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One of the strengths of the 2020 Pitt Panthers will be the talent and depth they possess at defensive end. Charlie Partridge will enter camp looking at a depth chart that includes Rashad Weaver, Patrick Jones, Deslin Alexandre, Habakkuk Baldonado, John Morgan, Bam Brima, Bryce Nelms and Dayon Hayes.
Due to graduation–and the reality that you can never have too much talent at that position–the Pitt coaches are looking for their next great defensive end as they’re out recruiting for their Class of 2021.
One player that’s high on their wish list, as well as lot of other Power Five programs’, is 4-star defensive end George Rooks from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey.
— Jersey Sports Zone (@JSZ_Sports) November 25, 2019
Despite being in regular communication with him for many months, Rooks (6’5″, 250) officially received the news last week that he’d received an offer from Pitt. His long and impressive offer list now includes programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
“Yes, I still get excited about every offer, every opportunity that I get,” Rooks tells Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Pitt is a great school and I always get back to them because they’ve been in touch with me a lot and showing me a lot of love. Now that they’ve given me the offer and opportunity that’s great. It’s always great when a coach and a team give me an offer and an opportunity to possibly attend their school.”
Rooks tells PSN that Tim Salem has been his lead recruiter and the two of them aren’t talking X’s and O’s or anything real serious yet, it’s mostly been getting to know each other which is important to him.
“My communication with Pitt has been real good,” said Rooks. “Every week they contact me about random stuff and checking in to see how I’m doing. That’s what it’s all about because you got to be a family with the coaches if you’re going to go to a school. For them to reach out as much as they’ve done to me and now giving me the offer, it’s great.”
“We haven’t talked defensive scheme or how I’d project their yet. That will come later as I’m hoping to make a visit there real soon and when I do, we’ll talk more football.”
Speaking of football, Rooks believes his versatility and technique on the defensive line is his most attractive qualities to these college programs.
— George Rooks (@georgerooks_) December 2, 2019
“I play all over the place and play both ends so I’m really versatile. When coaches see me, they’ll see that I can really use his hands and his feet. For me, I just want to make plays and get into the backfield as quick as I can.”
Starting in a couple weeks, juniors will start making unofficial visit to various college programs. Considering his impressive list of offers, Rooks will be getting plenty of invitations and will have his choice on where he wants to visit. I asked him what’s that process going to be like and what factors will weigh into where he chooses to make trips to?
“I’ve definitely put a list together but I’ll keep that private for now,” said Rooks. “In terms of where I visit, they have to feel like a family atmosphere and they have to treat me and my family right. The love between the two sides has to feel mutual or there’s no point in going to visit there.”
When I asked Rooks about anything that initially stands out about Pitt aside from the attention they’re giving him, he mentioned the amount of NFL players they’re producing as well as his friendship with Pitt redshirt freshman defensive end Bryce Nelms, who’s from West Orange, New Jersey.
Rooks is currently rated as a Top 120 recruit by Rivals and one of the Top 10 junior defensive ends.