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Pat Signal: Charles Reeves Picks Pitt

Pitt snags their third TE commit of the 2017 class

Pitt is in desperate need of talent and depth at the tight end position and it shows in the upcoming recruiting class. The Panthers already had two commits at the position. Things got even better this morning, as Steubenville, OH tight end, Charles Reeves committed to Pat Narduzzi and Pitt.— Charles Reeves Jr©®™ (@munchhiie_17) October 26, 2016

The announcement ends an interesting recruiting story, as Reeves was originally committed to Kentucky, but opened back up and then ended it this morning. Reeves is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals and 247, but a four-star on Scout. His tight end ratings, in the same order, are 27th, 13th, and all the way up to number five on Scout.

The Panthers beat out a slew of other big-time programs for Reeves’ services. Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska were among his top choices, according to Rivals. Scout also credits him as having offers from Alabama and Tennessee. Reeves is the 16th commit in the class and the third tight end for 2017. The decision follows a couple of delayed announcements by the big prospect. He had originally said he would announce two previous times and then said later on this month, before deciding on Pitt this morning.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

Against the Odds: Pitt vs. Virginia Tech

Checking the betting line for the Va Tech game

Pitt enters the big Thursday night showdown with Virginia Tech as an underdog. As of now, Virginia Tech will come into Heinz Field as a 4 1/2-point favorite (up slightly from the opening line of four) for the primetime national TV game on ESPN. The Hokies support a 5-2 record and check in 25th in the most recent rankings.

Virginia Tech has been pretty impressive this season, especially on defense. The are 11th nationally in total defense, which has been a staple of the Bud Foster era. The difference this season appears to be a more wide open offense that is putting up more points than in recent seasons. Junior quarterback Jerod Evans is having a pretty ridiculous season with 1,611 passing yards and 19 touchdown passes. He’s also a capable runner, and had a season-high 98 yards in their win against Miami last week.

So pretty much, Pitt is facing a team with a strong defense and a quarterback that can pass and is mobile. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Those strengths can definitely exploit Pitt’s weaknesses. This very well could be the best team Pitt has faced this season as a whole.

Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. Pitt is a pretty good team in their own right, and it’s a four point spread, not a 40 point spread - it should be a good game. They have played well at home this season, and are 4-0 at Heinz Field. The Panthers are alwo enjoying one of their best offensive seasons in school history, as they have put up 36 or more points in each of their last six games.

There is also history on Pitt’s side. Pitt has won two straight against Virginia Tech, including a Thursday Night showcase like this two years ago. In fact, Pitt has won 6 of the last 7 meetings with the Hokies, and that spans multiple coaching regimes. As a whole, Pitt just matches up well with the Hokies.

I think four points is a fair spread, but I’m tempted to take Pitt. It’s a must win for both teams who still have a chance of winning the ACC Coastal Division. I think both teams have a shot in this one, but it might be a different kind of Pitt-Virginia Tech game then we are used to seeing. Points will be scored. Last year’s game was 17-13 in favor of Pitt, but I expect a few more points to be scored this time.

What do you think? Can Pitt score the big nationally televised win?

UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast w/ Corey Cohen (S2 Ep 7)

In this episode of UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast, Corey Cohen welcomes Jim Hammett to discuss Pitt's chances in the ACC Coastal and their Thursday night matchup vs. Virginia Tech.

In this episode of UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast, Corey Cohen welcomes Jim Hammett to discuss Pitt's chances in the ACC Coastal and their Thursday night matchup vs. Virginia Tech. Plus they answer the Three Rivers Pack of Questions along with choosing a Panther of the Week.

Please follow us on Twitter @CoreyECohen and @JimHammett along with subscribing to the podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Pitt vs. Virginia Tech: Breaking Down the Two-Deep

Looking at the depth chart for the Virginia Tech game

QB - 1. Nate Peterman 2. Manny Stocker

Nate Peterman had a pretty ordinary game against Virginia. He was 11-21 for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushed for 26 yards as well. He made some nice throws, but missed some pretty easy ones, including a sure touchdown on a flea flicker. I don’t think he played bad or anything, but he could have done some things better. Looking at the numbers on the season for Peterman, they are fairly solid and he’s running a tight ship. 11 touchdowns to two interceptions? I’m fine with that. I also like he’s able to get some yards on the ground as well. I still think he could be better, and with these next three games he might have to be.

