Pitt landed a four-star recruit for the class of 2014 Wednesday when offensive lineman Mike Grimm announced that he had committed to the Panthers.
"I'm going to go to Pitt," Grimm told Panther-Lair.com. "It's a really good atmosphere and I love the education part of it. Plus Oakland and the South Side; I love that whole deal. And of course Coach (Paul) Chryst and Coach (Jim) Hueber and all the coaches have been good to me since they offered. They always stuck with me and recruited me so much.
"I've been favoring them for a while; they're just a really good coaching staff and they're really forming as a team. I really like the school and everything about them."
Hueber and Chryst, in particular, were a big part of Grimm's decision. One will be his position coach in college and the other his head coach, and he feels pretty strongly about both.
"Coach Hueber just has so much experience with offensive line coaching and offensive linemen, and I really like how he coaches. [Pitt's prospect camp on Friday] was my second camp there, and being coached by him and being around him, I can see that he has a good aura and I feel good about what he can do for me. I know he can make me into the best player I can be and hopefully help me get to the next level. He can definitely increase my playing level and help me be the best I can be.
"And Coach Chryst really reminds me of my uncles. They just have that different type of personality; they're great guys and he's a great guy. Seeing the way that he coaches and the way that the players respect him as a person really makes me want to go there and be a part of his team and be under his wing."
Grimm also held scholarship offers from Arizona, Baylor, Boston College, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Rutgers, USF, Temple, Vanderbilt, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Akron and UMass, but he always favored the Panthers. He was considering some summer visits and possibly announcing his college decision in January, but after camping at Pitt on Friday, he knew what he wanted to do.
"I thought about how I've been liking them for a good bit and I didn't want to take anybody else's time," Grimm said. "I figured, if I want to go there, then I should just do it so another school can move on to another recruit. I just wanted to make the decision and make it easier for everyone.
"After Friday, I really knew I wanted to go there. Being with the coaches and talking to a lot of the team, I think I fit in really well with the guys they have and the offensive line that's there. And I think it can help to have a big local offensive lineman committed; it can help them recruit guys from the area."
Grimm knows the impact of a four-star commitment on the offensive line, and he plans to go to work on the recruiting trail. Those efforts will start with another four-star recruit from western Pennsylvania.
"I definitely think that Shai McKenzie could excel behind a big offensive line," he said. "I've talked to him a couple times and I feel like he's a really good running back. I think he could excel with a great offensive line and definitely reach his full potential.
"They recruited a lot of big linemen last year and they're planning to take three or four this year, so I think a good quarterback and a good running back could help the school excel and make it on the big bowl level and even with winning an ACC championship."
Now Grimm, 6'6" 319, can put his own recruitment on the back-burner and focus on his senior season at Bethel Park.
"I think this will really help me with the season, take a lot of stress off my back, and help me really just focus on my senior season. Hopefully we'll make it a good season and get a WPIAL championship."
Grimm is the fifth recruit to commit to Pitt in the class of 2014 and the second offensive lineman, joining Traverse City (Mich.) guard Connor Hayes, Shady Side Academy athlete Dennis Briggs, Maria Stein (Oh.) quarterback Adam Bertke, and Newburgh (NY) Free Academy safety Jalen Williams.
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