Pitt notebook: Panthers land another defensive lineman

Jerry DiPaola
| Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, 10:05 a.m.

Pitt received a verbal commitment from another defensive lineman when Erie McDowell senior James Conner said he will enroll next year.

He's a three-star recruit and is the 24th-rated defensive end in the nation, according to Rivals.com.

After moving to defensive end during the middle of last season, Conner recorded a school-record 12 sacks.

“He's fast off the edge,” Erie McDowell athletic director Brian Fuller said. “A lot of teams can't get in front of him to block him.”

The 6-foot-3, 230 pounder also had offers from Bowling Green, Ohio and Youngstown State.

Pitt has 15 recruits in its Class of 2013, including four defensive linemen. Conner will join defensive linemen Luke Maclean of Grand Blanc, Mich., who made a verbal commitment Sunday; Allderdice graduate Tyrique Jarret, who will attend Milford (N.Y.) Academy this year; and Shakir Soto of Wilkes Barre G.A.R. Memorial.

• Pitt coach Paul Chryst wants players to develop consistency and an ability to learn from a bad play, and that goes for quarterback Tino Sunseri, too. “In some ways, it's like a cornerback (who has been beaten),” Chryst said. “You have to play the next play. If it's going good, you have to keep an even keel. If you're struggling, you have to keep an even keel and get going. There are times where he's going (good), and there has to be less peaks and valleys and be a little more consistent and steady.” Asked if Sunseri has shown the ability to move on from adversity, Chryst said, “We'll find out.”

• Evaluating Sunseri has been somewhat difficult for coaches because of the absence of veteran receivers Mike Shanahan (hamstring) and Devin Street (knee). They are part of a long list of injured players that Chryst said remain day to day. “I wish it was day to day as in tomorrow, and they are all (ready to practice),” he said. “I don't anticipate that (Wednesday).” He said Street could miss “a couple days.” Shanahan “did some things and is making progress,” the coach said.

• Freshman running back Rushel Shell hurt his back and missed some practice time. Chryst said he's excused Wednesday morning to attend to a personal matter.

• Freshman quarterback Chad Voytik received more work than usual after Trey Anderson was injured in practice. “We want to keep giving him work,” Chryst said of Voytik.

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