Summertime is also a huge recruiting time. There have been big headlines out of several Big East schools, but there is one program that has given some fans cause for concern.
Here is a recent note I got into the mailbag.
Pitt-fanatic in Pittsburgh writes: Andrea, Great job with everything that has been going on. There is no shortage of material for a Big East blogger these days. There is much speculation and concern about the future. However, my biggest concern is not related to the conference and strikes a little closer to home. Before the hiring of Coach (Paul) Chryst, the biggest question surrounding him was his recruiting skills. Question answered as the Pitt staff are getting their tails whipped and losing recruits that in the past have typically been shoe-ins. There is no doubt the man can coach, which addresses a huge need -- Pitt has had good talent and poor coaching in recent years. Is it him or Pitt?
And what is the possibility that Tom Bradley could join the staff next year? I know Pitt does not want anything to do with a coach tied up in the Penn State situation, but I have not heard his name mentioned in any of it. He was also present at Pitt's spring practices and said to have developed a good relationship with Coach Chryst. He has established himself as one of the best recruiters in the game and could be a valuable asset. As always, thank you for answering our questions.
-- Discouraged Pitt Fan
It is true that Chryst was not known as the strongest recruiter during his time at Wisconsin. But as with most every coaching transition, it might take some time to establish your footing in the area. As Jerry DiPaola wrote last week in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the number of five-star prospects in the Western Pennsylvania area has dropped as well.
Since ESPN has a terrific staff that can answer your questions, I turned to Jared Shanker of ESPN Recruiting Nation to help expound upon what is going on with Pitt. Shanker said:
"Pitt's class is far from spectacular, and I can understand the frustration as top Western Pennsylvania targets like Dorian Johnson and Pat Kugler are going elsewhere, and Pitt isn't exactly in great shape to land other area four-star prospects such as Robert Foster, Tyler Boyd and Delton Williams. However, it is Chryst's first recruiting class, so I wouldn't be too hard on him yet. If the results turn around on the field, then it will help Chryst and the new staff get a stronger foothold on keeping Western Pa. recruits in the area.
"As for Bradley, not sure where he would fit on the staff. Dave Huxtable came with Chryst from Wisconsin, and (Bradley) might not be interested in being just a position coach. He is beloved in Western Pennsylvania, though."
Keep in mind that Pitt does have commitments from four-star running back Corey Clement, and highly regard quarterback Tra'Von Chapman, two areas of need for this team.
As for Bradley, I agree with Shanker. It took lot for Huxtable to leave his spot at Wisconsin. And if I am Pitt, I want absolutely nothing to do with anybody tied to Penn State. Bradley is a good coach, but I wonder if he is worth hiring anywhere given the enormity of the scandal in State College.