Pitt Recruiting Update

WR Shakim Phillips

With preseason training camp in full swing now, recruiting has somewhat been pushed to the back burner for some, but not the Pitt football team.

The Pittsburgh coaches are still pursuing a number of prospects to fill out the remaining spots in the 2010 recruiting class. The Panthers have 17 verbal commitments for next year and can get eight more for the full complement of 25 scholarships for next season.

In a perfect world, Pitt's final eight commitments would include defensive end Sherard Cadogan, Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, N.J., quarterback Anthony Gonzalez, Liberty HS in Bethlehem, Pa.; cornerback Brendon Felder, Gateway HS in Monroeville, Pa.; offensive tackle Shane Johnson, Dematha Catholic HS in Hyattsville, Md.; wideout Shakim Phillips, DePaul Catholic HS in Wayne, N.J.; outside linebacker Manessah Garner, Brashear HS in Pittsburgh; safety Brandon Ifill, Penn Hills HS in Pittsburgh and offensive guard Sal Conaboy, Abington Heights HS in Clarks Summit, Pa.

Here are Pitt's top remaining targets, the other main schools involved with the Panthers and their chances to secure a commitment from them:

Some might believe that Gonzalez should be a high priority with Pitt, and the Panthers certainly are putting in time with him. However, the 15th-ranked quarterback nationally and new four-star prospect appears to be leaning toward Florida State now. But Brian Angelichio and Frank Cignetti are pushing hard, and they won't give up easily.

Phillips, the four-star, 15th-ranked wideout, would be another feather in Pitt's recruiting cap. It seems like Boston College is Pitt's main competition here, but North Carolina, Rutgers and Maryland are in the mix as well. The Panthers are hopeful, and Jeff Hafley continues to stay on Phillips until he commits.

Michigan State, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Penn State and South Carolina are among those schools vying with Pitt for Cadogan's talents. The Panthers feel pretty good about their chances with Cadogan, and they should since the fast-rising defender has said that they are the leaders. Pitt has been on him from the outset, but an early decision isn't likely until he takes visits. But Cadogan could decide before the season ends.

Like Cadogan, the remaining targets are rated with three stars. On some days, Ifill likes Pitt a lot. And on others, he talks about Michigan and Maryland the most. But Pitt is in the mix, and that's where it wants to be at this point.

The Panthers are close with Johnson and believed they could get a commitment on his birthday last week. So, now, they have to continue to battle Boston College and Rutgers for his talents. But Pitt believes it has a good shot.

Garner is intent on taking his visit to Wisconsin, set for Sept. 12, as the Badgers are talking with him about being a wide receiver or H-back type of player. Pitt believes his talent is best-suited for playing outside linebacker or possibly a D-end in the future, and that could affect his final decision. But the Panthers are hopeful as Garner's hometown team and childhood favorite.

Felder is interested in North Carolina and Boston College, as well as Pitt, which likely would have him be a defensive back in college. The Panthers are hopeful that their ties to Gateway with Cam Saddler, Shayne Hale and Aaron Smith can help sway Felder to pick Pitt.

Maryland appears to be Pitt's main competition for Conaboy, who is attempting to schedule some official visits. The Panthers have been a constant presence in his recruitment, however, and have an excellent shot.

Any members from this group would go nicely with the 2010 class that already includes new five-star defensive end T.J. Clemmings, Paterson, N.J. Catholic HS; four-star wideout Andrew Carswell, Sto-Rox HS in McKees Rocks, Pa.; three star tight end Dan Schneider, Avon Lake, Ohio HS; running back Andre Givens, Hubbard, Ohio HS; offensive guard Arthur Doakes, Lebanon, Pa. HS; tight end Brendan Carozzoni, St. Ignatius HS, Cleveland, Ohio; offensive guard Matt Rotheram, North Olmsted, Ohio HS; running back T.J. Peeler, Broad Run HS, Ashburn, Va.; wideout Kevin Weatherspoon, Clairton, Pa. HS; wideout Salath Williams, Bishop McDevitt HS, Harrisburg, Pa.; safety Jeff Knox, Dematha Catholic HS, Hyattsville, Md.; defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Penn Hills HS in Pittsburgh (formerly a four star); and safety-MLB Derrick Burns, Wilmington HS in New Wilmington, Pa.; two-star defensive tackle K.K. Smith, Woodland Hills HS in Pittsburgh; offensive guard Brandon Sacco, Don Bosco Prep School in Ramsey, N.J.; cornerback K'Wuan Williams, St. Joseph Regional HS in Montvale, N.J.; and one-star defensive end Bryan Murphy from Don Bosco Prep School in Ramsey, N.J. Murphy was rated as an OLB before and now must be rated as a D-end.

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