Pitt Recruiting Update

Safety Ron Tanner

While Dave Wannstedt's claim after last season's bowl victory that the Pitt football program is back in the national picture might have been a little bold to some, high-level recruiting prospects apparently agree with the Panthers coach.

At least that's the indication when one considers the level of talented players who have made their way through the Pittsburgh campus and practice facilities the past few weeks during spring practice sessions, two scrimmages and the annual Blue-Gold Game Saturday at Heinz Field.

Another solid group was in town again this weekend, and it included running back Jameel Poteat from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa.; outside linebacker Quinton Alston from Timber Creek Regional High School in Erial, N.J.; wideout Bill Belton from Winslow Township High School in Atco, N.J.; and tight end Sam Collura from Dematha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.

Poteat is a four-star back ranked 11th nationally by Scout.com. He formerly was a five-star and visited Pitt a couple times this spring now. Belton is a four-star wideout, ranked 13th nationally, who came in with his entire family, toured the campus and visited with all the coaches. Belton said the Panthers are high among the schools on his extensive offer list at this point.

Alston is a three-star athlete with various Big East and Big Ten offers, among others, but his recruitment is gaining steam by the week as more schools get film on him. Collura is Pitt's only lone 2011 commitment so far, and he comes from one of the East's top scholastic football programs.

There also were a handful of players in attendance who Pitt has not yet offered. That group includes quarterback Christian Brumbaugh from South Fayette Township High School in McDonald, Pa.; quarterback Wayne Capers Jr. from Chartiers Valley High School in Bridgeville, Pa.; running back-defensive back Nick Kwiatkoski from Bethel Park, Pa. High School; running back Montay Green from Fox Chapel, Pa. High School; and running back Bre' Ford from Bethel Park, Pa. High School.

Brumbaugh had nearly 1,600 passing yards and led the WPIAL with 23 touchdown passes this past season. Green and Ford are three-star running backs, while Capers already is gaining interest despite being a 2012 kid. He is expected to be a high-profile recruit in football and basketball by the time his upcoming junior season comes to an end.

Several players expected to be in town for Pitt's spring game did not make it. Running back Rushel Shell from Hopewell, Pa. High School, quarterback Gary Nova from Don Bosco Preparatory School in Ramsey, N.J. and 6-foot-7 offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin from St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J. all had AAU basketball games.

Nova and Lumpkin actually were at the Petersen Events Center for an AAU Tournament called the Pitt Jam Fest and not allowed to visit due to NCAA rules. So, even though they were in town all weekend and wanted to visit, they could not have any contact with the football program.

Two other players, cornerback Chris Dukes from Colerain High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and wideout Deandre Scott from Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Md., were expected to attend. But they did not travel due to poor weather conditions. Dukes has a Pitt offer, while Scott does not.

The Panthers also were fortunate to have nearly their entire 2010 recruiting class of signees in attendance. The only two not in town were Dematha Catholic offensive guard Shane Johnson and safety Jeff Knox did not make it, but they were in for a visit to watch the previous Saturday scrimmage.

The impressive prospects list from earlier in the spring included five-star running back Savon Huggins from St. Peter's Prep School in Jersey City, N.J. and a handful of four-star recruits. Huggins is ranked sixth nationally by Scout.com and good friends with Pitt tailback Ray Graham, so that has to help the Panthers' chances with him.

The four-star group included No. 6 outside linebacker Michael Caputo from West Allegheny High School in Imperial, Pa.; No. 15 quarterback Cody Kessler from Centennial High School in Bakersfield, Calif.; No. 7 defensive end Ishaq Williams from Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.; No. 22 offensive tackle Donovan Smith from Owings Mills, Md. High School; No. 24 offensive tackle Aundrey Walker from Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio; No. 3 offensive guard Angelo Mangiro from Roxbury High School in Succasunna, N.J. and No. 5 safety Ron Tanner from Eastmoor Academy High School in Columbus, Ohio.

The remaining offered prospects included No. 32 defemsive end Desimon Green from Clairton, Pa. High School; offensive tackle Zach Hooks from Aliquippa, Pa. High School; No. 41 cornerback Lafayette Pitts from Woodland Hills High School in Pittsburgh; No. 21 middle linebacker Ejuan Price from Woodland Hills; defensive end Quinton Jefferson from Woodland Hills; wideout Justin Olack from Washington High School in Massilon, Ohio; defensive end Connor Wujciak from Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, N.J.; No. 21 cornerback Miles Shuler from Long Branch, N.J. High School; No. 26 offensive tackle Jay Whitmire from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va.; center Artie Rowell from Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, Pa.; No. 20 outside linebacker Ben Kline from Dallastown, Pa. High School; defensive end Jack Miller from St. Johns Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio and defensive tackle Brandon Clemons from Delaware Valley High School in Milford, Pa. br>
There also were visits from some players who have not yet been offered. Those were linebacker-wideout Branden Jackson from McKeesport, Pa. High School; two-way lineman Delvon Simmons from McKeesport; quarterback Matt Johnson from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa.; offensive guard Kekoa Hillen from Southmoreland High School; defensive end Sean Reaver from Catoctin High School in Thurmont, Md.; wideout Timmy Keith from Osbourn High School in Manassas, Va.; wideout Tyriek Harrison from Teaneck, N.J. High School; and wideout Cameron Dickerson from Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, N.J.

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