RB - 1. James Conner 2. Chawntez Moss OR Darrin Hall OR Qadree Ollison

James Conner had a very nice game against Virginia. He rushed 20 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 28 yards. Conner is up to 531 rushing yards and 197 receiving yards on the season, which is good for eighth in the ACC in All Purpose Yards. It might not seem like it, but Conner is having a really nice season. It’s been slow at times, and it’s not like 2014, but he’s been key for this team.

Chawntez Moss continues to be the second running back in the rotation. He had some nice runs against Virginia, and has been strong since joining the regular rotation in week three. Ollison had one touch last week, while Darrin Hall hasn’t seen the ball since the North Carolina game.

FB - 1. George Aston 2. Jaymar Parrish

George Aston scored his fifth touchdown of the season in the Virginia game. He continues to be an important weapon near the goal line, and his versatility really opens up the offense as a whole.

WR - 1. Jester Weah Quadree Henderson 2. Aaron Mathews OR Maurice Ffrench Tre Tipton 3. Rafael Araujo-Lopes

Jester Weah caught two passes against Virginia, but the big one was a 38 yard touchdown in the first half. He now leads the team with 19 receptions, 402 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Weah has really stepped up this season, and I’m not sure anyone really expected it. We always heard about his talent, but it’s nice to see it translate to the games.

Tre Tipton had two receptions against the Cavaliers, and has seemingly emerged as the #3 option among the receivers. He has seemingly gotten more involved in the offense each and every week, and he is responding.

Beyond that, the other four receivers played against Virginia, but not one of them caught a pass. However, three of them carried the ball. Quadree Henderson wasn’t nearly as involved as usual, I think he was slightly dinged up but I would expect to see him at full strength Thursday. Araujo-Lopes and Ffrench both had some carries late in the fourth quarter, nothing major from either, but Lopes did break one for 12 yards. Aaron Mathews was in the game plan and was targeted a couple of times, but did not record a catch.

TE - 1. Scott Orndoff 2. Jaymar Parrish

Scott Orndoff has three catches for 25 yards in the UVA game. He is tied for second on the team in receptions with 17 and touchdown catches with 2. Orndoff has always been a reliable target, and he may need to come down with some big plays against the Hokies.

LT - 1. Adam Bisnowaty 2. Aaron Reese

LG - 1. Dorian Johnson 2. Carson Baker

C - 1. Alex Officer 2. Connor Dintino

RG - 1. Alex Bookser 2. John Guy

RT - 1. Brian O’Neill 2. Jaryd Jones-Smith

Pitt put up 346 yards of offense against Virginia. The Panthers also possessed the ball for 36 minutes and posted a season high 45 points. The offensive line has been a big part of the success of the team this season. Dorian Johnson got a few mentions of mid-season of being a mid-season All-America, and rightfully so. The line has been great in run blocking, and Nate Peterman generally has enough time to make his throws. Nobody is perfect, but I can’t imagine there are many lines as a whole better than Pitt’s.

DE - 1. Ejuan Price Rori Blair 2. James Folston Allen Edwards 3. Rashad Weaver

Ejuan Price leads the nation with 9 sacks, and is third in tackles for loss with 13. Price left the Virginia game with an apparent injury. It didn’t look major and I expect him ready to go for Thursday, not that the Pitt coaching staff would tell us anyway.

Rori Blair had a very big game with two sacks. He’s up to 3.5 on the season, which is second on the team. Pitt’s pass rush is key against Virginia Tech, and I think they may need 4 or 5 sacks to beat the Hokies.

