Well, the Pitt Panthers are over the proverbial hump. The 500-pound gorilla is off Paul Chryst’s back. Finally, finally, the Panthers have added their first verbal commitment to their class of 2014 when guard Connor Hayes gave Chryst his commitment on Monday.
Hayes, from West High School in Traverse City (MI) is the first commitment the Panthers have received since January 25, when Jester Weah gave his solid verbal for the class of 2013.
Hayes is a fantastic fit in Chryst’s offense. When Chryst came to Pitt after being the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin (under the run heavy Bret Bielema), he knew he had to improve and toughen the offensive line. This is the kind of player he had in mind. Hayes is a big kid with a great frame (6-foot 4, 270 pounds) who has excellent feet. He’s nasty in the run game and is flexible in the pass. He also provides some much-needed versatility since he could play either guard or center for the Panthers.
Bottom line: he’s a tough kid that loves football and will boost any line’s physicality.
Why did he pick the Panthers? He felt it was the best fit. He fell in love with their power running style when he visited Heinz Field last fall, and loves the fact this offense grooms offensive linemen for the next level (case in point- Wisconsin from the last decade).
It’s the kind of line that features gritty, blue-collar, lunch-pail hog mollies: a perfect fit in the Steel City. Hayes should prove to be an excellent fit for the Panthers and for this kind of tough-minded offense.
Pitt fans should have nothing to worry about considering how incredibly thin their 2014 class is. It’s so very early. Granted, would you rather get off to a hot start than a cold one? Of course. But as long as you close well, it makes up for most slow starts.