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Graham: Pitt recruiting class to be 'best ever'

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Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011

With 22 days left to rebuild a crippled recruiting class, new Pitt coach Todd Graham isn't talking about salvaging it.

That's not good enough for him, he said.

"We are going to make it the best ever," he said Tuesday when he was introduced as the 35th head football coach in university history — and the fourth in the past month.

Several Pitt recruits are reconsidering their previous nonbinding verbal commitments in the wake of the firings of Dave Wannstedt and Mike Haywood and the resignation of interim coach Phil Bennett.

Graham and his assistants — five joined him at yesterday's introductory news conference — have a huge selling job ahead of them before letter-of-intent day Feb. 2.

"I am not worried about that one bit," Graham said. "Kids sign with coaches. I really believe that."

Graham said his staff of assistants, including Tony Gibson and Calvin Magee who have previously recruited Western Pennsylvania, is well-equipped to handle the task.

Asked why he isn't concerned, Graham said:

"Just because of the men we have on our staff. It's not like we are just starting in the profession. You will find the one common denominator on our staff will be they are all passionate recruiters."

The Pitt job is the third head-coaching appointment for Graham, 46. Gibson and McGee have coached at Michigan and also at West Virginia with Graham.

"You reap what you sow," Graham said. "It is not a panic situation. We are not going to go fill spots just to fill spots."

Graham also said "the attractiveness of the style of play we are going to play ... with a lot of balls in the air" will help sway recruits toward Pitt.

"That coupled with the fine university with great academics and great facilities, I just have great confidence we will (have a good recruiting class)."

Graham said Pitt's recruiting boundaries will extend from a "gas tank away" from Western Pennsylvania all the way to the Carolinas, southeastern U.S., Louisiana and Texas.

He also put out this warning to other Pennsylvania schools.

"We will work hard at winning this state."




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