Fla. RB Jason Douglas Pitt's 14th Recruit

Cypress Bay, Fla. HS tailback Jason Douglas

Spots are filling up quickly in the Pitt football team's 2009 recruiting class, and the Panthers added No. 14 when running back Jason Douglas gave them a verbal commitment after he attended the Louisville game on an official visit this past weekend.

Jason Douglas, nearly 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, is from Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fla. That's the same school that current Pittsburgh redshirt freshman cornerback Buddy Jackson attended.

Mike Bakas, a recruiting analyst who covers Florida for Scout.com, has seen Douglas play and gave a scouting report on him.

"He's a real small kid, but he can definitely run,'' Bakas said. "And he's a great athlete. He can jump out of the gym. He's really not going to be able to pound people between the tackles on a regular basis, but he is just so explosive. When he hits the hole, he can get to the secondary before anybody sees him.''

Bakas believed that his size is what has held his ranking down to a two-star from Scout.com, but Douglas outperformed five-star Ohio State commit Jaamal Berry from Palmetto High School in Miami at several combines and certainly has run faster more often than him. Berry was timed in 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Miami Combine, while Douglas was at 4.47 there.

"I would say that Douglas plays a lot faster than Berry, although Berry is about five inches taller and 40 pounds heavier,'' Bakas noted. "But Douglas will be great for Pitt as a return guy and slot receiver. The key with him, obviously, is to get him the ball in the open field. He might not break a lot of tackles, but he'll make a lot of people miss. He's made a lot of people look stupid trying to tackle him.''

Cypress Bay is a large Class 6-A school and among the best in South Florida, so Douglas plays for and against the top competition in the state. And that can't be discounted, either. The Lightning is 8-1 this year with the only loss in midseason to Kelly, Texas. Douglas leads Cypress Bay with 687 yards rushing, 6.4 yards per carry, and eight touchdowns. He also has one catch for 10 yards, but the Lightning primarily is a running team.

Douglas is a dynamic returner as well with a 99-yard kickoff return this season and several long runbacks after receiving punts. Pitt certainly will use him in the return game, as well as a slot back and receiver. The Panthers even could split him out. The all-purpose back is that versatile, and he liked Pitt from the outset.

"He has some friends up there, and Pitt does a nice job recruiting Florida,'' Bakas said. "Pitt certainly was his best offer, too, but they really do well with the second-tier kids. The ones that are a little more under the radar, for whatever reason, and Douglas is that type of kid.

"It's good to see that Pitt has remained a player down here after Charlie Partridge and Aubrey Hill left. It seems like Joe Tumpkin has some good connections here. It's really not a surprise that Douglas committed to Pitt, because he was very excited when they offered in the spring.''

Some believed that Pitt had running back Greg Pratt from Naples, Fla. High School as more of a priority than Douglas, but Bakas believed it was close.

"The Pratt kid probably is a little bigger, but he's not quite as fast or as explosive as Jason Douglas,'' Bakas said. "And Douglas might be a little better prospect, even though I believe Pratt is rated higher (three-star ranking, while Douglas is a two).''

Along with Pitt, Douglas reportedly had offers from Central Michigan, Florida International, Kansas State, Northern Illinois, Troy and Vanderbilt. There also was some interest from Florida, Louisville, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Douglas joins wideout Todd Thomas from Beaver Falls, Pa. High School; tight end Brock DeCicco from Thomas Jefferson HS in Jefferson Hills, Pa.; running back Raymond Graham from Elizabeth, N.J. HS; defensive ends Will Clarke from Taylor Allderdice HS in Pittsburgh and Tyrone Ezell from Steel Valley HS in Munhall, Pa.; safety Carl Fleming from Franklin HS in Reistertown, Md.; running back Kevin Adams from St. Joseph Regional HS in Montvale, N.J.; OG Fernando Diaz from Cardinal Hayes HS in the Bronx, N.Y.; wide receiver Devin Street from Liberty HS in Bethlehem, Pa.; defensive end Jack Lippert from Central Dauphin HS in Harrisburg, Pa.; offensive tackle Juantez Hollins from Aliquippa, Pa. HS; running back Dion Lewis from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J.; and offensive tackle Cory King from Lakeview HS in Stoneboro, Pa. in Pitt's 2009 class.

Here are some Douglas highlights.

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=Syj0DYOJEC0&feature=related

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