Sunday, December 1, 2013
Recruits react to Pitt, GaTech, UVa losses
By Jared Shanker
Rivalry weekend in the ACC did not receive the same attention as it did elsewhere, but several recruits took some time on their Thanksgiving weekend to either check out or tune in to games involving conference schools.
The most important visit probably happened on Friday at Heinz Field as Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), the top player in Pennsylvania, drove down Interstate 376 to visit Pittsburgh. Henry lists a top five of Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, so he had a chance to see two of his top schools.
“He loved the Miami style of play,” his father, Roland, said.
The problem is that Miami could be close to finishing off its class with its sights set on elite receiver Johnnie Dixon, who should decide soon.
Roland Henry said that although Dravon recently extended his top group, this still is probably a Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia battle for the ESPN 300 defensive back. With the Mountaineers as Henry’s leader, the Panthers needed to make up ground on Friday. A 41-31 loss was not the kind of result that was going to help Pitt’s cause, and so West Virginia still leads in this race.
Pittsburgh did make a major impression on one of its key commitments, however. Three-star running back Chris James (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame), the No. 2 prospect in Pitt’s class, made his official visit to the Steel City. He tweeted how hard it is going to be to leave his family in Illinois, but following his visit he has no second thoughts about continuing his career in western Pennsylvania.
“Hanging out with the team was extremely fun,” James said, who added the food was also one of the best parts of his visit.
A top target in the 2016 class is Aaron Matthews, who comes from Clairton (Pa.) High School. That high school should sound familiar to Pitt fans as it has been a pipeline for the Panthers for the past decade. Star freshman Tyler Boyd is from the same high school as are fellow freshmen Titus Howard and Terrish Webb.
“He likes it there because of our kids being there,” Clairton assistant Eric Fusco said. “… I could see him going to Pitt but I can just as easy see him leave, especially if he gets some SEC or Pac-12 offers eventually.”
Elsewhere in the ACC, three-star 2015 prospect Corey Bell (Cornelius, N.C./Hough) canceled his North Carolina visit to check out Georgia Tech. Bell was at UNC two weekends ago so it was not a huge blow for the Tar Heels, who have offered. It was an added bonus for the Yellow Jackets, though.
“It was great. I had a fun time,” said Bell, who has Duke at the top of his list. “I could see myself playing there. Hopefully, they offer when they come visit in a few weeks.”
Virginia coach Mike London suffered another ACC loss, dropping the Cavaliers to 2-10 and winless in the ACC. The administration has backed London, however, and UVa arguably has its best class ever coming in 2014. Among those are five-stars Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding. On Twitter, Blanding made it clear he plans to be in Charlottesville and this most recent Cavs season has not impacted his decision one bit.