BIG EAST Pitt lands Duquesne ace among 25 recruits
Wendell Brown was a first-team All-Pennsylvania pick, and Pitt's only recruit at running back.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The University of Pittsburgh cast a wide net for its recruiting class this year, yet some of the biggest catches were found locally.
Pitt announced the signings of 25 players from nine states to national letters of intent Wednesday.
Four players from Pennsylvania were taken in this year's class, including Duquesne standout Windell Brown, the only running back taken in this year's class.
Brown rushed for more than 2,000 yards and had 41 touchdowns as a senior. He was voted first-team All-Pennsylvania for 2002.
The Panthers also signed fullback Mark Yezovich from Woodland Hills, linebacker Chris McKillop from Kiski Area and Kyle Smith from Harbor Creek.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound McKillop played in only five games because of injuries, but was still considered one of the state's most dominant linebackers.
Yezovich was a major contributor to Woodland Hill's run to the PIAA Class AAA championship game. The 6-1, 230-pound fullback rushed for 600 yards and had 117 tackles.
Smith, a 6-5, 230-pound defensive end from Harbor Creek, chose to play for Pitt despite scholarship offers from Duke, Maryland, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Vanderbilt.
The Panthers had their most successful season in two decades last year, going 8-4 in the regular season and capping the year by trouncing Oregon State in the Insight Bowl 38-13.
Coach Walt Harris said the recruiting class for 2003 adds momentum to a team that finished higher in the polls than any Pitt team since the early 1980s.
"We believe we are an emerging program on the national level and we're pleased about luring recruits from nine different states this year," he said. "This class is going to be a vital cog in what we believe will be an exciting future for University of Pittsburgh football."
The Panthers signed nine players from Ohio, including defensive back Mike Phillips of Warren Harding and offensive lineman Zach Slates of Massillon Perry.