18 August 2010
More good news today on the recruiting front as 4-star athlete Kyshoen Jarrett committed to the Panthers and PittBlather has you covered on the instant reaction. Jarrett, likely a defensive back, got me thinking about Pitt's future secondary. Of course, stars don't necessarily mean production at any position (see Wright, Aundre and Smith, Aaron for examples), but Dave Wannstedt is accumulating something he hasn't had in his tenure as head coach: depth. The secondary is just one example. There, Pitt's currently a work in progress to say the least, but they have talent coming through the pipe in RS freshman Jason Hendricks, true freshmen K-Wuan Williams and Brandon Ifill, as well as new recruits LaFayette Pitts, Terrell Chestnut and now Kyshoen Jarrett. Now, will all these guys pan out? Doubtful. But there's also an equal chance that some unheralded player can come in and make a difference. It was just a few short years ago that many freshmen were supposed to come into camp and immediately contribute - not because they surprised anyone, but rather because they were the better of some mediocre options.
It's not just the secondary. Quarterback looks to be set for the foreseeable future with three years of eligibility left for Sunseri and five for the winner of the Mark Myers / Anthony Gonzalez battle. The all-freshmen defensive line was looking like a mid-major line 4 days after stepping onto campus (that doesn't even include RS freshman Tyrone Ezell). Losing Baldwin next year will hurt, but the blow is expected to be softened by Devin Street and Todd Thomas. And let's not even start with running back.
Sure there are still holes (no heir apparent to Pinkston/Nix at tackle, uncertainty at linebacker), but the program is leaps and bounds better than it was just five years ago. To me, this is what Wannstedt was brought in to do - to build a program. After his time in the NFL, Pitt was the logical place for him to ride out into the sunset. The administration knows he's not bolting for a couple extra bucks or act as if he's bigger than Pitt. He has administration's support and, more importantly, he seems to want to end his career doing something important where he buckled up his own chin-strap. Pitt isn't a top along the way in his coaching journey - it's the destination. Who knows if this is the year that Pitt atually does something on the national stage, but if Wanny were to retire tomorrow, he would be leaving the program in a hell of a lot better shape then when he found it.
If this seems overly optimistic, maybe it is. But I'm in my late twenties and I've never had the opportunity to be truly optimistic about the future of Pitt football. And for that, Wannstedt deserves a lot of credit.
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