Chandler Kincade grew up a Pitt fan and always wanted to play for the Panthers. That's why he committed to Pitt when Todd Graham was the coach in the fall of 2011.
But after Paul Chryst was hired later that year, things became a bit less clear, and the Blackhawk (Pa.) quarterback became uncertain about his position on Pitt's recruiting board. So on Thursday he decided to re-open his recruitment and officially decommitted from the Panthers.
"There was just some uncertainty; I wasn't really sure that I was the top choice that they wanted," Kincade told Panther-Lair.com. "I understand I was inherited from Coach Graham and his staff, so we talked it over as a family and what we decided to do was to decommitt and start this back over with Pitt if they're really interested.
"That way, if they're not interested, they're not wasting a scholarship or getting overloaded at quarterback or something like that. I'm looking out for myself but I think I'm looking out for Pitt, too, so they can recruit as they want. I'm a Pitt fan at heart, I grew up a Pitt fan, and I really appreciate everything they've done."
To cement the decision, Kincade called Chryst and director of football operations Chris LaSala.
"They said that's fine and we'll start to build that relationship again," Kincade said. "They said they want what's best for me, and I think that speaks a lot of their personalities. It's great for them to say that when you just decommitted.
"It was kind of a mutual thing, and now we can rebuild this if that's what they want."
Since Chryst was hired in December 2011, Kincade has tried to ascertain his position among the coaching staff's recruiting targets. There were times when it seemed that the staff had settled on him as the top priority, but overall Kincade didn't think that was the case.
Part of that uncertainty likely grew from the fact that Pitt is pursuing Palo Alto (Calif.) quarterback, Keller Chryst, a four-star prospect who ranks as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback recruit in the nation and just so happens to be Paul Chryst's nephew.
"I just didn't feel the confidence level was there; I'm not sure if I was the top guy," Kincade said. "I think they were upfront with me throughout this. It's recruiting, it's football, and things change over time.
"I was inherited; I wasn't Pitt's commit. I think there's still a great relationship there, but I think it's best to start over, best for me and best for them. I'm fine with that and they're fine with that."
This spring Kincade added scholarship offers from Rutgers, Temple, Bowling Green, and Akron, but he said he isn't ruling out Pitt as a possibility.
"I'm starting fresh with them now, and if they're really interested in me, I think I'll be able to tell more," Kincade said. "I'm very excited to re-start it, because I've been a fan forever and they're still one of my top schools, so we'll see what happens.
"I have really good relationships with a lot of the coaches down there, and I appreciate everything they've done for me."
Now Kincade is looking forward to building new relationships. He took unofficial visits this spring to Louisville, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Rutgers, and Temple, and now that he is unofficially un-committed, his offer sheet should grow. The first step will come soon when college coaches come to Blackhawk to watch Kincade throw during the evaluation period over the coming weeks.
"There have been some schools that have been hesitant to recruit me because of my commitment, and they told my coach that they saw the commitment and looked past me," he said. "What I really want to do in the evaluation period is see what offers come in and, from there, get it down to about three or five schools I'm really interested in, re-visit those schools, and go from there.
"I'm still planning to enroll early, so I'd like to make my decision by the end of June and definitely by time the season starts. I'm excited for this, to experience the recruiting process."
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