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College

Pitt lands standout lineman Clemmings

Kevin Gorman
| Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pitt won a recruiting battle for one of the top defensive linemen in the East, but it's one that might be far from over.

T.J. Clemmings, of Paterson (N.J.) Catholic, picked the Panthers over scholarship offers from the likes of Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, Penn State and Tennessee, according to recruiting services Rivals.com and Scout.com .

Neither Clemmings nor Paterson Catholic coach Benjie Wimberly returned phone calls and text messages seeking comment Monday.

Verbal commitments are non-binding, and recruits can't sign a binding national letter of intent until February.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Clemmings has only played one season of high school football — he recorded 20 tackles for losses and seven sacks last fall — but is ranked the nation's No. 24 defensive end prospect by Scout.com and No. 31 by Rivals.com .

Prior to his junior year, Clemmings concentrated on basketball, where he is considered a Division I prospect and had scholarship offers from Massachusetts, Providence and Seton Hall.

Clemmings has been timed in the 40-yard at 4.7 seconds — an outstanding time for an athlete his size — and major-college programs are likely to continue pursuing him.

Clemmings made an unofficial visit to Pitt this past weekend, when Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt hosted an individual skills camp that included several targeted prospects.

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