DT - 1. Shakir Soto 2. Jeremiah Taleni 3. Amir Watts

A bit of a change here as Jeremiah Taleni rises to the #2 spot here. Taleni managed to get on the field for the first time against Virginia and recorded a tackle. The junior from Hawaii has only appeared in 15 games in his career, we’ll see what he can bring to the table.

NT - 1. Tyrique Jarrett 2. Shane Roy OR Mike Herndon

Tyrique Jarrett posted four tackles against UVA. He’s now up to 20 stops this year, which matches his season total from last season. He’s making less plays behind the line of scrimmage, but he’s making plays overall. His conditioning is also much better. Pitt is strong in runs up the middle, and he’s the main component in that.

Money LB - 1. Mike Caprara 2. Saleem Brightwell

We’ll see if Mike Caprara can get on the field this week. The senior has missed the last three games. Bam Bradley got the start last game, but he left with an injury. Could that mean more time for redshirt freshmen Saleem Brightwell?

Mike LB - 1. Matt Galambos 2. Quintin Wirginis

Galambos led Pitt with seven tackles against Virginia, and he is fourth on the team in tackles this season. Galambos is having a relatively solid senior season, but nothing outstanding. He seemed to make bigger plays last season with sacks, interceptions, ect. It would be nice to get a big play from him Thursday night. Fake punt anyone?

Star LB - 1. Seun Idowu 2. Bam Bradley

Idowu had six stops in the UVA game, as he has held onto this job since week two. I wonder if Caprara can return to game action, would that put some pressure on this position? Bradley had a sack against Virginia, and has been playing well recently. He deserves to be on the field, assuming he’s healthy himself.

CB - 1. Philipie Motley OR Avonte Maddox Ryan Lewis 2. Damar Hamlin Dane Jackson

The big thing here is the health of Avonte Maddox. He did not play in the UVA game, and we’re still not sure if he is playing. Motley started in his place, and handled himself alright. He gave up some big plays, but did knock down a few passes as well. I thought Dane Jackson did some nice things when he was on the field. Oh and, Damar Hamlin on the depth chart again. Is this the week?

FS - 1. Terrish Webb OR Reggie Mitchell

Terrish Webb left the Virginia game with an injury. It’s unclear if he will go as an injury is a guarded secret with this coaching staff. I expect Reggie Mitchell will get the reps, and I think he’s played well during his playing time this season.

SS - 1. Jordan Whitehead OR Reggie Mitchell 2. Dennis Briggs

Jordan Whitehead had his best game of the 2016 season. It wasn’t just the pick six, or the 28 rushing yards. He seemed more engaged in making tackles and plays then in previous weeks.

K - Chris Blewitt P - Ryan Winslow LS - Pat Quirin

Chris Blewitt missed a field goal for the first time since the Penn State game, and was 1-2 against Virginia.

KR/PR - 1. Quadree Henderson 2. Avonte Maddox

Quadree Henderson struck again for a kick return, the third of his career. Could he make a big special teams play on Thursday night? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Michael Young named as a preseason candidate for the Karl Malone Award

Yeah, I know - go figure, right? No, I hadn't heard of the Karl Malone Award, either.

That's mostly because it's a relatively new award. Created by the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2015, this is only the third season the award will be given. The Karl Malone Award, given to the top power forward, is one of five positional awards give by the Hall of Fame.

The others are the Bob Cousy Award (top point guard), the Jerry West Award (top shooting guard), the Julius Erving Award (top small forward), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (top center).

Young is one of 20 players on the list and with most of these things, he will probably have a difficult time winning it. That's particularly true this season with the Panthers returning so many key players. Young should be the best player on the team but I'm not sure he'll be able to dominate the ball as much as other players will.

But still great to see the recognition.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

King of the Hill: ACC Football Power Rankings (Week 8)

Here are the most recent rankings after this week's ACC action. This past weekend, may teams, including the Panthers, were on bye weeks. But there were still several games, so as usual, we've got movement.

One thing to note is that while North Carolina State and Virginia both suffered some ugly losses, they didn't fall in the standings since they beat the two teams ranking right behind them in head-to-head matchups. Pitt had a chance to move up a spot but with the Hokies looking so impressive against Miami, they deserved to leapfrog the Panthers.

