Pitt's Recruiting Class Looks To Make Quick Impact
By James Ferguson
True Pitt fans know where I am headed with this one: the offensive line. The Pitt Panthers' offensive line gave quarterback Tom Savage no time in the pocket; he was sacked 43 times. Yes, you read that right: 43.
Another point to add, the Panthers averaged 125 rushing yards per game this season, which put them out of the Top 100 in FBS.
Offensive tackle Alex Bookser might be the answer to both problems for the Panthers. Bookser, the 6-foot-6, 295-pound incoming freshman from Mount Lebanon, Pa., is ranked as the 13th-best offensive tackle in the nation according to ESPN. Bookser and last season's biggest recruit, offensive tackle Dorian Johnson, could form a very nice duo for the Panthers on each end of the line.
Projected starting quarterback Chad Voytik will be in luck as he will have either Bookser or Johnson to protect him at all times on the field. This also will set up for the running game, making open lanes for James Conner and company.
Wide receiver Adonis Jennings, the 19th-best wideout recruit in the nation according to ESPN, will make an immediate impact for the Panthers. He had 22 other offers from FBS schools, including ACC opponent Clemson. The choice could have been easy for Jennings to go to Clemson to replace future NFL first rounder Sammy Watkins; however, Jennings picked Pitt over Clemson. It shows that Jennings trusts the Pitt program and the direction in which it is headed.
Jennings is known for his hands and his ability to make plays in traffic, which will give him the advantage while opposition focuses on Tyler Boyd. The 6-foot-3 receiver will be a prime target for Voytik next season, and he will have the chance to shine on the field, splitting the defense between him and Boyd.
Jennings is also my steal for the 2014 Pitt recruiting class. He had so many other offers from FBS schools with weaker receiving corps, his commitment may put the Panthers in play for big-time recruits in the future. Jennings will get his chance to give the Pitt offense a boost, due to his size and ability. His stature also lists him as the tallest wideout on Pitt's roster for next season. The chance to get a playmaker like Jennings could affect Pitt's offensive game plan next season.
The most underrated player of the class may be running back Chris James. With Conner getting the carries, James could possibly see action on outside tosses or third-down situations. His speed and running style could be a nice compliment to Conner as the pair try to return the run game to respectability. Conner was underrated last season and even though they have different running styles, James could be a dark horse to make a name for himself in the ACC.
The Pitt recruiting class should make a quick impact on offense, especially with the additions of Bookser and Jennings, who could see early playing time. The Panthers are headed in the right direction, but need some young talent to develop at key positions, especially the offensive line.