The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder has verbally committed to the Panthers, who play at Heinz Field.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
On the day before Fitch High's first football game last August, Mike McGlynn got some bad news.
The standout lineman had dropped a class he shouldn't have and was told he didn't have enough credits to play football.
Just like that, his junior season was over.
"It was hard," McGlynn, the nephew of Fitch High principal Doug McGlynn, said. "I had already went through two-a-days and now I had to watch my friends go out and play while I sat with the coaches. But I worked through it and, in a way, it helped me.
"Things turned out for the best."
Instead of sulking, McGlynn kept practicing with the Falcons and spent his off-season lifting and attending camps.
It paid off. He recently gave a verbal commitment to play offensive tackle at the University of Pittsburgh in 2003.
Other schools considered
The Fitch senior, who also considered Maryland and Syracuse, was impressed with Pitt's facilities -- the Panthers play their home games at Heinz Field -- and the school's emphasis on education.
"When you have the offer in front of you, why wait?" said McGlynn, who will major in Criminal Justice. "It just felt right."
McGlynn (6-5, 310) has grown three inches and put on more than 20 pounds since his sophomore year. He benches 340, squats 550, runs a 5.3 40-yard-dash and has a 2.7 grade point average, he said.
"I think a few schools did shy away from me [after missing last year], so they wanted me to come to camps and show that I was what everybody said I was going to be," he said. "I knew I would go there and impress, so I wasn't worried about it."
Pitt assistant head coach Bob Junko recruited McGlynn. Junko was defensive coordinator at Kent from 1995-96 and associate head coach and defensive coordinator for seven years at Akron.
Fitch, which went 3-7 last year, returns eight of 11 starters on defense this season. The Falcons lost All-Steel Valley Conference quarterback Steve Burnich to graduation, but return standout tailback Davanzo Tate.
Pitt and West Virginia are among the schools Tate is considering, McGlynn said.
"We're excited about this year," McGlynn said. "We feel like this can be a break-out season and that we have a chance getting back up there in the playoffs."