FBS RankingOffenseDefense
Rushing239.1 (20th)96.6 (5th)
Passing178.9 (107th)298.9 (122nd)

Panthers report: Inside slant

The Sports Xchange
Strategy and personnel · Inside slant · Notes, quotes

Todd Graham takes over the Pittsburgh program from Dave Wannstedt following a disappointing season which led to the veteran coach's dismissal and a botched hiring and firing of Mike Haywood Miami of Ohio.

Graham came in from Tulsa, where he had built one of the nation's most exciting offenses, and he put together a staff that included a number of former Rich Rodriguez assists -- like himself -- who helped build WVU into an offensive power.

Getting a late start on recruiting, Graham did not have a highly-rated class but he will not worry about that.

"It has been challenging, but that is what makes this business so great," Graham said. "The foundation of our program is to bring men of great character into the program. But, when you start talking about personnel, our philosophy is one that is very unique so we're not real concerned about rankings, we're not real concerned about what everybody else is doing.

"We're concerned about our unique philosophy and our unique approach. We look for character, work ethic, discipline, and those are the characteristics you are going to find in this class."

Graham's work will be cut out as he takes over the remains of a team that ran a traditional pro offense and not the high-speed spread that he will be installing in the spring. He also will be without top running back Dion Lewis and deep receiving threat Jon Baldwin, both of whom declared early for the NFL.


LB Nicholas Grigsby (Trotwood-Madison, Trotwood, Ohio) -- One of the top linebckers in Ohio,Grigsby had 154 tackles with four sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception returned 70 yards for a touchdown. He had 10.5 tackles in the state championship game.

DB Lafayette Pitts (Woodland Hills High, Pittsburgh) -- One of Western Pennsylvania's most highly coveted prospects, the 5-11, 180-pound defensive back will reunite with a pair of fellow Woodland Hills prospects at Pitt in his cousin, Jevonte Pitts, a freshman defensive back, and freshman defensive lineman Khaynin Mosley-Smith. A talented athlete, Pitts rushed for 1,658 yards with 28 TD, averaging 8.1 yards a carry as a running back.

RB Malcolm Crockett (Friendship Collegiate Academy, Washington, D.C.) -- With only one scholarship running back returning, Pitt landed four in this class and the most acclaimed is 5-10, 180-pound Crockett who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and scored 20 touchdowns as a junior and senior. Although limited to seven games by an ankle sprain his senior season, he gained 810 yards and have five TD.

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