Gorman: Recruits say hello, as Pitt has good bye
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The most important weekend in Pitt's football season, as it turns out, is a bye.
The Panthers have little left to play for but, when it comes to recruiting, they have a lot left to gain.
It's no accident that their top two targets — Central Valley receiver Robert Foster and Belle Vernon offensive tackle Dorian Johnson — are making official visits this weekend, even though the Panthers don't have a game.
“For Pitt, it's big because they have a bye week and there's a basketball game,” 247 Sports recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels said. “If you have a game, you're going to the hotel Friday and doing your game preparations.
“It's important because of the access to the coaches and players and getting a feel for what they haven't seen yet, whereas on game day there is so much involved that you have a very, very limited window there. With the bye, they can roll out the red carpet.”
Pitt is taking advantage of its bye to play host to two of the state's top prospects, as well as its rare distinction as a major-college program where the game-day atmosphere is better in basketball than it is for football.
Why bring recruits to a half-empty Heinz Field when you can show them a sold-out Petersen Events Center?
“How many times over the years has that basketball environment with the Oakland Zoo helped them land a recruit?” Lichtenfels said, knowing that it helped lure star tailback LeSean McCoy, among others.
Lichtenfels believes Pitt is gambling by bringing Foster and Johnson for official visits on the same weekend, but the Panthers could reap major rewards if it works.
“There's two sides to that: You have the top two targets in the state. If one doesn't like it, he can poison the other. But if they both like it, they can influence each other,” Lichtenfels said. “They're going to talk, so it's risky. You have to decide whether the rewards outweigh the risk.”
Pitt doesn't have much of a choice. Foster and Johnson not only represent two of the top talents in the WPIAL but also could fill major needs on the Panthers' depth chart.
“They're Western Pa. kids, so that's important, just for aesthetics,” Lichtenfels said. “To be a top-flight program, you have to control your own area. When you have national-caliber recruits and they leave, it doesn't look good for you.”
To get them to stay, Pitt is asking two national-caliber recruits to say hello during what it hopes is a good bye.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man dies in jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Kittanning shelter creating calm haven for interviewing young victims
- Starkey: Penguins’ season impressive so far
- Hornqvist’s net-front presence with Penguins could be valuable asset
- Big names highlight Three Rivers Arts Festival’s 2015 musical lineup
- Poll shows Clinton slipping in trustworthiness among voters
- Penguins a love affair for Evancho sisters
- Duquesne man charged with sex assault of minor
- Pirates’ search for division title rests on starting rotation’s health
- Pennsylvania religious freedom law does not extend to for-profits
- Arrivals from Paris soon will avoid extra screening at Pittsburgh International