Pitt was off to a slow start in recruiting for 2012. They just landed their first recruit less than two weeks ago, but things are now starting to pick up a bit.
While the slow start wasn't necessarily too alarming, I had begun to wonder why it was taking so long to secure the commitment of even a single player. Head coach Todd Graham was essentially a miracle worker last year when he came in late in the game and built a Pitt class nearly from scratch, with only a handful of players still left after the Dave Wannstedt/Mike Haywood fiasco. It was exciting to see what he might do with a full year. But thus far, it's been tough sledding.
The past week changed that, as the recruits have started coming in. A brief look, though, shows that none of the players are all that highly-touted, and a few may even be reaches. Trenton Coles and Myles Hilliard are the only two of Pitt's five recruits rated at all by Rivals, and both come in at three stars. Hilliard is the only one rated as a three-star by Scout. The remaining three (Brandyn Cook, Marzett Geter, and William Parks) rank even lower.
In addition to the generally low rankings, the quality of other offers the five players had received should also be noted. According to Rivals, here are the list of schools that reportedly offered scholarships to each of Pitt's five recruits:
Trenton Coles: None (though he had received consideration from Penn State, Notre Dame, and others)
Brandyn Cook: Akron, Youngstown State
Marzett Geter: None
Myles Hilliard: 12 offers, including West Virginia, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Minnesota
William Parks: UConn, Temple, New Mexico, Buffalo, Stony Brook
Now, it goes without saying that recruiting rankings aren't always spot-on. Further, schools miss on players all the time. But based on those two common factors, it looks like Graham could still be considered to be having a slow start, shall we say.
For all of the angst that Dave Wannstedt's on-field product caused Pitt fans, no one could dispute he was a master recruiter. As a former Pitt player, assistant coach at one of the top programs in the country, and NFL coach, Wannstedt and his pro-style offense made Pitt a fairly easy sell. That may not be the case anymore, at least not right away. Players like to go to programs where not only will their skills be utilized, but they'll have a better shot at the NFL. And while Wannstedt showed he could give that to his players, Graham hasn't yet.
But before panic sets in regarding the quality of Graham's recruits, it's best to follow this simple mantra: Give him time. Graham has only been on the job for about six months and is playing catch-up in getting to know high-school coaches and some of the more talented recruits. (No disrespect to Tulsa, but the quality of players he is now eyeing must be at least a little different.) He's also still getting to know his own staff, the people who are doing much of the recruiting. It's going to take a while to build relationships with coaches and recruits, and for Graham to sell his system to players that are not only good enough for a BCS program, but want to play Graham's style of ball - particularly on offense.
While Pitt hasn't landed any big fish yet, it's encouraging to see the school beginning to land some commitments. Time will tell if Graham has secured the right kinds of players.