Ohio State had the most recruits in the game with eight, but Pitt and Penn State came in second with six recruits each. West Virginia followed with five recruits in the game. Panther fans have a lot to look forward to as several future Panthers had strong showings.
The Ohio team overmatched the PA team with a strong passing game that several Pittsburgh offensive line recruits played a big part in. Ohio's lines on both sides of the ball were dominant. Ohio Quarterback Ben Mauk was named team MVP after running the spread offense to perfection. He had all day to throw, thanks in large part to Pitt offensive line recruits Zach Slates, Mike McGlynn, and Mike DeLuca. Slates and McGlynn were named starters, and all three were impressive in both their pass and run blocking duties.
Slates struggled with his shotgun snaps, but that was because his high school team ran the Wing-T offense and he had never done that type of snapping before. Zach's pass blocking was outstanding and that is the area that most young offensive lineman struggle with the most. McGlynn and DeLuca also served notice with their outstanding line play and all three look to make their mark in the near future for the Panthers.
Speedy Windell Brown, who started at cornerback, also had a fine showing. He showed his coverage skills with an interception on a deep pass in the second half. Brown showed a physical side as well by making a nice hit over the middle in the second half. On kickoff returns, Brown’s all-around athletic ability and quickness were impressive with his slashing running style.
Defensive end Kyle Smith and linebacker Mark Yezovich also were named starters for the PA team. Both have the potential to make an impact during their Panther careers. Mark played linebacker in the All-Star game, but will play fullback at Pitt. Mark's hardnosed style should be a perfect fit for the fullback position. Kyle Smith showed nice quickness off the ball and runs very well for a big defensive end.
The game served as a nice showcase for the Panther program, both past and present. Dan Marino was this year's Honorary Chairman and was featured at halftime. His Pitt helmet was proudly displayed in a showcase. Current Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko was also featured as a guest commentator during the game.
It wasn’t that long ago when Pitt had very few recruits selected to play in the Big 33 game, and the ones that were barely saw any playing time. This game was just another measure of just how far the Panther program has come along during the Walt Harris era.