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Pitt BBQ: Well Done

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For the first time, the Pitt football staff played host to 11 prospective recruits with a barbecue Saturday. The big news, however, came via a phone call by one of the Panthers’ prized targets.

Avon Lake (Ohio) tight end Dan Schneider gave a verbal commitment to Pitt yesterday afternoon, becoming the Panthers’ 17th recruit from the Class of 2010 and fourth from Ohio.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Schneider, regarded as one of the top 50 players in Ohio, had nearly 20 scholarship offers and chose Pitt over Cincinnati, Florida State and West Virginia. Schneider is the second tight end to commit to Pitt this summer, joining Brendan Carozzoni of Cleveland St. Ignatius.

“The stars kind of aligned,” Schneider said. “Everything worked out perfectly.”

· Speaking of the tight end recruits, Schneider told me Saturday that he is looking forward to playing alongside Carozzoni for the first time when they get to Pitt. They have known each other since fourth grade, when Schneider played basketball at St. Joseph in Avon Lake, Carozzoni at St. Christopher in Rocky River and again for opposing summer clubs.

“He was always tall and skinnier, and I was always bulkier before I thinned out as I grew up,” Schneider said. “It was fun. It was always a challenge to guard him.”

· Four prospects with scholarship offers attended the BBQ: defensive end Sherard Cadogan (6-foot-3, 227 pounds) of Cherry Hill (N.J.) Camden Catholic; receiver Shakim Phillips (6-2, 191) of Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic; defensive back Brendon Felder (5-10, 163) of Gateway; and offensive guard Shane Johnson (6-5, 300) of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic.

Gateway cornerback Dayonne Nunley and St. Ignatius quarterback Mark Myers also were among the attendees. The Panthers wanted to keep the affair intimate, and Carozzoni, Wilmington’s Derrick Burns, tailback Andre Givens of Hubbard (Ohio), Woodland Hills defensive lineman Khaynin Mosley-Smith and Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt receiver Salath Williams were among the visitors who have given Pitt a verbal commitment.

· Finally, I’ll be attending the Big East’s media day events Monday and Tuesday in Newport, R.I., and will have more news and nuggets to report after speaking with the conference’s coaches and top players. Joining Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt will be tight end Nate Byham, right guard John Malecki and defensive end Greg Romeus.

· Pitt media day is Aug. 10, and training camp opens Aug. 11.

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