Ok, so CBSSportsline decided to run an article about Penn State's dominance of recruits in Pitt-territory (aka, the kiddie table at the Thanksgiving Feast)... I think we're going to have some fun with this one!
Dave Wannstedt may be 57, but he's still trying to catch 82-year-old Joe Paterno.
Wannstedt was hired by alma mater Pittsburgh before the 2005 football season, one of his first promises was that the Panthers would erect a virtual fence around western Pennsylvania and dissuade the area's top high school recruits from going elsewhere.
You know... That fence is working really well... at keeping the recruits and everyone else out
For a few years, Pitt was the dominant school not only in western Pennsylvania, but also on some of Penn State's prime recruiting turf. Their best recruit, running back LeSean McCoy, came out of Penn State's epicenter in Harrisburg.
Well... yeah, except for the fact he broke his ankle in his senior season and no one wanted him any more...
Of the first eight western Pennsylvania players offered scholarships by Pitt, only one committed to the Panthers. Five committed to Penn State, which, despite Paterno's age, is coming off an 11-2 season and has won 40 games the past four seasons.
There's more. Of the first eight western Pennsylvania players offered scholarships by Pitt, only one committed to the Panthers. Five committed to Penn State, which, despite Paterno's age, is coming off an 11-2 season and has won 40 games the past four seasons probably has something to do with Pitt's 3-0 loss against the Oregon State Beavers in a bowl game.
Despite Wannstedt's determination to run a disciplined program that graduates its players and sends a lot (almost half as many as Penn State) of them to the NFL, the Panthers have had at least three players involved in off-field incidents.
Wide receiver T.J. Porter (alcohol) was thrown off the team, wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin was charged with the assault of a female student and linebacker Adam Gunn -- an honors student and team leader -- was accused of disorderly conduct and other offenses following a nightclub altercation. Gunn was reinstated after the charges were dropped.
Also, defensive lineman Tommie Duhart was thrown off the team for disciplinary reasons.
"I won't tolerate anything like that," Wannstedt said. "I believe we have some great kids who made some mistakes, but they'll be dealt with accordingly. And we'll move forward."
... do you really think it's that easy to get off the hook? I mean we JUST got off the hook and got to the point where people stopped talking about...
The off-field incidents may not substantially hurt Pitt's in-state recruiting, if only because Penn State -- despite its resurgence -- has had more such incidents in recent years. ESPN broadcast a piece last summer that outlined the Nittany Lions' numerous arrests, yet they went on to win 11 of their first 12 games.
... well dern! THERE's your problem Pitt! Get about 15 MORE of your guys arrested, and you might be able to muster up a field goal in next year's bowl game!
"I think we're right where we need to be," said Wannstedt, who isn't permitted by NCAA rules to discuss specific recruits until February. "The key is to get a few of those top guys, wherever you can get them (whenever Penn State lets us), and then hit on those bottom 10 guys or so, the ones who aren't as highly ranked (and we're used to getting every year).
"We're not going to have a good [recruiting] class, we're going to have a great class."