The previous week’s rankings are in parentheses and as always, let me know what I got right/wrong in the comments.

  1. Clemson (1) / 7-0: On a bye week
  2. Louisville (2) / 6-1: Dominated North Carolina State, 54-13
  3. North Carolina (3) 6-2: After a slow start, pulled away for a 35-21 win against Virginia
  4. Florida State (4) / 5-2: On a bye week
  5. Virginia Tech (7) / 5-2: Impressive 37-16 win over Miami
  6. Pitt (6) / 5-2: On a bye week
  7. Miami (5) / 4-3: Lost to Virginia Tech
  8. North Carolina State (8) / 4-3: Ugly loss to Louisville but remain ahead at No. 8
  9. Wake Forest (9) / 5-2: On a bye week
  10. Georgia Tech (10) / 4-3: On a bye week
  11. Syracuse (11) / 4-4: 28-20 win over Boston College
  12. Virginia (12) / 2-5: Lost to North Carolina
  13. Duke (13) / 3-4: On a bye week
  14. Boston College (14) / 3-4: Lost to Syracuse
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Weekly Kickoff: Pitt to be tested by Virginia Tech defense

After a week off, Pitt hits the ground running with a Thursday night game against Virginia Tech.

The Hokies have grabbed quite a bit of attention after all of the talk had mostly been around Clemson, Louisville, and Florida State. After pounding North Carolina 34-3, they did have a head-scratcher in losing on the road to Syracuse. But after crushing Miami this week, 37-16, it's safe to say that they're mostly for real.

Virginia Tech, of course, isn't elite. With that loss to Syracuse and an early-season 45-24 rout to Tennessee, it's clear that they're not a Top 10 team. But this is going to be a great test for Pitt, who is still trying to figure out exactly where they are in the ACC hierarchy, too.

The Hokies are solid on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they've scored about 36 points - only a hair less than Pitt. Like the Panthers, Virginia Tech doesn't make a lot of mistakes at quarterback. Jerod Evans has 19 touchdowns against only two interceptions and he leads the entire ACC in passing efficiency. Evans, in fact, is in the top ten in the nation in that category, so don't expect him to make a ton of mistakes. He will also get out and run a little. Evans is second on the team in rushing with 417 yards.

In other words, not a great thing to see.

Defensively, though, is where Virginia Tech really makes their mark. The Hokies are 11th in the nation, allowing only about 300 yards per game, and they are 16th in scoring defense giving up just 18 points per game. Pitt's offense has mostly done what they wanted this year, so that's going to be a great matchup to watch. What the Panthers want to do is run the ball, but that's where the Hokies excel, ranking 11th in the nation there, too, allowing just over 100 yards per game.

Throwing against Virginia Tech is no picnic, either. Linebacker Terrell Edmunds and defensive back Greg Stroman are tied for second in the ACC with three interceptions. Overall, the team ranks 32nd in the nation allowing just under 200 passing yards per game. Because of what they do on defense, it will be interesting see how Pitt's run/pass balance shakes out.

One specific area where the Hokies stand out is on third down and if you're looking for a key to the game, that might be it. Virginia Tech is fifth in the nation in third-down efficiency on defense with teams converting those for first downs less than 25% of the time.

All of that sounds pretty difficult, obviously. But don't count the Panthers out just yet. For whatever reason, the Panthers always hang with Virginia Tech for the most part. That's no reason to expect Pitt to play well in any given year, but it's just been one of those things. More importantly, Pitt gets the game at home and on a Thursday night, should have a pretty good atmosphere if the weather holds out.

One more thing, too. While they haven't faced a team as good as Virginia Tech defensively, I still expect them to score points. Georgia Tech is a Top 30 defensive team and the Panthers scored 37 points. Outside of that, Pitt hasn't really been tested by great defensive squads, but I still believe this is an offense that will score against just about anyone. As usual, the question will be how they can slow down a decent passing attack.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt link dump and college football open thread

Had sort of a hectic week so Pitt's bye came at just the right time for me. The Panthers are off today but I wanted to throw up an open thread, anyway, since I imagine many of you will be watching other games.

