Can't think of a creative lede. What a gut punch (via Philly.com):
Dorian Johnson became the 12th member of the Nittany Lions' recruiting class for 2013, according to recruiting websites.
Johnson, from Belle Vernon, Pa., has been on campus many times, but visited with his family this weekend. He planned to stay close to home and chose Penn State over Pittsburgh. He lives about three hours from State College.
Among his other offers were Alabama, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.
Just absolutely brutal for Pitt. Either a four- or five-star offensive line prospect depending on your preference on recruiting services. Because he picked Penn State, he'll hereby be referred to as a four-star - I'm sure he's devastated.
There's really no way to understate how bad this loss is for Pitt. Here's a local, elite guy at a position of tremendous need that the staff just happens to be known for developing into NFL first round picks. Pitt signed just one lineman each of the last two classes and currently only has one on board for 2013. The Panthers had reportedly been in the lead and many observers are shocked that he didn't pull the trigger for Pitt.
And that it happened this weekend hurts just a little more (via the Trib):
“(The Sandusky case) didn’t have anything to do with my decision at all,” Johnson said. “I like that the new staff and the football program is going in a new direction.”
Johnson said he ultimately picked Penn State over Pitt, which he visited a dozen times, despite a strong relationship with Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, a Belle Vernon alum.
“I was comfortable with both schools and their coaching staffs,” Johnson said. “I like Penn State’s campus and felt like I would get a good education. You’re playing big-time football.”
Oof. I don't think he meant anything by the "big-time football" comment, but that certainly twists the dagger in the psyche of Pitt fans.
That being said, this is no time to panic. Pitt's had the worst two years or so in recent memory, of course there were going to be repercussions. Having roughly 30 head coaches in 30 months doesn't really lend itself to the relationship building necessary for effective recruiting.
After the surprise commitment of Corey Clement, there was a lot to feel good about in Pitt recruiting. Pitt had just snagged a very good running back, four-star QB Tra'Von Chapman seemed like a lock and Dorian Johnson seemed to be all but signed.
Amazing how things change in one weekend.no comments
The parade of people who really couldn't stand Todd Graham just won't end. The Rice marching band figurative incinerated him. The the Steelers organization was appalled by the way he treated people. The local media seemed to relish the national attention on his hypocrisy. And now, add local high school coaches to that list (via the PG):
[Thomas Jefferson Coach Bill] Cherpak said new coach Paul Chryst and his staff have done a great job reconnecting and putting out the welcome mat.
"We didn't come to this camp last year for obvious reasons," Cherpak said, referring to departed coach Todd Graham. "[Pitt director of operations] Chris LaSala does an amazing job of setting this up and organizing it, and the staff now makes us all feel so welcome.
"It was like a second home, and it is starting to get back to that way after the disaster from last year. This staff has made a place where people are going to love coming down here and being here. And Chryst has made it clear he wants [high school coaches] to be a part of things and give him input again. So it is a welcome change."
The whole debacle is really looking better and better for Pitt.no comments
COLLEGE FOOTBALL COUNTDOWN! The Orlando Sentinel is ranking all 120 FBS schools. Today, Pitt comes in at #53 (9 ahead of Arizona State, I'm just sayin').
ASHTON GIBBS DOIN' WORK. The NBA Draft is five days away, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are bringing in Ashton Gibbs for a workout.
SHOW ME THE MONEY! The recently arrested suspect in the Pitt "Anonymous" Video case is claiming that he has no idea why he is being charged and has no connection to Pitt. There is someone attending WVU with the same name as the accused, but it is not the same guy. To post a YouTube video would require a better internet connection than is available in West Virginia (28.8bps AOL dial-up)
FBSWA4TP (FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION WITH A FOUR TEAM PLAYOFF). Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports offers up a Q&A on how it is looking like the new four team playoff system will work.
EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM IS NOW DUMBER FOR HAVING LISTENED TO IT. Today's award for "The Dumbest Thing Written On The Internet" goes to a correspondent at Bleacher Report (shocking, I know!) that claims the ACC needs to invite UCONN and Rutgers for stability (at least he didn't turn it into a slideshow). My response:
The NCAA's Academic Progress Report (APR) scores were released yesterday and Pitt athletics has nothing to worry about. In particular, men's basketball and football have nothing to worry about.
Men's basketball was specially recognized as being in the top ten percent of programs, while UConn basketball is officially banned from the 2013 post-season (Big East Tournament and NCAAs). Notre Dame was the only other Big East program to earn the recognition.
As for football, the results were still positive, just not as much so as spectacular as basketball. Here's how Big East football stacks up (via ESPN):
- Rutgers: 982
- UConn: 963
- USF: 963
- Pitt: 955
- West Virginia: 953
- Syracuse: 950
- Cincinnati: 939
- Louisville: 911
The average for football is 948.
