Pitt held a prospect camp on the South Side over the weekend and so far, it's yielded at least one new commitment. Meet Tony Harper, Pitt's "H-back" commitment who doesn't really play offense (via the Trib):
“Coach Rudolph is real confident in me,” Harper said. “He said he thought I could get it done. I just loved working with him.”
Harper, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, was a playmaker on defense last season for St. John’s, with 64 tackles, five pass breakups, four tackles for a loss and two interceptions.
He’s looking forward to switching positions at Pitt.
“I could have played more offense (last season), but our coach said they needed me on the field on defense,” said Harper, who’s rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com. “This season, I’ll get to play offense. I think I can do it.”
While the Trib calls Harper Pitt's third tight end in the five man class, there's likely only one. Orndoff will be a tight end, but Jaymar Parrish is likely a tight end. Plus, the H-back position for Wisconsin, while similar to tight end in someways, was a separate position.
With fantastic size, Harper is a medium risk / high reward type io player. While he's not an overly experienced offensive player, he did play offense before last year. And it's not like there's a shortage of places for 6'4", 200+ lbs athletes (via):
Highlights after the jump (sophomore year).
Hail to Pitt!no comments
RUSHEL SHELL IS REALLY GOOD, REALLY. His numbers say that he is the best running back in the history of Pennsylvania. But is he the best athlete to come out of Western PA? The Beaver County Times talks about their Co-Athlete of the Year.
HAS EXPANSIOPOCOLYPSE COME TO AN END? It sounds that way, after Florida State made up their entire budget deficit, in part by receiving an additional $1.6m from the ACC that they were not expecting. Hmm...
PUSH THE CIRCLE BUTTON. EA Sports released their team ratings for NCAA '13. The Panthers come in 58th overall with a team rating of 85. Their offensive value is an 89, good enough to tie for 24th. Their defense, however, ties West Virginia at 77th with a value of 76.
THE BIG EAST/ACC YEAR IN REVIEW. If you read this blog, then you already know everything that happened this past year involving Pitt, Syracuse, the BIG EAST, and the ACC. The Syracuse SNY blog decided to put together a nice recap if you need a nice little refresher.
BECAUSE I NEED TO FILL SPACE. If you are like me, you hate this song but can't get it out of your head. So I present to you Jimmy Fallon, Carly Rae Jepsen, the Roots, and a bunch of elementary school music class instruments...you can thank me later.
KDKA's Bob Pompeani took Steven Adams on a tour of Pittsburgh. Of course, they went to Primanti Brothers' and had a sandwich. No word yet on whether his listed weight of 240 is being adjusted accordingly.no comments
JAMIE DIXON'S GOT TALENT. I'm sure Coach Dixon has plenty of talents (like yo-yoing or maybe he makes a mean guacamole), but it's the talent of the incoming class that has everyone's attention. Today, James Robinson was named to the USA Men's U18 National Team.
According to @paulbiancardi, Pitt 4-star guard James Robinson has made the USA Under 18 team. Dixon is adding some serious talent this year— mike vukovcan (@mikevukkdka) June 8, 2012
ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER. Atleast that's how
ESPN SB Nation is portrating Robert Foster's Top 7 schools he tweeted yesterday. Despite many recruitniks considering Pitt one of the top candidates to land Foster, SB Nation glossed over the Panthers, not even linking to their SB Nation team site.
PERHAPS A BASEBALL ANALOGY IN PITTSBURGH ISN'T THE SMARTEST IDEA. ESPN's BIG EAST Blogger is doing a series called "Home Run Summer", naming a player for each team that really needs to "knock it out of the park with their preparations for the start of training camp in August." Her player for Pitt is...Tino Sunseri. Here's a tip Tino, just watch the last quarter of the WVU game, that pretty much encompassed your entire season.
WHAT IN TARNATION (PUN INTENDED) IS A "RAYCOM"? Remember the name Raycom, fellow Pittsburghers...it is a name you will learn to know in the ACC. Raycom is essentially the ACC TV Network, broadcasting on local channels in the teams' respective markets. Many proponents for the FSU/Clemson move to the Big XII cite the ACC's relationship with Raycom as part of the reason. ACCSports.com says that isn't the case at all.
THIS WEEK IN "SH*T TODD GRAHAM SAYS." As many have said, if Todd Graham would simply shut his mouth, much of this would go away. Instead he keeps talking to the national media about Pitt, trying to "clear things up." This time, it's Sports Illustrated. I'm sorry, but I've begun lose respect for writers who continue to push Graham's "it was a bad fit" and "I did it for my family" messages without offering up any additional content.no comments
This afternoon, NBC released it's schedule for nationally broadcast football games this fall. The only item of interest to us is that Pitt's game in South Bend on Movember 3th will be a 3:30pm kickoff as almost all Notre Dame home games are. I'm just thankful that Indiana has adopted Daylight Savings Time. Previously, Indiana did not change their clocks, so some of the 3:30pm kickoffs there were 2:30 eastern...and that just throws off your entire football watching schedule.
