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January 28, 2011

Big East Blitz: Pitt plugging holes

CHAT: Big East recruiting chat at Noon ET

With the coaching change chaos at Pittsburgh finally settled, Todd Graham's new staff has been working overtime to try and salvage this recruiting class. They have tried to maintain Tulsa recruiting ties while also trying to maintain previous ties in the Pittsburgh area. Is it working?

We break down the conference in a special edition of the Big East Blitz.

Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh
Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia

Big East Blitz
Cincinnati

Commit List
BearcatReport.com
Message Board
The Bearcats lost two previously committed players this week; three-star running back Malcolm Crockett to Pittsburgh and three-star linebacker Andrew Smith to Northwestern, but also gained two-star kicker A.J. Fleak. At least one other current Bearcat commit is taking a look at other schools, as running back Akise Teague may be taking a visit to either Penn State or Nebraska this weekend although it's not clear how serious either program is. Two relatively new names for the Bearcats are three-star quarterback Stephen Weatherford of Florida and junior college defensive back Isiah Vaughn of California. Both Weatherford and Vaughn are relatively new recruits on the Cincinnati recruiting radar, but both recently took visits. Vaughn was actually rumored to have committed earlier in the week, but at this time that was yet to be finalized.
Connecticut

Commit List
UConnReport.com
Message Board
Despite the coaching change at UConn, the remaining coaching staff did a remarkable job of keeping the recruiting class intact. However, one possible defection to this class is three-star defensive back Adrian Amos who had been committed prior to Randy Edsall's departure. Since the coaching change at UConn, Amos went back on the market and has visited West Virginia and may visit Vanderbilt this weekend. An even bigger obstacle for UConn may be the new Penn State offer that Amos received earlier this week. UConn did receive commitments from three-star offensive lineman Xavier Hemingway and three-star linebacker Jefferson Ashiru, teammates from Georgia, earlier this week. Both took official visits last weekend. These two additions may put the finishing touches on the class, however a new name to keep an eye on is running back Jordan Canzeri from New York. Canzeri has suddenly received serious interest from UConn, Iowa and Indiana since his commitment to Villanova and may visit this weekend.
Louisville

Commit List
CardinalSport.com
Message Board
Three previously committed players, Eric Robinson-Berry, Jacquese Kirk and Jerrell Moore have decided to look in another direction recently, but plenty of talent is still remaining on the board. Three-star defensive end Bryant Dubose trimmed his list to Louisville, Florida State and Miami this week, and will visit the Hurricanes this weekend. A decision likely won't come until Signing Day. Also tight end Jon Davis seems to be torn between Louisville, Kentucky and Illinois at this point, with no clear current leader. The most interesting situation may arise from Damarcus Smith. The local four-star quarterback committed to Louisville back in December, but took and unofficial visit to Central Florida last weekend. It will be interesting to see if the hometown pull wins out for the Cardinals.
Pittsburgh

Commit List
PantherLair.com
Message Board
With the coaching change chaos at Pittsburgh finally settled, the new coaching staff has been working overtime to try and salvage this recruiting class. Since a number of the new coaches came over with Todd Graham from Tulsa, they have tried to maintain their recruiting ties in that area, while also trying to maintain previous ties in the Pittsburgh area. Their Tulsa ties brought commitments from Oklahoma running back Isaac Bennett and Texas running back Corey Davis after their visits this past weekend. Also committing were three-star running back Malcolm Crockett, who flipped from his previous commitment to Cincinnati, and three-star wide receiver Darius Patton from Ohio. Another key for the staff in these last days, is to reconfirm the commitment of local three-star defensive end Desimon Green, who opened up his recruitment after the coaching changes, but had a fantastic visit last weekend. Recent additions to this weekend's visit list include local three-star linebacker Branden Jackson, four-star quarterback Michael Eubank of California, who is a soft Arizona State commit, and four-star linebacker Nicholas Grigsby. Grigsby's situation is a confusing one, but a commitment to Pittsburgh is quite possible after the weekend. Set to decide today is two-star cornerback Darrell Hunter, who will choose between Pittsburgh and Bowling Green after being previously committed to the Falcons. A previously confirmed player that the Panthers lost out on this week was three-star wide receiver Justin Olack, who committed to Toledo on Wednesday.
Rutgers