Good for Pitt and good for Jamie Dixon especially. Also deserving of recognition is Mike Farabaugh, Pitt Athletic's Director of Academic Support Services, his staff and Steve Pederson.no comments
THE FIGHTING WANNSTACHES OF BUFFALO. First it was Scott McKillop. Now it appears that Dorin Dickerson has a shot at making the Bills roster. No word on how many years it will take Dave Wannstedt to find a useful position for him.
ARREST MADE IN POORLY MADE YOUTUBE VIDEO CASE. Police have arrested an Ohio man for making a poor knockoff of the "Anonymous" videos in which he threatened the University by claiming to have stolen personal data.
IT MUST BE SUBSCRIPTION RENEWAL TIME AGAIN. Chip Brown of Texas' Rivals.com site OrangeBloods.com writes that Notre Dame will join the Big XII in all sports besides football, but will schedule half their football games against Big XII teams. Riiiiight.
PLAYOFFS? YOU KIDDING ME? PLAYOFFS? It sounds like the conference commissioners have spoken and are endorsing a four team playoff model, consisting of the top four teams chosen by a committee with additional weight given to conference champions. Do you really thing John Swofford would be this calm, collected, and endorsing this format if he was worried of FSU and Clemson leaving?
LATEST IN FATHEAD TECHNOLOGY. The WVU messageboard "We Must Ignite This Couch" has a thread for photoshoping the best Tino Sunseri Fatheads. Here's my favorite:
It was a bit of a forgone conclusion, but James Robinson and Team USA won the gold medal last night over host Brazil. Robinson had six points (3-4) and six assists in the win. While his point total for the tournament is low, Robinson excelled at getting the ball to the team's star scorers, Jarnell Stokes and Julius Randle. The points he had, however, came at a crucial time (via):
Brazil pulled to within five, 18-13, but James Robinson (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Mitchellville, Md.) drove down the middle twice for layups, and Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit College Prep/Houston, Texas) converted a steal into a layup in the quarter’s final seconds to push the U.S. advantage to 24-16 after one quarter of action.
Ashton Gibbs had a similar experience in New Zealand playing for Team USA. Hopefully the comparisons don't stop there.
Congratulation to James.no comments
BUILDING THAT FENCE. KDKA Sports talks about the new crop of WPIAL stars and how Pitt will benefit from this. Plus, they reference our "work" twice!
SHELL COMES TO OAKLAND. This Sunday, Rushel Shell reports to Pitt to begin summer workouts. Hopefully this is the beginning of a great era.
THE TREY ZEIGLER EFFECT. Apparently Trey Zeigler's waiver to play immediately is having a ripple effect throughout the NCAA.
I SEE PRIDE, I SEE POWER! Remember those hideous "Maryland Pride" uniforms the Terps wore in football? Well, Pitt's permanent rival in the ACC is bringing the pride to the hardwood.
KEEP DRINKING THE KOOL-AID ASU FANS. Because it's a slow news week, I feel like throwing a few shots across Arizona State's bow today. Support in Tempe continues to grow! It's not whether he wins or loses (it's if he sticks it out for a 2nd year.) Toddy wants to shake hands with 74,000 ASU fans before the first game.
It's the offseason and we're all bored. The from the buzzer in New Orleans until kickoff August 30 in Nashville, it's a long, long offseason in NCAA major revenue sports. And that boredom can - and often does - lead to blowing up small stories into big stories, or taking actual big stories and blowing them up even bigger than they should be. There've been two interconnected "big stories" this spring: conference realignment and a college football playoff. Those are legitimate big stories - but that doesn't excuse rumor-mongoring based off of message boards and anonymous twitter accounts.
There's a third story "big story" that's dominated the coverage lately, and it's of the "bored summer" variety - the notion that somehow the SEC and Big 12 creating a bowl game squeezes out the ACC. I have no idea why this has gotten the coverage it has. The most widely held belief seems to be that somehow this "Champions Bowl" as it's being called now will be some sort of national semi-final. Let's be clear: There is absolutely no way that could happen. The BCS went out of its way to include non-AQs like Utah, Boise and TCU and still was on its way to being labelled anti-competitive by the Justice Department. A postseason exclusive to the B1G/Pac12/Big12/SEC is so blatantly a violation of the rules of the road that no one is even suggesting it except bad sportswriters.
That's what the SEC/Big12 bowl isn't. Here's what it is: It's a fallback in case one or both of the conferences' champions fail to reach the four team playoffs. So if a highly ranked, conference champion Oklahoma loses late and doesn't make the playoffs, it has a great game to fall on, against say, an SEC runner-up Georgia. It's an insurance policy. A good one that will make each conference some extra cash, but that's it. Its creation in no way excludes the ACC. Jumping to the conclusion that so many apparently have is Underpants Gnome Logic.
