Although Pittsburgh has only had one commitment – Connor Hayes – for almost two months, while other schools reached double digits in commitments, it must’ve been saving all the commitments for one week. In the last week, the Panthers got a remarkable nine more commitments.
Those commitments include DB Jalen Williams, QB Adam Bertke, RB Dennis Briggs, OL Michael Grimm, ATH Patrick Amara, ATH Avonte Maddox, OL Mike Herndon, LB Quintin Wirginis and OL Connor Dintino.
Williams is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety out of Newburgh (N.Y.) Free Academy. A three-star prospect, he became the second commitment in the class of 2014 last Friday. While he has defensive back skills, he also has a frame that could allow him to grow into a linebacker role, if the need arises. The No. 68 safety in the country (according to Scout.com) chose Pittsburgh over offers from Buffalo, Massachusetts and Temple.
Bertke, a 6-foot-5, 205-pounder, is the lone quarterback of the class. The signal caller from Maria Stein (Ohio) Marion chose Pittsburgh due to the people, education and situation. Though not very highly recruited, Bertke also held offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Illinois, Kent State and Toledo. Rivals.com hasn’t ranked Bertke, but Scout.com has him as a three-star and the No. 50 quarterback in the country.
A Panther lean for some time, Briggs didn’t have to think too hard about this commitment. He’s pretty familiar with the area, coming from Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back also had offers from Buffalo and Toledo. He is not ranked on either Scout.com or Rivals.com.
“I knew for a while that Pitt was the one for me, but I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t cheat,” Briggs told Panther-Lair.com.
Check out the shifty running back below.
The highest profile commit for the Panthers came from offensive tackle Michael Grimm out of Bethel Park (Pa.) High. The massive 6-foot-6, 320-pound lineman is a four-star prospect, the No. 25 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 6 prospect in Pennsylvania on Rivals.com. On Scout.com, Grimm is a three-star and the No. 31 offensive tackle in the country. This recruiting battle was a huge win for Pittsburgh, as they beat out offers from 16 other schools, including the likes of Arizona, Boston College and Virginia.
“All the Pitt coaches made me feel comfortable,” Grimm told TribLive.com. “They respected me as a player and made sure everything was OK. They were grown-up about the situation and made me see that I could really grow as a person and as a football player from being there with them.”
Grimm’s highlights from last season are below.
Amara currently measures in at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds. Like others that committed, Amara also is an in-state guy from Philadelphia (Pa.) West Catholic. He is also pretty unheralded in the recruiting world as a two-star and unranked player on both Scout.com and Rivals.com. While he comes in as an athlete, he has the physical tools and ability to play safety or especially wide receiver, the position at which Scout.com believes he fits best. He also had offers from Bowling Green, Massachusetts and Central Florida.
Here are Amara’s highlights from last year.
Next, there’s another athlete committed in Maddox. While labeled an athlete and a two-star on Rivals.com, Scout.com ranks Maddox as a three-star and the No. 57 cornerback in the country. At 5-foot-9, 165-pounds, he is small but extremely fast. The Detroit (Mich.) King has had multiple reports of him running a 4.4 40-yard dash. He had several offers from mid-major schools, as well as one from Cincinnati.
“I wanted to be a Panther because I have a great relationship with [defensive coordinator and safeties coach Matt House],” Maddox told Scout.com’s Allen Trieu. “I went down on a visit and I didn’t have to do that much at camp. I did half a session, they took me around campus and I liked how the school was.”
Herndon, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman from Staunton (Va.) Riverheads, committed to Pittsburgh during a visit on Thursday. He received an offer from Pittsburgh last week after camping but returned to see more of the campus. While he’s ranked as an offensive tackle on recruiting websites, the Panthers see him as a defensive tackle. Rivals.com ranks Herndon as a three-star prospect, the No. 52 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 26 prospect in Virginia. He also held offers from Virginia Tech, Connecticut and several other smaller schools.
“It was great; I loved everything about it,” Herndon told Panther-lair.com. “I love the coaches and everything about the school. I liked the school when I was at the camp, but I didn’t see much then. Once I started seeing the campus and the teachers and the classes and everything, my interest just kept rising.
Here’s some highlights of Herndon.
The camps proved to be pivotal in the recruitment of Wirginis, like it was with other prospects. He received an offer Monday after camping at Pittsburgh last weekend, and he didn’t take but a few days to pull the trigger. The hometown pull for the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Fox Chapel helped narrow Wirginis’s decision to Pittsburgh and Temple. A former teammate at Fox Chapel who is now a freshman at Pittsburgh – Adam Bisnowaty – helped him gather more information about the school. At 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, Wirginis is not ranked on either Scout.com or Rivals.com, though he had offers from his finalists, as well as from VMI and Robert Morris.
“Pitt’s a great university,” Wirginis told Panther-lair.com. “I love the coaching staff, and I feel good there. I feel like something special’s going to be going on there in the future, and it all just worked out perfectly.”
Check out some highlights of Wirginis below.
Finally, the last commitment of the last week (at least so far) is Connor Dintino out of Wallingford (Conn.) Choate Rosemary Hall. Pittsburgh offered him a scholarship last weekend, and he made the commitment Thursday. While Rivals.com ranks Dintino highly as a three-star prospect but the No. 9 center in the country and No. 2 prospect in Connecticut, Pittsburgh offered him as a defensive tackle. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Dintino is also a wrestler, which he says has helped him as a defensive tackle.
“Everything was just a great fit for me,” Dintino told Scout.com’s Brian Dohn. “It’s the coaching staff. I think it’s a great community, the facilities are awesome and the education is just like my school.”