Avonte Maddox (Martin Luther King, Jr. HS; Detroit, Mich.)
5-9, 160 lbs
Rivals: 2*, NR
Scout: 3*, #57 CB
24-7: 3*, #79 ATH

Just when you thought it was safe to break for dinner, Pitt comes right back with its third verbal pledge of the day. Maddox is sort of a do-everything athlete, but will likely start out at Pitt as a cornerback. He's the third defensive back in the class, joining Amara and previous commit Jalen Williams, but the first cornerback of the class.

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