Pitt football notebook: Thomas, Mason stand out in victory
Pitt didn't have much to celebrate after defeating Buffalo, a last-place Mid-American Conference team, but you'd have a difficult time convincing Todd Thomas and Dan Mason of that.
Both linebackers are recovering from serious knee injuries that required surgical repair in the past year, With much of their rehab behind them, Thomas and Mason led Pitt in tackles (11), along with safety Jason Hendricks, on Saturday against the Bulls. For the record, Hendricks also missed part of last season with a shoulder injury.
Thomas had high praise for Mason, who severely injured his knee two years ago, but played middle linebacker for regular starter Shane Gordon (high ankle sprain).
“Being out for two years, leg injury, fighting back, some people just give up, push it aside,” Thomas said. “He fought back and he came up big (Saturday).”
Doctors told Mason that the nerve damage in his leg was so devastating he never again would play football. But Mason has been one of Pitt's top defensive reserves this season.
“It isn't about proving the doctors wrong,” Mason said. “They had to tell me what they had to tell me. I'm not going to listen to that. I wanted to play football.”
Coach Paul Chryst had no further update on Gordon's injury, but players don't typically recover quickly from high ankle sprains. Mason may remain in the starting lineup, at least through Saturday's Big East game against Temple.
No shy talker
Mason said he never gets tired of talking about his recovery, even though that's usually most of what reporters ask him.
“It's a testimony, it's a story,” he said. “Ask me whenever you see me.”
Pitt continued to gain prospects from Ohio after tight end Devon Edwards told coaches he plans to enroll next year.
Edwards, a senior at Eastmoor Academy in Columbus, chose Pitt over several scholarship offers, but the Panthers, Cincinnati and West Virginia were his finalists. Pitt also has verbal commitments from three other Ohio prospects — quarterback Tra'von Chapman, defensive back Tony Harper and offensive lineman Carson Baker. Edwards, 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, is rated a two-star recruit by Rivals.com.
Pitt has 19 verbal commitments from the Class of 2013 after Glassboro (N.J.) running back Corey Clement decommitted from the Panthers, according to Badger247.com. Clement, who visited Wisconsin on Saturday, holds the South Jersey rushing record with 5,390 yards. He also is considering Notre Dame, Nebraska and Alabama.
Pitt does not project any of its 2013 recruits to running back.