Also today is the basketball team's open scrimmage up at The Pete. Like I mentioned earlier, it's a great idea to give fans something to do with the football team off.

The next game for Pitt is obviously a big one. And Virginia Tech has looked terribly impressive this year. Short of an unlikely two-touchdown loss to Syracuse and the loss to Tennessee earlier this year, they've dominated everybody else, including North Carolina and last week, Miami.

A few other quick hitters related to Pitt this week:

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt Recruiting: Donovan Jeter de-commits from Notre Dame

A local standout reopens his recruitment

After praying and thinking about it I've decided to decommit from Norte dame but they are still my top school. I am opening my recruitment — Donovan Jeter (@__5god__) October 18, 2016

Earlier today, four-star Donovan Jeter announced he is no longer committed to Notre Dame. This is a pretty notable action for Pitt’s recruiting efforts. Donovan Jeter is a 6’5” 255 Defensive End/Tackle. He is rated as a four-star by all four major recruiting, and was considered to be one of Pitt’s highest priority recruits until he committed Notre Dame last month.

His commitment to Notre Dame was a bit shocking, truth be told. He was widely considered a Pitt lean by many for a variety of reasons. His brother is Sheldon Jeter, a senior on the basketball team. He is from nearby Beaver Falls High School in Beaver County, an area that has been considered a pipeline. Perhaps most importantly, he generally spoke highly of Pitt and Pat Narduzzi, especially in the months leading up to his Notre Dame decision.

Obviously Jeter reopening his recruitment should get Pitt fans on notice. I’m not sure it is a slam dunk to Pitt, though. His offer sheet is as impressive as it gets. He holds offers from schools like Alabama, Michigan, and Ohio State. In fact, he announced via Twitter today that Oklahoma had offered him. So obviously, the competition for Jeter will be pretty fierce. He also said on Twitter that Notre Dame is still in the mix as well.

It’s hard to say what will happen in the recruitment of Donovan Jeter from here on out, but it’s one worth monitoring. Jeter is one of the best players in the state and country for that matter, and Pitt had prioritized before, and knowing he’s back on the market he will be highly prioritized once again.

Cardiac Hill welcomes a new contributor in photographer Matt Hawley

Hi everyone, my name is Matt Hawley. I am a senior at the University of Pittsburgh and I hope to be attending Katz Graduate School of Business here in the spring. Recently for Cardiac Hill, I covered the Georgia Tech/Homecoming game with this photo gallery. I'll be shooting other events for the site on occasion as opportunities present themselves.

I currently work as a staff photographer with The Pitt News and I have also freelanced with Panther Lair recently. I am a student manager with the women’s basketball team and I am also one of the current leaders of the Panther Pitt, so I am very actively involved with sports on campus.

I grew up in a small city outside of York, PA. I wasn’t really a fan of any specific collegiate team growing up, but I still enjoyed watching college basketball and football. Pitt was the only school I applied to in 2013, and from that point on I became a huge Pitt fan. Through my few years here I have come to love this University and city. While there have been some heartbreaking losses in basketball and football recently, I have gotten to enjoy some incredible experiences.

In my junior year I started working with The Pitt News as a staff photographer and my love of photography grew. Sports are one of my main passions in life and I chose to combine that with my love of photography. I began shooting Pitt sports such as baseball and soccer. Once I started making more connections, I have now shot some high profile events such as Pitt basketball/football, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, two Pirates games, Steelers training camp, and two Steelers games so far.

I’m not really sure if I want to try and do sports photography full time, but I definitely want to be involved in a collegiate or professional sports team in some fashion. In the meantime, I’ll occasionally be contributing photo galleries to this site while hopefully obtaining my MBA here at Pitt. Please feel free to check out my Twitter and Instagram, both @MattHawleyPhoto.

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