Signing Day: A Look Back
Greg Romeus
Panther Digest Publisher
Posted Feb 5, 2013


The number of hits and misses is even through the years. Pitt has an interesting track record of a lot of two-star recruits going on to successful Pitt careers.

A look back in history at Pitt's last ten recruiting classes:

2002 (Tyler Palko, Larry Fitzgerald, Luke Getsy)
National Rank: 25
Big Hit:Tie between Palko and Fitzgerald. With Palko, Pitt found a three-year starter that led Pitt to its only BCS appearance in school history, and also the only opposing quarterback to ever throw five touchdowns in a game at Notre Dame. Fitzgerald set virtually every receiving record in two years, and was a Heisman runner-up in 2003.
Big Miss: Seven of the 19 signees either transferred out or were kicked off the team.

2003 (H.B. Blades, Clint Session)
National Rank: 39
Big Hit: Blades and Session played right away as true freshmen, and were a big part of the defense for the next four seasons.
Big Miss: Joe Flacco was a three-star prospect, and ranked the No. 43 quarterback in the country. Of the 42 quarterbacks ranked ahead of him, only one other started a Super Bowl--Aaron Rodgers, the No. 27 quarterback as a JUCO. Flacco finished just ahead of Matt Ryan, the No. 44 quarterback in the nation and starter of the Atlanta Falcons.

2004 (Darrelle Revis, Scott McKillop)
National Rank: 47
Big Hit: Revis was immediately one of the biggest surprises in training camp of 2004, earning a starting job.
Big Miss: The nation's No. 36 corner (Revis) became the NFL's 14th overall pick just three years later. McKillop, the nation's No. 56 linebacker, became Big East Defensive Player of the Year four years later.

2005 (Bill Stull, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Gus Mustakas, Mick Williams)
National Rank: 42
Big Hit: In Dave Wannstedt's first effort, 14 of the 24 starters became starters.
Big Miss: Mick Williams--a three-star prospect, and No. 68 linebacker in the country--earned Co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Gus Mustakas, a two-star defensive lineman, played in 11 games as a true freshman and became a three-year starter.

2006 (Dorin Dickerson, Jason Pinkston, John Malecki, Greg Romeus)
National Rank: 11
Big Hit: The 25-member class produced seven NFL players--five of whom were drafted, including first-rounder Jeff Otah. Six became all-conference players.
Big Miss: Five of the four-stars did not start a game in their Pitt careers. Two-star Greg Romeus, the nation's No. 55 tight end in 2006, became a Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

2007 (LeSean McCoy, Pat Bostick,Dom DeCicco, Jabaal Sheard)
National Rank: 8
Big Hit: LeSean McCoy etched his name in the Pitt record books after just two years. This class produced four all-conference players, and sent eight players to the NFL. Of those eight, only two were drafted. Dom DeCicco and Henry Hynoski played in their rookie seasons with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, with Hynoski winning a Super Bowl as a rookie.
Big Miss: Nine of the 24 players signed either transferred out or left the team.

2008 (Jon Baldwin, Shayne Hale, Lucas Nix, Tino Sunseri)
National Rank: 25
Big Hit:This class produced Pitt's most recent first rounder, Jon Baldwin in 2011. Of the 19 players signed, 14 became starters. Four earned all-conference honors.
Big Miss: Andrew Taglianetti, the nation's No. 114 corner in the class, was one of four true freshmen to play in 2008. He finished his career with six blocked punts--believed to be the most in school history. He played in 52 career games.

2009 (Dion Lewis, Ray Graham, Devin Street)
National Rank: 31
Big Hit: Ray Graham lived up to the four-star billing, earning first-team all-conference honors twice, and finishing his career with 3,271 yards--second only to Tony Dorsett.
Big Miss: The nation's No. 70 running back, Dion Lewis, came in and started ahead of Graham. Like McCoy ahead of him, he placed his name well in the school-record books in just two years, declaring for the NFL after his sophomore year. Devin Street came on board as the nation's No. 110 receiver, and has a legitimate shot to finish his career as Pitt's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.

2010 (K'Waun Williams, Aaron Donald, T.J. Clemmings)
National Rank: 17
Big Hit: Aaron Donald found his way into the defensive line rotation, on a line that included mainstays Greg Romeus, Jabaal Sheard and Brandon Lindsey.
Big Miss: K'Waun Williams was a three-star corner, the No. 100 corner in the country. He was one of three true freshmen to play in 2010, and became a starter by the start of his sophomore year.

2011 (Isaac Bennett, Lafayette Pitts)
National Rank: 47
Big Hit: Just two years after that class was signed, of the 14 players remaining, eight have started a game for Pitt.
Big Miss: Todd Graham got 17 commits in 20 days, but eight of those players transferred or were kicked off the team.

2012 (Rushel Shell, J.P. Holtz, Darryl Render)
National Rank: 40
Big Hit: J.P Holtz and Rushel Shell played a big role in the offense as true freshmen. Shell finished as the team's second-leading rusher in 2012, while Holtz lead all tight ends with 13 receptions, and was fifth overall on the team in receptions.
Big Miss:Too early to tell. The good news is that all signees from the 2012 class are still in the program, and Paul Chryst was able to get by in his first year by redshirting 14 of the 17 freshmen.



Related Stories
Introducing Pitt's Class Of 2013
 -by PantherDigest.com  Feb 5, 2013
Pitt Announces 2013 Signing Class
 -by PantherDigest.com  Feb 6, 2013
Chryst Comments On 2013 Class
 -by PantherDigest.com  Feb 6, 2013

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