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June 19, 2013After getting his offer at a prospect camp, Maria Stein (Oh.) Marion quarterback Adam Bertke wanted to see more of Pitt. So he returned for another unofficial visit Tuesday and decided to pledge to the Panthers, becoming the first quarterback in Pitt's 2014 class.
"Since I didn't get to see everything (during the camp), I wanted to go back and check everything out," Bertke said. "I pretty much decided beforehand that I liked their coaches from the little I got to hang out with them. I went back there [Tuesday] and liked everything. I spent the day with them, and they showed me around all the places I didn't see and talk to all their academic people and some players and stuff like that. It was a great day I loved it.
"By the end of the day, I told Coach (Paul) Chryst that I was going to verbally commit. He was so excited for me, really happy for me. All the coaches were really happy as well. Coach (Brooks) Bollinger and the rest of the coaching staff, they were just ecstatic for me, and I was excited."
On Tuesday, Bertke got to speak with the academic support staff at Pitt and see Heinz Field. The 2014 quarterback enjoyed everything he saw in Pittsburgh.
"I went to their camp and that took half a day, so I didn't get a chance to see everything," he said. "At first glance, it just looked like a huge city and a bunch of buildings where all my classes are in the middle of it. [On Tuesday], I was able to slow it down and see it was a campus inside a city. It was a lot better [Tuesday] from what I saw."
That was comforting for Bertke. Coming from a small town in western Ohio, he was worried about acclimating to a city during college. However, based on what he saw Tuesday, the visit alleviated his concerns.
"It really did," Bertke said. "Like I said, at first glance, it's just a huge city. [On Tuesday] I was able to really look at the big picture and stuff and see that it's actually a college campus. That was a lot more reassuring for me and what I was looking for. It was better."
Bertke, 6'5" 210, chose Pitt over offers from Illinois, Akron, Bowling Green, Kent State and Toledo. In the last two years, he has led Marion to back-to-back state championships. He said that he threw for 2,300 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 1,000 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, although he considers himself a pro-style quarterback and not dual-threat.
The Pitt commit said there were several reasons behind his decision to choose the Panthers.
"I would say the main one was just the people there," he said. "Every place I've visited, it's had great facilities and a beautiful campus, but ultimately it comes down to the people and the coaching staff, the players, people like that. That's what set Pitt aside from anyone else. They're coaching staff is top notch.
"Some other reasons for choosing Pitt was the opportunity, not only athletics but the academics side. They're a great school. It's just too great an opportunity to pass up. The other thing was their offense. It really suits me well."
Bertke was the third commitment in Pitt's 2014 recruiting class, joining Traverse City (Mich.) West offensive lineman Connor Hayes and Newbaugh (N.Y.) Free Academy safety Jalen Williams in the recruiting class. After the 2014 quarterback's pledge, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Shady Side Academy athlete Dennis Briggs also joined the recruiting class.