Two Pitt programs arrive at a critical crossroads Saturday when the school’s basketball team looks for its first Big East victory and coach Paul Chryst’s football recruits get an up-close look at the campus.
ESPN GameDay will be there, too, for a matchup between Pitt and Louisville that sounded more interesting in the offseason than it does now, with the teams combining to win only two of 12 conference games.
But the focus here is football — John Grupp will take care of the basketball end of things.
One of the more interesting scheduled visitors to the Pete on Saturday is defensive lineman Terrell Jackson of Marion Franklin High School in Columbus, Ohio.
Jackson has been incredibly productive in Ohio’s second-largest classification (Division 2), with 21 1/2 sacks during his senior season.
When I asked Marion Franklin coach Brian Haffele how many sacks Jackson has in three varsity seasons, Haffele laughed and said he doesn’t know. “But it’s probably close to 40.”
Jackson is a bright athlete, with a grade-point average of more than 3.5, according to Haffele. He also has been the lead in two school plays at Marion Franklin.
He committed to Duke, but is still looking. Illinois and Minnesota are Pitt’s competition at the moment, but Michigan State may get involved, Haffele said.
Jackson tore his labrum and had surgery before his junior season, which may be the reason Ohio State is not interested.
Jackson has built good relationships with Pitt assistant Joe Rudolph and Illinois coach Tim Beckman, the former coach at Toledo. In fact, Beckman offered Jackson a Toledo scholarship the day after his shoulder surgery.
At 6-3, 280 pounds and a 4.7-second 40 time, according to Haffele, Jackson has the skills to develop into a good player at a position of need, with Pitt losing two good ones in seniors Chas Alecxih and Myles Caragein.
Pitt has three defensive linemen on its verbal commitment list: Myles Hilliard of Bedford, Ohio; Tyrique Jarrett of Allderdice; and Darryl Render of St. Edward (Ohio) High School.