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Recruiting Blitzes incluing Pittsburgh Panthers and other parts of the country.


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This was one school I almost went to for College. I grew up watching them and I loved their campus. That win over west virginia has given them big momentum and for me they will be a surprise team next year for the Big East.

Pittsburgh's season-ending victory over West Virginia has helped the Panthers make their recruiting mark in Western Pennsylvania.

Since that win, Pittsburgh has picked up 10 commitments - with more than half of them from the Pittsburgh area. While many of the recruits claim the win had little to do with their ultimate decisions, it seems to be quite a coincidence.

It started with Rivals250 running back Cameron Saddler just days after the win. Saddler is a 5-foot-6, 157-pound water bug of a running back who could make an instant impact in the Big East as an all-purpose player.

Shortly thereafter, quarterback Tino Sunseri, wide receiver Mike Shanahan and tight end Jonathan Baldwin - the No. 26 player nationally committed to Pitt. Baldwin is a 6-foot-6, 233-pound receiver who will be a tough matchup for any Big East secondary.

The success continued into the New Year with a commitment from tight end Mike Cruz. Saddler's teammate, linebacker/defensive end Shayne Hale, also pledged to be a Panther. Hale, a 6-foot-3, 235-pounder, is a national top-250 player.

At the beginning of the recruiting process, Saddler, Baldwin and Hale were all looking elsewhere. The barely mentioned Pitt when interviewed. The fact that the trio is now staying close to home to play for Dave Wannstedt not only gives Pitt the top recruiting class in the Big East, but also continues its success in Western Pennsylvania.

NC State picked up a big commitment from offensive lineman R.J. Mattes from Concord (N.C.) Robinson. Mattes is ranked as the No. 21 offensive tackle in the country and is a national top-250 player. He is the sixth N.C. State commitment rated four stars or higher (on a five-star scale).

" Clemson has taken it on the chin a bit lately. They were the leader for Mattes for quite some time and lost. The nation's No. 1 offensive guard, A.J. Harmon, de-committed and chose Georgia at the U.S. Army All American Bowl.

" Boston College is still searching for running backs. They have a commitment from top-250 standout Josh Haden, who is already on campus. However, with the losses of Andre Callender and L.V. Whitworth (graduation), A.J. Brooks (discipline issue) and Jeff Smith (concussions), the Eagles enter spring ball with Haden at No. 1. The Eagles are in the mix for running back Christian Wilson of Pennsylvania and Texas prospects Terrence Robinson and Shane Turner. BC has a commitment from Pennsylvania running back Eric Reynolds and local product Isaac Johnson could also play tailback, but a freshman or two will be carrying the ball a lot next season.

" North Carolina had a nice recruiting weekend. The Heels received commitments from athlete A.J. Blue, linebacker Zach Brown and defensive back Alfonzo Dennard. There are also strong rumors that defensive end Quinton Coples, a national top-250 player, has also given his pledge. Coples has publicly denied that he is committed, and he is scheduled to take a visit to Tennessee and announce on Signing Day. Brown had previously been committed to Maryland.

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When Auburn hired offensive coordinator Tony Franklin from Troy, the Tigers also hired his offensive philosophy: the spread. The idea of implementing a new offensive system has paid some early dividends on the recruiting trail.

Last week, four-star all-purpose running back Onterrio McCalebb gave a surprise commitment to the Tigers. McCalebb cited the new offensive philosophy as a major factor in his decision. Speedy three-star wide receiver Philip Pierre-Louis was attracted to Auburn for the same reason. He committed on his official visit last weekend.

Tigers fans will now have to face the other side of the spread offense coin.

Five-star running back Enrique Davis is a perfect fit for the power running game that backs such as Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams have thrived in for years at Auburn. Davis had committed to Auburn out of high school and had spent the past fall at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy preparing for a career as a Tiger. However, Franklin's offensive mentality was not what the 220-pounder had in mind.

"I just don't really know if I like that offense," Davis said. "That's what it comes down to. That offense is more for quarterbacks and receivers in my eyes. I still love everything about Auburn. It just boils down to what I think is best for me and my future. I'll always be an Auburn Tiger at heart."

Now, one team's loss is another's gain. Even though he is changing teams, there is a chance Davis could remain in the SEC's Western Division.

Last weekend, Davis went to Ole Miss - his first official visit since his decommitment.

At Arkansas, Houston Nutt coached a number of highly productive running backs. Darren McFadden could be the top player selected in this year's NFL Draft. Davis met with Nutt in Oxford.

"I love Coach Nutt's personality," he said. "I didn't realize the great tradition the school has. I love how the players and the coaches are like one big happy family."

Davis enjoyed the visit so much he nearly pulled the trigger on a new commitment.