The BIG EAST and ESPN also released a slate of 68 games. Game times for Virginia tech, Gardner-Webb, and Buffalo were included. The updated Pitt schedule is as follows:
|Sept. 1||Youngstown State (ESPN3)||6 p.m.|
|Sept. 6 (Thurs.)||@ Cincinnati* (ESPN)||8 p.m.|
|Sept. 15||Virginia Tech (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU)||Noon|
|Sept. 22||Gardner-Webb (ESPN3)||3:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 5 (Fri.)||@ Syracuse* (ESPN)||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 20||@ Buffalo (Big East Network)||3:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 3||@ Notre Dame (NBC)||3:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 9 (Fri.)||@ Connecticut* (ESPN2)||8 p.m.|
|Dec. 1||@ South Florida* (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2)||TBA|
Biggest home game of the year, it's on a day where the Pirates are on the road, and it's a Noon kickoff. Color me surprised. That will also likely rule out ESPN GameDay making a visit (wishful thinking, I know.)
STICK THIS IN YOUR TAIL PIPE! Former Pitt offensive lineman Rueben Brown was on The Fan Morning Show yesterday saying “There are many who would like to put a banana in his tail pipe.” You can listen to the entire interview there.
I AM SO ALL ABOUT ULTIMATE FRISBEE. Last week, the Pitt Ultimate Frisbee team claimed it's first national championship. Stories like this need to get more publicity.
HIGH OCTANE AND THE HEISMAN TROPHY. Fellow Bloguin blog Crystal Ball Run has a rundown of contenders and pretenders for this season's Heisman Trophy. Ray Graham made the list, but his chances are being negatively impacted by the Todd Graham fiasco and injury.
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS STEVEN ADAMS? Apparently he is on a tour of Pittsburgh with KDKA's Bob Pompiani. You can check it out tonight on the KDKA news at 6:45pm.
(No idea who to credit for this picture, but it's fantastic)
ESPN decided to rank each conference in terms of best to worst coaching jobs. Hey, it's a long, long offseason. In the Big East, Pitt comes in fifth (via ESPN):
5. Pittsburgh: With one of the toughest home gyms in the country, the Panthers have built a reputation of blue-collar success. There is football money to cull from, but hoops does pretty well on its own merits thanks to a string of savvy hires.
Ahead of Pitt is Syracuse, Louisville, UConn and Georgetown. No real surprises there. But I was surprised that Pitt was ahead of Villanova, only because of Nova's location in a recruiting hotbed.
I do wonder how each team would fair in the ACC rankings, which predictably have UNC and Duke at the top, but then Maryland at three and NC State at four. My guess is they'd put Syracuse at three and Pitt at either four or five, depending on how much they value Maryland's recruiting location and somewhat recent success. Either way, Pitt should be above NC State.
Also of interest, Penn State is last among the twelve B1G members, WVU is fourth in the ten team Big 12 and Duquese is 14th in the 16 team A-10. Seems a little high for WVU, but see what happens when you get to a Final Four?
As ESPN writes, a big part of Pitt's success has to be attributed to the Oakland Zoo, which has made the Pete one of the toughest places to play in America. The Pitt News profiled the Zoo and it's accomplishments, including Pitt's 9-0 record against top-5 teams at home. Not to mention this amusing antidote about WVU's Joe Mazzulla (via Pitt News):
An hour before a February 2011 home game between the Pitt men’s basketball team and its Backyard Brawl rival, West Virginia, a Pitt student dressed in a gold shirt, navy gym shorts, high white socks and a headband stood behind a row of courtside seats. He intently watched the Mountaineers’ warm ups.
He paraded a mock-up of Joe Mazzulla’s mug shot and shouted Mazzulla’s name in an attempt to taunt him. Much to the student’s surprise, the West Virginia guard, who has had several run-ins with police, came over, signed the mug shot and then resumed his warm up. Both walked away with a grin.
See, WVU fans, sports can be fun even without throwing things at the players. Go read the whole piece.
And speaking of the Zoo, you have to be excited to read this (via Twitter):
THE ACC WILL MAKE US ALL SMARTER. Brian over at BC Interruption posted a good piece today on the academic side of switching conferences. Citing a recent study, Universities that have switched conferences from 2004 until 2011 have received an academic boost.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, GILBERT BROWN? OH, THERE YOU ARE. Brian Batko of Panther Sports Network (and this blog) has a piece in today's Post-Gazette on Gilbert Brown's first year as a professional player.
