24 hours from now all the talk will be over and we’ll actually get to watch Pitt-Penn State on the football field. After a 16 year wait, the bragging and trash talk will be here and I can’t wait. Pittsburgh Sports Now will be at Heinz Field all day to provide you with in-depth coverage so check in early and often.
** The question of “Does the game mean anything” has been brought up all week. I think it’s fair to say that from the Pitt side everyone acknowledges that it does. As far as Penn State goes, I think it’s silly for anyone to suggest the game doesn’t have real meaning, etc.
Ask the winning coach of this game how much ammunition they’ll have recruiting Pennsylvania and then try to tell me this game doesn’t have meaning. Elite Pennsylvania recruits like Lamont Wade, Donovan Jeter, Kwantel Raines, Shaquon Anderson-Butts, Julian Major and Kevin Doyle will be at Heinz Field and I’m sure tomorrow’s game will leave an impression with them.
UPDATE (5:38 AM)-
** The Pitt football team won’t be the only ones with recruits at the game. For the 2nd straight week, Kevin Stallings and the basketball team will be taking recruits to Heinz Field.
One of those players is 2018 small forward Jerome Hunter from Pickerington, Ohio. Per 247 Sports, Hunter is a Top 150 recruit and one of the top 40 small forwards. Currently, Hunter holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Dayton, Penn State, West Virginia and Xavier.
“Well they’ve been in contact with me, my mom and my coaches for a couple of weeks now and they wanted me up there for a football game. So Saturday I’m going up there for a football game and meet with the coaches,” said Hunter.
Hunter tells me that for the most part, Pitt coaches have spoken to his mother and basketball coach regarding his recruitment. Tomorrow will be a chance for him to get personal interaction with the Panther staff.
” They haven’t talked about an offer so I really don’t know what their thinking and yes my recruitment is still open.”
UPDATE (7:47 AM)-
** Heinz Field will be filled with recruits tomorrow who’ll be checking out the Pitt/Penn State game. This morning I confirmed another elite recruit that will be in attendance. New Castle 2018 athlete Marcus Hooker tells me that he’ll be at Heinz Field. Hooker is rated as a 4-star recruit by 247 Sports and is getting heavy interest from both Pitt and Penn State.
** According to Adam Finkelstein from @ESPNRNHoops, Kevin Stallings will be at New Hampton School today to visit with 4-star forward Kimani Lawrence, who has Pitt in his Top 5.
UPDATE (8:05 AM)-
** Two more recruits have told PSN that they’ll be at the big game tomorrow. The names of 2018 Penn Hills WR Julian Major and 2018 Clevleland 4-star DE Tyreke Smith can be added to the list. Smith is a big-time talent with offers from Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, Maryland and Rutgers.
UPDATE (9:20 AM)-
**Within the last 30 minutes, I received messages from 3 huge recruits that will be at Heinz Field tomorrow-
2018 4-star TE Trenton Gillison from Pickerington, Ohio. Gillison (6-5, 220) holds offers from Pitt, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Kentucky, etc.
2017 4-star DE TyJuan Garbutt from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Garbutt is rated as one of the Top 10 defensive ends in the country.
I also got a message from 2018 4-star Mars shooting guard Robby Carmody. This is interesting as the Pitt hoops staff continues to make a push to make an impression with Carmody.
UPDATE (1:20 PM) by Alan Saunders-
At 1:07 p.m. (props for irony), Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes dropped a bomb on Twitter:
Visiting team returned tickets for tomorrow. Will be making them available for Panther Nation. Stay tuned. #H2P
— Scott Barnes (@PittADBarnes) September 9, 2016
The Nittany Lions had 3,300 tickets to sell to their fans and alumni, and apparently came up short. One source told PSN that the number of tickets returned was around 100. A Penn State-based source said the number was closer to 50.
While that’s not even a significant fraction of the number of tickets sold to PSU fans, and has practically no bearing on the number that will be in attendance Saturday, it’s not a good look for a fanbase that is planning on a “White Out Heinz.”
UPDATE (1:40 PM) by Alan Saunders-
Pitt 2017 running back commit Todd Sibley has accepted an invitation to play in the Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
“I feel like it will help me prepare for how fast it is and how good everyone is, and I think the competition of being with the best players around the country will only bring out the best in me, so I’m excited,” Sibley told the USA Today.
Sibley will be in attendance at Heinz Field Saturday for the Pitt-Penn State game.