Pitt's five-star player signs with no fanfare
TribLIVE Sports Videos
There were no ESPN satellite trucks in the Belle Vernon High School parking lot.
One newspaper reporter was there to chronicle the day, and only two photographers showed up — Dorian Johnson's Aunt Erica and a guy from Leopard Tales, the student newspaper.
Johnson signed his Pitt letter of intent Wednesday morning in a small conference room with no fanfare, not even a microphone.
“I wasn't really feeling all that,” said Johnson, while sharing the moment with teammate and fellow bookend tackle Collin Woss, who signed with Mercyhurst.
Yet, Johnson may turn out to be the jewel of Pitt's 2013 class, given coach Paul Chryst's infatuation with big, physical offensive linemen who value hard work.
Johnson made history as the first 5-star offensive lineman to sign with Pitt since Rivals.com started its rankings system in 2002, but he won't arrive with an air of superiority.
“I definitely think I have something to prove,” Johnson said. “Those kids at Pitt are going to be a lot better than high school competition. I'm going to have to listen to what the coaches have to say and improve as I go along.”
Procuring Johnson, quarterback Tra'Von Chapman and Clairton wide receiver Tyler Boyd helped vault Chryst's first exclusive recruiting class to 22nd in Scout.com's national rankings, 33rd in Rivals.com. ESPN.com did not list Pitt among its top 40.
In the Big East, Pitt's class is No. 1, but it is sixth among 14 schools in its new home, the ACC, according to Rivals.
Chryst won't predict success for his 27-man class, most of whom will be redshirted this season and won't make an impact until 2014.
But he realized he desperately needed depth on both lines, and this group makes strides toward that goal.
“We ended up dressing 53 guys for the bowl game,” he said. “That's not what you want. This group will strengthen our team.”
Chryst called Johnson “a special player,” and said he will have an opportunity to earn a starting job. But coaches want to see Johnson eventually gain 30 pounds from his current weight that he listed at 280.
“(Adam) Bisnowaty said when he was there last summer, they had him eating every two hours,” Johnson said of the rising redshirt freshman from Fox Chapel. “We'll see how that works out.”
Johnson said he realizes expectations are placed upon him as the highest-rated recruit in the class.
“It's kind of cool,” he said. “We are (Chryst's) first recruiting class. Maybe we can, I don't know, set an example for other recruits in the future.”
Notes: Chryst plans to accelerate his search for a defensive coordinator to replace Dave Huxtable, who left for North Carolina State two months ago. “We have talked to guys. We have to get going on the defensive coordinator thing, so we can have one for spring ball.” ... Spring drills begin March 5, and the Blue-Gold scrimmage will be 7 p.m. April 12 at Bethel Park High School.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
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.
- ‘The Interview’ plays to sold-out crowd in Pittsburgh
- Detained traveler granted release
- Texas armored truck driver charged in $200,000 theft
- Pitt set to hire Michigan State’s Narduzzi as coach
- Complex job helps protect aging brain’s cognitive ability, study finds
- Starkey: Steelers have only one goal
- Premier competition fuels Hempfield wrestlers
- Greensburg Salem wrestling team hopes early-season success leads to postseason glory
- Former Army Ranger learns Steelers Way
- Father of captured Jordanian begs ISIS for mercy
- 1 dead in Penn Hills house fire