Commit List
ScarletNation.com
Message Board
Rutgers has positioned itself for an impressive finish to their recruiting class. Hosting a number of top recruits last weekend, the Scarlet Knights have already received commitments from four-star offensive lineman Josue Matias and three-star athlete Lafayette Pitts. Two more top recruits who seem to be leaning towards Rutgers at this point are four-star defensive lineman Marquise Wright and three-star defensive end Max Issaka, who may make his decision later today. One player who is definitely making his decision later today is four-star running back Savon Huggins, who is the top ranked player in New Jersey this year. Huggins has been considered a Rutgers lean for months, and anything other than a commitment would be a huge disappointment to the Scarlet Knights. A new player on the Rutgers radar is running back Paul Canevari of national power Don Bosco Prep. Canevari received an offer this week and will visit this weekend. A commitment seems likely.
South Florida

Commit List
USFBullseye.com
Message Board
South Florida closed out last week with a commitment from local three-star wide receiver Ruben Gonzalez, but also lost out on a couple of recruits when wide receiver Rashawn Scott committed to Miami after receiving a late offer and linebacker Terrance Plummer committed to Central Florida. With a few spots still remaining, there are still a couple of holes to fill before Signing Day. Some of the top remaining targets are four-star defensive tackle Elkino Watson, three-star athlete Joshua Grady and three-star tight end David Reeves. The most likely for South Florida is Grady, who will likely choose between the Bulls and Wake Forest next week. Vanderbilt is also involved and will get a visit this weekend, but they will be fighting an uphill battle. Three-star defensive end Tevin Westbrook, who took an official visit last weekend, is also still in the picture, but will be taking a visit to Florida this weekend. Another possible late addition could be three-star wide receiver Devin Clarke, who may sign with the Bulls and be placed into a prep school.
Syracuse

Commit List
CuseConfidential.com
Message Board
The biggest name left on the Syracuse recruiting board is still four-star defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds, who took his official visit earlier this month. McReynolds has also taken visits to UCLA and Mississippi State, and has one remaining visit to Kansas State this weekend. The Syracuse coaching staff was scheduled to have an in-home visit with McReynolds this week, but will have to wait for his final decision after he returns from Kansas State. Three-star defensive back Dale Peterman from Georgia may be a loss to this class, as academic hurdles may keep him from making it to Syracuse. However, Syracuse seems to have filled that hole with the commitment of three-star defensive back Ritchy Desir from Florida on Wednesday. A new name to keep an eye on for the Orange is offensive lineman Ivan Foy from Brooklyn, New York, who recently began to receive more interest from local schools after completing a few academic hurdles.
West Virginia

Commit List
WVSports.com
Message Board
The Mountaineers are looking to close out strong, and got off to a good start with the recent additions of four-star running back Andrew Buie and four-star defensive back Terrell Chestnut, who was originally committed to Pittsburgh. One of the other prospects who took a visit with Chestnut last weekend was three-star defensive back Adrian Amos, who was a firm commitment to UConn before their coaching change, but now seems very open. Two other commits from Big East schools are also getting a close look; offensive lineman Marquis Lucas, a Rutgers commitment, and offensive lineman John Miller, a Louisville commitment. West Virginia now turns their attention to this visit weekend, when once again a number of top recruits will be on campus. Three-star wide receiver Herve Coby has long been considered a Mountaineer lean, and will likely end his recruitment this weekend, while there seems to be a battle brewing with Pittsburgh for teammates Roderick Ryles and LaQuentin Smith of Florida. One late addition seems to be three-star wide receiver Durell Eskridge, who has been a commitment to Syracuse since early December.



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