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Pitt grabs linebacker for 26th recruit

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Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 1:20 p.m.

Pitt coach Paul Chryst's visit to his native Wisconsin paid a dividend Wednesday: Oconomowoc High School linebacker Zach Poker became the 26th player to verbally commit to the Panthers.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Poker had offers from Air Force, Army, Syracuse, Central Michigan and Western Michigan, but he chose Pitt after he visited last weekend.

“It's a great combination of athletics, education and players and coaches,” said Poker, who wants to major in mechanical engineering.

Pitt recruited Poker — a two-star recruit, according to — to be an outside linebacker, but he also has a talent for catching the football. He caught 50 passes for 753 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He has played tight end, fullback and receiver.

“We'll see where my body takes me,” he said.

Poker is the second linebacker in Pitt's Class of 2013, joining Matt Galambos of Havertown. Poker committed with little fanfare.

“He did not hold a news conference,” Oconomowoc coach Ryan McMillen said. “Coach (Chryst) was excited; (Zach) was excited. He committed and went back to class.”

Pitt receiver prospect Jester Weah of Madison (Wis.) Memorial will announce his college choice Friday, his coach, Mike Galindo, said.

Pitt offered Weah, a three-star recruit, a scholarship last weekend during his visit. Weah also is considering Colorado State, Wyoming, Ohio and Bowling Green, among others.Weah would give Pitt depth at a position where it is losing seniors Mike Shanahan and Cam Saddler.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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