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Penn State Writer Accuses Pitt of Dirty Recruiting

I don't subscribe to the Penn State site "Blue and White Illustrated", but it certainly sounds like they recently posted some interesting reading. 

In an article penned by Phil Grosz for the site, the writer basically accuses Pitt of capitalizing on the recent health problems of Joe Paterno for the purpose of recruiting, especially in the recent case of DT Marquise Wright. 

Says Grosz:
It now appears that Penn State's recruiting competition, particularly Pitt, has seized on that opportunity to place doubt in players' minds like Wright, DB/WR Brandon Phelps from Demascus (Md.) who committed to Virginia, and quite possibly Rivals250 members DE Shawn Oakman from Lansdowne (Pa.) Pennwood and CB Kyshoen Jarrett from East Stroudsburg (Pa.) South.

It seems Pitt in particular has been successful in placing doubt in prospects' minds about Paterno's health and has convinced a number of prospective recruits that both teams aru e recruiting that the Nittany Lions' program is in a downward spiral.
There's no way Grosz knows exactly what Pitt is telling recruits, so this comes across as rather speculative. But if we're going to speculate, why single out Pitt? Just because they're having some success in New Jersey? 

If Penn State has concerns that people are using Paterno's health issues against them, that hardly would qualify as breaking news. Paterno's been "old", at least by coaching standards, for a long time. I have zero connections with college recruiting, but wouldn't any kid making such an important choice wonder about the head of the program's well-being? That just seems to be common sense.

If Pitt (or any other school) is starting conversations with, "...well, Joe hasn't been in the best of health lately...", then that's not the way I would want to make my initial pitch to a player. And I highly doubt that Penn State is the first thing mentioned when he tries to lure a kid to Pitt.

But facts are facts. Penn State's coach is going to be 84 years old in a few months, and he did miss several appearances in May and June. If they want to eliminate that as a potential negative in recruiting, they are free to make any move they please. It's fine that they choose to stick with Paterno, for a variety of reasons, but they must also be aware that they're leaving the door open for stories like this in the process. 

There's another way Penn State can settle their alleged beef with the Panthers, but until they're ready to meet them on the gridiron, I guess we'll have to settle for internet arrow-slinging between the schools' fans.


Unknown said...

Its fairly obvious that recruits choose a school based primarily on who is coaching them. Of course a lot of kids would want to play for a legend like Paterno in a first-class storied clean program that plays to 100k+ loyal fans and tens of thousands of loyal alumni. That said, the guy is in his 80s. He's ten years over the average life span of a white American male. I think that is valid, just like saying that a kid should be careful looking at USC because of their recent history of infractions or because Lane Kiffin jumps from school to school like he's a Calipari recruit. All valid - PSU is just pissing and moaning becuase they are getting outrecruited in what was once their hallowed ground.

How about the stud DB from New Jersey who got passed up by EVERYBODY only to walk on at Boise State and is now an All-American. Unfair to Penn State?

the nigerian nightmare said...

Can't really argue with using that as a con when trying to recruit kids that are also looking at PSU. That being said, the previous comment and the article are making it sound like the PSU administration came out and bitched about was some internet writer on some PSU fan-site.

the nigerian nightmare said...

And also, where anywhere in the quotes from that story does it call Pitt's tactics dirty? Keep mongering the PSU hate.

Wags said...

I have no problem with Pitt doing this.. Penn State has been using the same tactic for decades simply by saying "you really want to play for Pitt?"


Anonymous said...

Got to agree with nigerian. It doesn't say dirty anywhere. It actually seems to be giving them credit for successfully using a good recruiting tactic. Teams have tried to use JoePa's age for years, this article is just saying that it seems to be working now and addresses how to fix it.

JoePa never really meets with or visits recruits anyway so I don't think his health is a huge issue. Just a slow start to this season. We had the best recruiting class in the Big 10 last season. nothing to freak out about yet.

Unknown said...

a shameless post to solicit comments (shaking my head)... ;)

BurressWithButterflywings said...

This isn't really a story at all. I am sure most schools do that same thing.

I have seen in-game features on Pete Carroll's son using his playing experience under Walt Harris to deter recruits from going to Stanford over USC. OF course, that wasn't even the beginning of USC's recruiting tactics but that's neither here nor there.

Also, if Pitt did use dirty tactics, that wouldn't surprise me either.

okel dokel said...

I like the picture of Joe. That is a nice way to flip the bird.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...


I'm pretty sure part of recruiting has always been making the guys you're recruiting against look bad.

What do you want them to say when they're trying to recruit these kids, "Penn State's the awesomest school ever... but come to Pitt instead!"

No, they're going to try and make the competition sound bad.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...
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Jim said...

If Penn State is losing recruits left and right because of concerns about JoePa's health, then why don't they put an end to it by naming a successor to him. Put yourself in the shoes of a high school kid about to commit the next four years at a school. You want some reassurance that the coaching staff is going to be there. If you transfer, you have to sit out a year. I'm a Penn State fan, but I can understand why some recruits are hesitant to commit to a situation that might change while they're in school.

Adam said...

@ Jim

Despite what Don might want you to believe, Penn State isn't losing recruits left and right. It lost Marquise Wright after dominating Pitt in it's own back yard for the last two years running.

BURGH08 said...

I think this speaks more for the 'blogger' than Pitt or Penn State.

His post has words like "seems" and "appears", nothing factual that would prove this actually happened.

Using his own language, it "seems" like Groz had a hard on for an 18 year old kid playing in a Penn State uniform, and it "appears" he needs someone to blame for his fantasy not coming true.

This guy actually is a journalist?

Adam said...

None of the people who write for the Rivals sites are true journalists. They're job is to sell subscriptions ala Chip Brown at They get good information, but add subtleties to stir things up, in Grosz's case, implying a Penn State accusation of Pitt of foul play in recruiting where there was none.

My folks tell me Penn State backed off Wright a while ago for commitment type reasons. Grosz has to know this. He's trying to sell subscriptions, though, by baiting blogs like this one into hyping a recruiting war that doesn't exist.

BURGH08 said...

If that 'sells', there truly is a sucker born every minute.

Adam said...

You've obviously never ventured into the message boards on those sites.

Unknown said...

@Adam: You're right - Penn State isn't losing recruits. I forgot that Terrelle Pryor chose Penn State.

BURGH08 said...

"You've obviously never ventured into the message boards on those sites."

Not on one I have to pay for. Hey, it's your money.