If the ACC champion is good enough, it will be in the playoff. Just like the Pac12, Big12, B1G, or SEC.no comments
Because of all the attention after the announcement that he was committing to Pitt, I had a rough idea of how Steven Adams was going to play in Greentree. Even though it's against stiffer competition than what he's used to in New Zealand or in the New England Prep scene, Greentree is essentially playground-style basketball. The player I was most interested in hearing about was Trey Zeigler, a guy whose time at Central Michigan is tougher to find footage from than anything Adams did since arriving at Notre Dame Prep this winter.
But in what is surely going to be a recurring theme this offseason, last night was the Steven Adams Show (via the Trib):
Pitt five-star recruit Steven Adams was surprised to see fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the tiny gym at Greentree Sportsplex.
“For real, people standing up?” he said. “What the hell? It shows you how committed they are.”
Adams didn't disappoint. Despite going just 2-for-8 from the field, he added 18 rebounds and reportedly played pretty well on defense against older and more experienced opponents in Dante Taylor and WVU's Pat Forsythe.
Adams seems to be intent on learning as much as he can from Pitt's other big men (via the Post-Gazette):
"Me personally, I don't think I'm doing too well skill-wise," Adams said. "They know a lot of technical things. I still have to learn that. I'm still kind of raw. I used to be able to rely on my size. Now that I'm versing bigger and stronger dudes, I have to get my footwork right. Talib, he's amazing. He's a good player. He's been teaching me. He's a real good team player, too. He's been teaching me all the basic stuff I need to know."
Contrast that to Khem Birch, who infamously cried during practice against Zanna and then left the program and started a public spat with Zanna on Twitter. The comparisons don't stop there (via the PG):
One big difference between Adams and Khem Birch, a freshman everyone wanted to see a year ago, is Adams' physical stature. Since coming to America this winter, he has put on 33 pounds and weighs a solid 248 without any noticeable body fat. Birch came to Pitt frail and stayed that way until he transferred to UNLV midseason.
Adams credits strength and conditioning coach Tim Beltz for his physique. He also has become a solo advertising campaign for some of the local eateries, where he sometimes consumes three meals in a sitting.
Adams' favorite spot is the Fuel and Fuddle in Oakland, where he takes full advantage of late-night, half-price specials. He usually goes for a steak burger, a turkey burger and a small pizza.
"The [workouts] are just so intense I can eat whatever and just run it off," he said.
Adams and Birch are two different players with two different body-types. The comparison may not be completely fair - these are 18 year olds at different levels of their physical development - but pretty valid nonetheless. Adams certainly has the physisque to compete immediately in the Big East, something Birch sorely lacked when he was under the basket.
And three meals at Fuel? I'm speechless with envy. Just make sure he stays away from the beer list.
And hey, in other news, according to the Trib Dante Taylor was told he's going to be putting in some time at power forward. If he can handle the added ball-handling and passing responsibilities, that would give Dixon a solid "big" option behind Talib instead of having to go small with either Moore or Patterson. I'm skeptical it will happen, but if it can, Pitt would be very versatile at both forward positions.
The official stat sheet indicates that other guys actually played last night too. Lamar Patterson scored 24 points for his team in the win, going 4-for-7 from three. Taylor had a 14-and-7 night and redshirt freshman Durand Johnson was not shy shooting the ball, going 6-for-21 (!!!), adding 14 points. I understand it's a summer league and all, but maybe Durand needs to slow it down a little....
And Zeigler? Well the only coverage the much-heralded transfer got was from new Pitt News sports editor RJ Sepich (via Twitter):
I'm excited.no comments
ANDREA ADELSON TAKES A BEATING. You may recall the other day that I mentioned BIG EAST Blogger Andrea Adelson ranked Pitt tied for 4th in football facilities in the eight team conference. Apparently you guys let her know that Pitt fans were none to happy.
THE BIG 33 GAME. The battle between Pennsylvania and Ohio took place this weekend and Urban Meyer, Paul Chryst, Bill O'Brien, and Steve Addazio were all there to take in the sights. Oh yeah, and Ben Roethlisberger?
STABILITY? AT PITT? INCONCEIVABLE! The Erie Times-News talks about how us Pitt fans hope that Paul Chryst can bring stability to the program. It's been so long, I've forgotten what that even is.
"ZOMG, UR AWESOME!!!! COME 2 PITT" -- JAMIE DIXON This past weekend, a new rule went into effect, removing the limit on the number of phone calls, texts, and private messages via social media a D1 college coach can send to athletes that have finished their sophomore year. Rumor is that Jamie Dixon installed Swype so that he can text faster than anyone else.
GREENTREE BEGINS TONIGHT. Steven Adams will be there. Nothing else to be said.
ROADKILL, AT A WEDDING? Sounds like something straight out of Morgantown, doesn't it? Well, this is actually from somewhere in the SEC...and whoever it is, they aren't a fan or Uga or the Georgia Bulldogs.
WELCOME TO THE ACC. You and I both know that this is why Russel Wilson left NC State for Wisconsin.