ShareThis Page

Pitt gets commitment from RB McCoy

Kevin Gorman
| Monday, Jan. 15, 2007

LeSean McCoy was considered a long shot for Pitt, as the highly touted tailback from Harrisburg was viewed by many as a virtual lock for Penn State.

That perception changed drastically over the weekend, when McCoy took an official visit to Pitt and was blown away by the reception the Oakland Zoo gave him upon his arrival at Petersen Events Center on Saturday night.

McCoy might have pandered to the students during the Pitt-Georgetown game by checking a box next to his name on a fan's handmade sign that listed other Pitt recruits, but he went a step further Sunday by telling Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt he was choosing the Panthers.

"The best thing is the players, how cool they are," McCoy told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Saturday night, adding that he felt some players showed resentment toward him on trips to other schools. "I know Coach Wannstedt's going to get the job done."

Verbal commitments, however, are nonbinding, and McCoy's has been met with skepticism. He could not be reached for comment by the Tribune-Review on Sunday, but told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that it wasn't a firm commitment and that he would formally announce his choice this week, likely Tuesday or Wednesday.

McCoy has a history of making surprising decisions. The former Bishop McDevitt High School star committed to Miami last February - choosing the Hurricanes over the likes of Alabama, Oklahoma, Penn State, Southern Cal, Tennessee and Virginia Tech - but only after enrolling at Milford Academy prep in New Berlin, N.Y., when he did not qualify academically for freshman eligibility.

"I'll believe it more when he steps on campus," recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels said. "When a kid commits during an official visit, sometimes you don't know if that's raw emotion. From everything I'd gotten, he was pretty much a done deal to Penn State. That was pretty much the general feeling from his coaches and teammates at Milford. They thought it was an uphill battle for Pitt."

McCoy is awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on whether he will be declared eligible or need another semester at Milford. McCoy also said Saturday that he didn't plan on taking any more official visits.

"I don't want to take an official visit to Penn State," McCoy told the Tribune-Review. "I've been there so many times."

The Pitt-Penn State recruiting battle is expected to continue until signing day on Feb. 7, not only for McCoy but also for Rochester receiver Derek Moye, who said yesterday he will decide between the two schools later this month.

At Bishop McDevitt, McCoy was on pace to become the state's all-time leading rusher when he suffered a compound fracture in his right ankle against Harrisburg High in September 2005. After rushing for more than 2,500 yards in both his sophomore and junior seasons, McCoy finished with 859 yards on 83 carries - a 10.3-yard average - and ended his career with 6,640 rushing yards and 75 touchdowns to rank ninth in state history.

Before the injury, McCoy was regarded by some scouting services as the nation's top tailback prospect. now ranks McCoy the nation's No. 8 tailback, while ranks him its No. 10 prep school prospect.

"He's been the best running back to come out of the state in a while," Lichtenfels said. "He's got that shiftiness, and he can cut on a dime. His cutting ability is just ridiculous. He's a good receiver out of the backfield. The thing he has to work on is his blocking.

"He's the type of kid for Pitt who's a program-changer."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me