Pitt lands two more recruits

Jerry DiPaola
| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 2:36 p.m.

Pitt may have finalized its 24-man Class of 2014 on Saturday when linebacker Jamal Davis of Canton McKinley (Ohio) and defensive end Hez Trahan of Philadelphia Roman Catholic visited campus and told coaches they plan to enroll this year. Pitt also got an early start on 2015 when Canon-McMillan offensive lineman Alex Paulina pledged to sign with the Panthers next year.

That makes 16 Pitt recruits who played high school football outside Western Pennsylvania.

Davis, a three-star prospect, earned all-state honors in Ohio, recording 105 tackles, 3 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and 21 tackles for a loss last season. He had offers from Minnesota, Louisville, Indiana and seven Mid-American schools.

At 6-foot-2, 217 pounds, Davis is the third linebacker in Pitt's class, joining Fox Chapel's Quintin Wirginis and James Folston Jr. of Cocoa, Fla.

Trahan, 6-4, 250 pounds, said his desire to stay close to family was a big reason for his commitment, but he also cited the stability among Pitt's coaches. Other than the resignation of strength coach Todd Rice, there have been no changes to coach Paul Chryst's staff since the end of the season.

“It's a stable staff, not constantly moving out,” Trahan said.

Roman Catholic coach Joe McCourt said Trahan can play inside or outside on the defensive line.

“I think (Pitt) will start him (outside), but once they get him on the training table and he starts eating, he could go inside, too,” McCourt said. “He'll live in the weight room. He is a very coachable kid.”

Trahan, a three-year starter at Class AAAA Roman Catholic, also had offers from James Madison and Massachusetts. He is the fifth 2014 defensive lineman to commit to Pitt, including Upper St. Clair's Rori Blair.

Paulina's father, Dave, said Chryst “jumped out of his seat” when Alex told him he wanted to commit.

“I know Alex wanted to commit early so he could enjoy his senior year,” Dave Paulina said. “He doesn't want to commit anywhere but there.”

The 6-4, 280-pound Paulina has been a starter since his freshman year, when he was named to the All-Quad South team, but he missed six games last season with a concussion and neck injury. His father said he also had offers from Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

“He has the potential,” said Canon-McMillan coach Ron Coder, a former Penn State star who had a 10-year NFL career. “Hopefully, his senior year he will play real well and dominate.”

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

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