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Pennsylvania Athlete Terrell Chestnut Picks Pitt | July

The class of 2011 just keeps getting better and better.  This afternoon, highly-touted Pottsville, PA athlete Terrell Chestnut decided to become the newest addition of a pretty good looking recruiting class for the Panthers.  Rivals.com ranks him as the 6th best prospect in Pennsylvania (right behind his new teammate Jameel at #5) and gives him a four-star ranking.  ESPN has him as a three-star, 78. Terrell has been a standout for Pottsville as early as his freshman year and two months ago, he received a nomination to play in the prestigious Army All-American game.

His athletic achievements are all the more impressive when viewed through the prism of a life full of challenges:

The talented, versatile prospect had a rough childhood. He watched his older brother, Don, die of an asthma attack when he was 10 years old. He also bounced from foster home to foster home and struggled in school. Yet through an unshakable support structure that included his grandmother, key faculty and staff members and numerous football coaches, Chestnut has developed into an excellent prospect that's a lock to play major college football and a high-quality individual that's on track to being a success in life. "[Chestnut] is not only a great athlete," Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker said. "He's a great person as well. The other kids really gravitate toward him, and he's one of the leaders in the school."

Even more impressive, Terrell earned a 3.5 GPA last year.

Although he's likely a defensive player for Pitt, it's been his offensive play that gets him noticed:

The Falcons opened with a big target on their collective back because they were the defending PAC-10 (Pioneer Athletic Conference) champions, of course, and because they were popping up in virtually ever preseason state ranking. And right smack in the middle of that target - the bull's-eye - was Chestnut. "There's no question a lot of people felt if they could stop (Chestnut) they could stop us," Pennypacker said. Problem is, few could … at least for an entire game. "I felt the pressure," Chestnut admitted. "But pressure is part of the game. I'm out there to win football games, so I know I can't slack off. I knew everyone was out to beat us, that everyone came at us with their best game. That means you have to give it your best every play of every game."

If his play can match his attitude, Pitt may have landed a future captain:

"The greatest thing about Terrell is that I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about him," Pennypacker said. "He's great with his teammates, with his coaches, with other students, with all the teachers. "Terrell is a great teammate, a great ambassador of Pottsgrove football … for our entire school district. Terrell Chestnuts just don't come around too often."

You're an ambassador for the University of Pittsburgh now, Terrell.  Welcome.