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Belle Vernon standout chooses Pitt

| Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 7:38 p.m.

Pitt landed one of the top prizes of the 2013 WPIAL recruiting class when Belle Vernon offensive lineman Dorian Johnson told coaches he will enroll next year.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Johnson had committed to Penn State earlier this year before changing his mind after the Nittany Lions were hit with a series of NCAA sanctions in light of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Johnson was unavailable for comment Sunday night while he was concluding his official visit to Pitt with fellow WPIAL four-star recruits Tyler Boyd of Clairton and Rob Foster of Central Valley.

Belle Vernon coach Aaron Krepps said Johnson brought athletic ability and leadership to his football program during his time as a three-year starter.

“The biggest thing was his commitment level,” Krepps said. “It never wavered. His attendance in the offseason programs was outstanding.

“He became more of a vocal leader this year, but everything was by example. He is a kid who would do everything, plus more. He would stay after practice, work extra in the weight room. He was very determined and very focused.”

Krepps said Johnson's physical gifts are obvious.

“He is gifted with his size and strength. He is a very athletic kid for being so large. Great knee bend, great feet, tremendous punch, all those things that have made him a high recruit. He's got a ton of potential.”

Krepps believes Johnson can add weight during his Pitt career.

“He's got a big frame to fill out,” he said.

Johnson had offers from 19 schools, including Alabama, Nebraska, Ohio State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He had scheduled a visit to Ohio State next weekend for the Michigan game, but it is not known if those plans will change.

Johnson is the 19th member of Pitt's 2013 recruiting class and the third offensive linemen, including Carson Baker of Fairborn, Ohio, and Aaron Reese of Chambersburg. Coach Paul Chryst is trying to rebuild and reshape his future offensive lines, and all three recruits are 6-5 or taller.

Pitt is losing senior center Ryan Turnley and guard Chris Jacobson from this year's offensive line, and will need to add depth. Johnson, who played tackle at Belle Vernon, could compete for a starting job, but Pitt decided to redshirt 2012 four-star offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty of Fox Chapel this year.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can reached at jdipaola@tribweb.com or 412-320-7997.

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