September 21, 2005

Big East Blitz: Pitt holding on

Considering Pittsburgh is 0-3 for the first time since 1984, one has to wonder what kind of effect this will have on recruiting. The Panthers have much to lose as Dave Wannstedt put together quite the class before the rough start to the season.

For now, it appears that prospects like Rivals100 commit Dorin Dickerson, even though receiving calls to sway his commitment, has stayed solid.

"Pitt, Ohio State, and Michigan called, but I'm not really considering anyone but Pitt," Dickerson, the nation's No. 81 overall prospect, said. "I want to stay close to home and I really like the coaching staff.

"Pitt has some work to do but they'll be fine."

Another Panthers commit, quarterback Dexter Davidson of Coconut Creek (Fla.) is already showing leadership - leadership one would want in a future quarterback.

"I told coach Cavanaugh that Rome wasn't built in a day," Davidson said. "My dad liked the city and I thought it was great and the people were great too."

Even with the start, top recruits that have yet to commit are still planning on coming in for a visit. Clermont (Fla.) East Ridge wide receiver Richard Jackson is considered a heavy lean Notre Dame, yet the 6-foot-2, 195-pound four-star Rivals250 member is still talking about Pittsburgh after his visit on Sept. 3.

Perhaps that could be because he got to see the Irish rout the Panthers, 42-21, but you never know.

Four-star cornerback Aaron Berry is an in-state prospect that many believe to be still very interested in Pittsburgh because of the school's proximity. Regardless of a win-loss record, it may come down to which school he feels most comfortable at without having to stray to far from his home state.

There have been some wondering if top notch commitments such as running back Kevin Collier, athlete Aaron Smith, and defensive tackle Jason Pinkston will look around after the disappointing start to the season, but there has been nothing reported on that front.

So the future, at least in terms of talent, still looks bright for the Panthers despite the tough start to the season.

Lyons likes chances at West Virginia

The chance for immediate playing time doesn't hurt things when you're recruiting a solid skill position athlete like Pittsburgh (Pa.) Woodland Hills wide receiver Wesley Lyons. That's why he has been favoring the Mountaineers for some time.

"They have told me I can come in and play as a freshman and it's close to home where the atmosphere is great, but we'll see what happens on my official visit," Lyons said.

It will be his first official visit and there are many who believe Lyons will commit to West Virginia during his official visit to Morgantown for the Virginia Tech game in two weeks if all goes well. Others believe that he may decide to visit Ohio State for a second time, his brother goes to OSU and he already visited unofficially, or make a trip to Boston College.

Georgia quarterback takes in Louisville game

Justin Roper of Buford (Ga.), an extremely large quarterback at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, decided it was time for his first official visit this past weekend and came in to watch Louisville dismantle Oregon State, 63-27, at home.

The six-and-a half hour drive from suburban Atlanta appeared to be well worth it as Roper walked away from the game with rave reviews. The No. 64 rated player in the state of Georgia even liked the patience that the coaches gave him with his final decision as he mulls over several other offers.

"They asked me what my time frame was I told them I want to wait a little bit and take some other visits first before I decide," Roper said. "Then I asked them what their time frame was and they said they would wait on me."

Could this be one of the last visits before his season ends? Roper's busy schedule may give Louisville some time to really sink in before he takes in another game.

It appears by Roper describing his visit as "awesome" should put Louisville in somewhat of a lead early on looking at what has been indicated.

UConn chasing key targets

One commitment is in the books for Connecticut, but the Huskies still are going after a very impressive list of targets. It appears that Jacksonville (Fla.) Wolfson defensive end Rodney Gnat may be favoring Central Florida and Louisville first and foremost, but there is another key to the equation that would help a northeastern school like Connecticut.

Some of Gnat's family is in Pennsylvania and New York so leaving the state of Florida to play football is not a problem. Considering Storrs, Conn., is closer to those states than Orland or Louisville, one would think that the Huskies have a solid shot.

The UConn coaching staff has also been heavily pursuing Gnat, considered by some recruiting analysts to be a big-time sleeper, from day one and it appears that interest is working. Those two things combined could help push UConn into the drivers' seat late in the process with continued attention.

Rivals100 linebacker Jeremiha Hunter has UConn and Michigan in the lead. It appears that something about the Huskies has him very intrigued. One thing that sources indicate is big with Hunter is playing time and that is one main reason that the four-star linebacker has UConn high on his list.

Three-star athlete Jamie Nixon is very interested in Connecticut because his brother is a sophomore wide receiver for the Huskies and his other brother plays for Maine. That closeness to family could place UConn ahead of other distant programs that have offered.

More Recruiting Blitzes:
ACC: Tigers on the rise
SEC: Big weekend for Gators
Pac-10: Bruins rolling along
Big Ten: Irish stockpiling talent
Big 12: Texas wins early battles

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