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Pitt hauls in New Jersey quarterback Nova

Gary Nova met Pitt's most important prerequisite in a quarterback recruit — but not because of his arm strength, speed or ability to operate out of a pro-style offense.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder passed for 1,668 yards with 23 touchdowns and three interceptions as a junior in leading New Jersey powerhouse Don Bosco Prep to an undefeated season and 12th state championship.

"I'm a leader, and I find a way to make plays," Nova said. "I can run. I can throw. The most important thing is to find a way to win games. You can have the strongest arm or be the fastest, but if you don't win games, it doesn't matter."

Nova was one of two prospects to give a verbal commitment to Pitt on Wednesday, along with Central Dauphin offensive lineman Artie Rowell. They join tight end Sam Collura of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic to give the Panthers three verbal commitments from the Class of 2011.

Nova picked Pitt over scholarship offers from Boston College, Colorado, Rutgers, Virginia and Vanderbilt, among others. He is Pitt's third Don Bosco Prep recruit, following defensive end Bryan Murphy and offensive lineman Brandon Sacco, who signed in February.

"I felt at home," said Nova, who was recruited by secondary coach Jeff Hafley. "I had a good relationship with the coaching staff. I felt comfortable. I didn't need to wait for another school to offer. I want to be a Panther."

Rowell felt the same way. The 6-foot-2, 295-pound guard-center, who was recruited by tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, picked Pitt over offers from Northwestern and Temple. Rowell credited Panthers offensive line coach Tony Wise for believing in his ability despite his less-than-ideal height.

"His credentials are exceptional, with his NFL experience," said Rowell, a three-year starter on both sides of the ball who has a 3.7 grade-point average. "A lot of schools turned me down because I'm 6-2, but he embraced that. He's won with guys my size. He tells me it's not how tall you are but how good you can block people.

"I have good feet, and I think I play exceptionally hard. I go to the whistle. I get after it. That's what fits me with Pitt. That's how their offensive line plays. They're a bunch of hard-nosed football players, and that's the way I am."

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