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Anxiety builds over recruiting | January

With Chryst and Bostad's reputation for developing offensive linemen and Pitt's need at the position, it seemed pretty plausable that they would be looking to gain some commitments from some big boys before signing day. One such get was supposed to be JJ Denman, the 4-star PA lineman who originally committed to Penn State and then Wisconsin. Being that Pitt hired away Wisconsin's offensive coordinator and his position coach, things seemingly looked good for the Panthers.

No such luck, as Denman committed to Rutgers last night. (via Philadelphia Inquirer):

Six assistants have left Wisconsin boss Bret Bielema's staff in the last few weeks, including offensive line coach Bob Bostad. Bostad departed to become offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh, but could wind up as the offensive line coach for the NFL's Chicago Bears.

"I just don't feel like I have a relationship with any of the guys there now," said Denman, a four-star recruit ranked 17th among offensive tackles in the Class of 2012 by Scout.com.

Of the Rutgers staff, the 18-year-old said, "I've known them for a long time. I'm real close with the guy who recruited me [tight ends coach Brian Angelichio.]"

So that's three Pennsylvania offensive lineman who are now going to Rutgers (4-star Chris Mueller and 3-star Brandon Arcidiacono). Disappointing to say the least.

Pitt has received just one commitment since Paul Chryst took the reigns of the Panthers program, and that was to local linebacker Mike Caprara, a player who had no other offers. Obviously, Chryst is in a tough situation - keeping the current class basically intact is an accomplishment in and of itself - but there's a certain level of disappointment that the past month has been as unproductive as it has seemingly has been.

The Bostad-to-Bears rumors seemingly haven't helped matters (as if Pitt needed more instability), but there has to be more than that.

With signing day a week away, Pitt has some ground to make up.

And now the good news, local tight end prospect JP Holtz will announce his decision during the 6:00 KDKA evening news on Wednesday. It's between Pitt and Michigan State. Paul Zeise thinks it will be Pitt. A good player in an area of dire need. Here's hoping.