SUMMER, SUMMER, SUMMERTIME. NO LONGER TIME TO SIT BACK AND UNWIND. It took 10 years, but the NCAA has finally changed the rule that had prohibited coaches from working with basketball players during the summer. Jamie Dixon believes this rule change is a good thing.
NON-BOUNTY RELATED SAINTS NEWS. The Saints took a change on an injured Greg Romeus in the 2011 draft. Now that he is finally healthy, Romeus is trying to prove that it was a chance worth taking.
WE WERE JUST BLUFFING, WE WILL GO TO FAYETTEVILLE. Last week, Syracuse threatened to to play their scheduled game at Arkansas for the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge because they were "over-committed". This week, that is no longer the case and have agreed to head down to Fayetteville.
FRATERNIZING WITH THE ENEMY. OK, the Steelers are not the enemy, but Todd Graham certainly thought they were. Dejan Kovacevic said that Paul Chryst has restored order to the shared South Side facilities and encourages interaction between the two teams. Here the team is watching Steelers' OTAs after practice last week.
RED SOLO CUP, I FILL YOU UP, TO YOUR DESIGNATED MEASUREMENTS. Pitt's Department of Student Affairs informs us that the lines on Solo cups are actually predetermined measurements for mixing drinks. Mind = Blown.
SHREVEPORT, LA > BIRMINGHAM, AL. The SEC has replaced the MWC in the Independence Bowl, pitting the 10th SEC team against the 7th ACC team. The 10th team in the SEC last season would have been Mississippi State, Kentucky, or Vanderbilt. So picture the BBVA Compass Bowl in a different state.
THE B1G TEN THINKS THE BCS IS AWESOME, YOU GUYS. With all of the talk if implementing a Top Four playoff system in college football, everyone thought it was just a matter of selecting a format for said playoff...until
some old guy the Nebraska Chancellor said that the B1G Ten Presidents would prefer the status quo.
MOVING ON UP, TO FEDERAL COURT. Pitt's lawsuit against the BIG EAST conference has been moved from the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to U.S. District Court. Ron Cook probably thinks that by doing so will blow it out of proportion and would be considered whining.
LARRY FITZGERALD WAS THE DUDE. ESPN's BIG EAST Blog talks about the greatest individual seasons in the history of the conference. Larry Fitzgerald's 2003 season comes in at #2. Pat White's 2007 season came in at #5. I bet that would have been higher had it not been for this:
FUN WITH RANKINGS. Why are sports writers in Oklahoma writing about the BIG EAST? No idea. For some reason, they decided to rank the BIG EAST teams' non-conference schedules. Pitt came out a lot better than anticipated.
LIKE A GLOVE. Athlon Sports discusses the move of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC and while some speculate that the conference should be having second thoughts, the move was more about "a good fit" than anything else.no comments
Yes, the title of this post was intentional. I've always wanted to get a semi-regular post going like this. The problem is I've never been able to come up with a good name for it. Suggestions are more than welcome.
DOES PAUL CHRYST KNOW HOW TO RUN AN OFFENSE? The fellas over at the Wisconsin Scout board, BadgerNation.com, offered up a thread on the effectiveness of Paul Chryst as their Russel Wilson Directorship of Offense Offensive Coordinator. Mostly a fairly civil thread, although be warned, there is some use of Comic Sans in some of the posts.
HUBIE GRAHAM IS DOING SOME GOOD IN THE OFFSEASON. The Scranton Times has a good article about Hubie Graham and over a dozen other Pitt athletes visiting a Haitien orphanage earlier this month. Graham says it was a very eye-opening experience.
RON COOK THINK PITT NEEDS TO TAKE A CHILL PILL. I'm willing to bet that Ron Cook would still use a phrase like "chill pill." Cook believes that Pitt shouldn't expect any favors from the BIG EAST and he believes their lawsuit against their soon-to-be former conference is frivolous.
Pitt is suing, in part, because of lost revenue from West Virginia and Texas Christian leaving the Big East after it and Syracuse started the collapse of the conference. Beyond that, there was no way that the Big East was going to keep Pitt in its league through the 2013-14 year.
Cook neglects to mention that a reason for the lawsuit was because the BIG EAST refused to talk to Pitt about making such a split official. I guess it makes a better article if he doesn't discuss that point.
THROW THE BALL, TINO. MY GOD, GET RID OF THE BALL. Bill Connelly over at SB Nation released his Pitt Panthers 2012 preview this morning. He gives an in-depth look at this year's offense and defense while offering up his prognostication for the season.
A GAME-CHANGER CAN BE BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE. Also over at SB Nation: Pittsburgh, Pat O'Mahony discusses the potential offensive game changers for the 2012 season, both positive and negative. I bet you will never guess who may have a negative impact on winning?
JOHN SWOFFORD LEARNS FSU AND CLEMSON ARE LEAVING THE ACC. OK, they really aren't leaving, but if they were, I would imagine his reaction to be something like this.