"I would rate the visit a 10," he said. "I don't see it getting much better than this. I didn't commit, but I thought about it. I still want to take my visits to Oregon and Tennessee before making a decision."

Due to the late developments in his decision-making process, Davis may not decide where he will go until after Signing Day. Currently, he is considering visits to Oregon, Tennessee and Maryland with a tentatively scheduled trip to Knoxville on tap for this weekend.


The Florida Gators got a big commitment this weekend. Previous Miami commit Ramon Buchanan headed to Gainesville for an official visit as a Hurricane but left as a Gator. The 6-foot linebacker/safety out of Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay is a sideline-to-sideline player that can add immediate depth in the secondary or linebacking corps for Florida.

" Just a few weeks ago, Clayton, Ohio, offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders had narrowed his college choice down to Florida or Georgia. After the Gators and the Bulldogs had spots fill up, Sanders was forced to go back to the drawing board. Sanders, a four-star prospect, committed to Florida State following his official visit last weekend.

" Along with the positive reviews from Enrique Davis, Ole Miss got more good news this weekend. Baton Rouge (La.) Scotlandville running back Brandon Bolden committed to the Rebels. The versatile back chose Ole Miss over a strong recent push from Southern Mississippi.

" One of the most highly rated uncommitted offensive line prospects had an important visit last weekend at the University of Tennessee. Antoine McClain would be a jewel in the Tennessee class, and McClain gave his visit high marks. He plans on visiting Auburn next week and possibly LSU the following week. Despite the positive weekend, he lists no favorites to date.

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Ann Arbor, Mich., was the center of the recruiting universe this weekend as the Michigan Wolverines played host to the nation's No. 1 player five-star quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Jeannette, Pa.

Pryor enjoyed his time with the Wolverines.

"I went to a basketball game and they chanted my name and all that," Pryor, who is 6 feet 6 and 235 pounds, said.

"The fans were real nice and the players I met seemed cool. I don't remember a whole lot of names, but they were nice. And Coach (Rich) Rodriguez has brought his entire staff with him from West Virginia, so nothing is going to change. That's the offense he wants to run, and he'd like me to run it."

Pryor wasn't the only headliner in town last weekend. Michigan played host to other high-profile recruits and a slew of already-committed prospects in town for unofficial visits. Along with Pryor, other big names included Rivals100 cornerback Boubacar Cissoko, Rivals250 defensive tackle Mike Martin, Rivals250 tight end Brandon Moore and three-star recruits like D.J. Woods and J.T. Floyd.

Floyd, who is committed to Tennessee, said the visit gave him a lot to think about.

"I would definitely say Michigan fans will be happy, but I'm going to leave it at that," Floyd said after returning home. "I want to talk it over with my parents first, take this last visit (to Tennessee) and get everything squared away."

Floyd committed to the Volunteers early in his junior year. To swing the three-star prospect in its direction, Michigan needed to get him excited about the future of its program. Looks like it was mission accomplished.

"Just the vibe of the football players, I think they're excited about the new change," said Floyd. "Everybody's real anxious to get to work, and that strength and conditioning coach - he's one of the best in the nation. The players gravitate to him. I think the Michigan football program is definitely moving in a positive direction."

Moore, like Cissoko and Martin, has already committed to the Wolverines. He said he came away very excited about his future in Ann Arbor.

"They told me about how they use the tight end," he explained. "They told me he'll be flexed out sometimes, he'll be like the H-back position sometimes. They said that's how they're going to use me, in a position like that. It's kind of like the thing that I was doing at my high school."


Michigan State played host to Tampa (Fla.) Plant sleeper offensive lineman Rhonne Sanderson last weekend. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound two-star prospect said he liked what he saw.

"The players, coaches and people were all real nice," Sanderson said. "Overall, it was a good place. I got a chance to see snow for the first time, too."

Sanderson said he plans on making his decision after he returns from his visit to Florida State this weekend. The Seminoles have not offered him a scholarship, but they could offer him while on his official visit.

" Iowa three-star cornerback commitment Shaun Prater took an official visit to Nebraska last weekend, and it looks like the Omaha (Neb.) Central star has a tough decision to make.

"It was a perfect visit," Prater said. "I'd give it a 10. Getting to know the coaches and the players was the best part. I spent a lot of time with coach (Bo) Pelini and coach (Marvin) Sanders. They were well-spoken and honest, real trustworthy I believe. I could see that they get along real well with the players."

However, Prater said the visit didn't change his mind about Iowa.

"I'm still pretty much 'down' with Iowa," Prater said. "But I was giving Nebraska a chance because they have a new coaching staff and all. I thought I'd talk with them and see what they're all about.

"It's kind of a done deal. I'm still with Iowa and will be signing with them on Signing Day, but there is still time over the next couple of weeks for me to think about it more."

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