PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 22: The new University of Pittsburgh head football coach, Paul Chryst, speaks during a press conference on December 22, 2011 at the University of Pittsburgh Panthers South Side training facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
With another National Signing Day in the books, how did Pitt fare? All in all, I'd say pretty well. As expected, the Panthers lost a few recruits due to the unexpected departure of Todd Graham. But those losses were fairly minimal and new head coach Paul Chryst did an admirable job of keeping this year's recruits in the fold.
With numerous recruiting sites, National Signing Days aren't the big surprises they were in the past. But there were still some interesting developments in Oakland on Wednesday. Here are the top five:
5. Alkwan Williams heads for Temple - Williams was a Pitt commit, but one of the few who left after Todd Graham bolted for Arizona State. He was a two-star/three-star linebacker from Johnstown, who decided he would head to Temple instead, signing with the Owls. Graham's defense required more linebackers, and with Pitt having considerable talent there already, Williams perhaps decided Temple might be a better fit.
4.Terrell Jackson fakes out crowd - Jackson wasn't committed to Pitt heading into the day, but by the end of it, he was a Panther. His signing was a nice surprise and the three-star linebacker was rated the No. 65 linebacker in the nation by Scout. Jackson's signing was one of the more unique during the day as he displayed hats of Illinois, Michigan State, and Cincinnati on a table, appearing to leave Pitt out of the mix. However, he pulled a Pitt hat from underneath the table, pledging his allegiance to the Panthers. I still haven't decided whether this was cool or downright cheesy.
3. Adam Pankey chooses West Virginia - There had been a significant amount of talk about Pankey dropping his commitment from Pitt after Todd Graham left and it officially happened on Wednesday as he signed with West Virginia. Pankey's loss was a sizable one, not because of a particularly high rating as a middle-of-the-road recruit, but because he was an offensive lineman. Pitt's offensive line had some well-documented struggles this season and the team is woefully thin there, particularly with the losses of seniors Lucas Nix and Greg Gaskins this year. And if Chris Jacobson doesn't get a sixth year of eligibility due to an injury this season, the line will be even weaker. Pankey's decommitment really hurt the Panthers.
2. Rushel Shell and Chad Voytik are actually Panthers - Sure, these guys had both repeatedly said they were remaining at Pitt. But until their names were signed on the dotted line, there was always reason for a little concern. Fortunately for the Panthers, both signed and are now officially Panthers. There's now telling how good either will be, but Pitt desperately needed to hold onto both ... and they did.
1. Bam Bradley and Deaysean Rippy decide Pitt is it - Neither Bradley nor Rippy are as highly touted as Shell or Voytik, but both are big-time recruits. Neither was committed to the Panthers beforehand and their signings were icing on the cake. Bradley is a three-star defensive back who reportedly picked Pitt over schools such as Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Michigan State, and West Virginia. Rippy, a former Florida commit, is rated even higher as a four-star linebacker. He ended up selecting Pitt over many of the same schools targeting Bradley and other powerhouses such as Alabama, USC, Auburn, Michigan, and others. The signing of both gave Pitt's class a much needed boost by the end of the day.