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2024 West Mifflin OL Rico Steele Continues Constructing Pitt Bond With Junior Day Go to



Rico Steele may be very accustomed to Pitt’s South Aspect facility, contemplating he’s a hometown child from West Mifflin Excessive College and trains with Dee Brown’s 210ths on the facility.

However Saturday’s Junior Day go to was his most inclusive but, having the chance to spend extra one-on-one time with the Pitt coaches than ever earlier than. Although he hasn’t picked up a suggestion, his most up-to-date go to helped construct the connection.

“One of the best a part of the go to for me was going into the place assembly with (offensive line coach Dave) Borbely, watching movie with him,” Steele informed PSN. “I’d say that was the very best half.

“I’ve recognized coach Borbely for some time and once we have been within the movie workplace, I sat proper subsequent to his desk and talked to him quite a bit, so I’d say I’ve a very good relationship with him.”

Steele, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound inside offensive lineman within the class of 2024, has obtained gives from Bowling Inexperienced, Kent State and Toledo throughout his recruiting course of and visits embody Pitt — for a handful of visits — and West Virginia, Coastal Carolina, Syracuse and Penn State.

He’s an aggressive, throwback sort of offensive lineman — in the identical mould as his favourite offensive lineman of all time Invoice Fralic — that thrives in run blocking. And that stage of aggressiveness is what has stood out to Borbely to date.

However it additionally goes two-fold as Steele has evaluated Pitt’s offensive scheme himself.

“I believe Pitt has a helluva program down there,” Steele mentioned. “I like the best way they run the soccer down there, that’s enormous the best way they play on the sector. Lots of groups don’t run the soccer like that anymore, which is big.

“I’m gonna be an inside man in faculty, and I’d identical to to think about myself an old-school sort of participant in the best way I play the sport aggressively, and the best way I play within the run recreation.”

And as Steele frolicked with Borbely watching how Pitt’s offensive line as an entire operates, he noticed a particular match throughout the system — particularly as a run blocker.

Apart from attending to spend extra particular person time with Pitt’s teaching workers, the Junior Day go to allowed Steele to take a look at a wild Pitt Basketball win over No. 20 Miami and spend time with recruits from all throughout the area. It was a fantastic alternative.

“As a hometown man, I’d say it’s enormous to get recruited by Pitt,” Steele mentioned. “Being within the space and being so near residence there.”

However on the similar time, staying residence isn’t the deciding think about his recruitment both. He merely desires to discover a faculty that could be a good match for him, in all elements of the sport.

Steele’s spring plans will embody Boston Faculty, Syracuse and Duke, and possibly even a visit right down to Miami after latest talks with the Hurricanes’ teaching workers.

Pitt may even be within the plans this spring, too, particularly after Borbely informed Steele that he shall be making an in-person go to to West Mifflin within the close to future.

Pitt hasn’t but supplied Steele, there’s positively mutual curiosity from either side going ahead.

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What to Make of Pitt Soccer’s Exhibiting on the 2023 NFL Mix



The 2023 NFL Mix has come and gone, and it was definitely an eventful week for Pitt soccer.

I’d say it was a really, very profitable week for Pitt soccer in Indianapolis truly. Pitt earned two of the quickest spots, and that got here with out Israel Abanikanda operating.

In fact, there’s nonetheless an extended approach to go till the 2023 NFL Draft in April, however the total expertise — and definitely the performances — in Indy makes me extra assured in Pitt’s prospects now versus every week in the past.

So, let’s examine in on how Pitt’s former stars did.

Calijah Kancey 

Kancey legitimately couldn’t have performed any higher on the Mix.

He got here in, met with quite a lot of NFL groups, measured properly in each space — besides his arm size, which additionally wasn’t anticipated to be a energy — after which ran a blazing 4.67 40-yard sprint.

He shut it down after operating the 40 Thursday, however that’s all he wanted to do. He’s formally 6-foot-1, 281 kilos and ran the quickest 40 time for a defensive lineman within the final 20 years. A millisecond sooner than Aaron Donald, for reference.

If Kancey wasn’t locked into the primary spherical earlier than final week, he’s now. All that continues to be now could be what he’ll select to do at Pitt’s Professional Day.

Habakkuk Baldonado 

It was a extremely stable week for Pitt’s defensive linemen. Baldonado didn’t steal headlines by breaking a document set by Aaron Donald, however he was simply actually, actually stable all week.

We spoke with him Wednesday for nearly quarter-hour. He was partaking and light-hearted, joking with reporters and detailing his journey thus far. He really is among the most attention-grabbing prospects on this 12 months’s draft class.

However in relation to precise on-field outcomes, he was dialed in. His 4.78 40 wasn’t particularly spectacular, however his explosiveness was on full show. A 35-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad soar have been glorious measurements.

And a 7.11-second 3-Cone and 4.44-second Shuttle highlighted his above-average agility and alter of path. If something, his lateral motion and quickness are being slept on.

Baldonado is a authentic NFL draft decide.

Brandon Hill 

Yeah, Kancey might have probably secured a first-round choice, however I nonetheless don’t suppose there was a Pitt participant who did extra to boost his draft inventory than Hill.

It wasn’t — and nonetheless isn’t — a certainty that Hill hears his identify referred to as throughout the 2023 NFL Draft, however his efficiency final week definitely didn’t damage. His efficiency is sufficient to have the potential for an early Day 3 choice — if not larger.

He was the quickest security in Indy, operating a 4.43 40-yard sprint, with a wonderful 1.50 10-yard break up, and that’s by no means a shock when trying again at his Pitt profession. He was all the time an elite athlete.

A 35.5-inch vertical, 10-foot-3-inch broad soar and 15 reps on the bench rounded out a powerful all-around displaying. He’s an athlete who has a future as an NFL security.

SirVocea Dennis 

Sadly, a lingering foot damage from the Senior Bowl saved Dennis off the sphere at Lucas Oil final week.

Dennis will probably take part in Pitt’s March Professional Day later this month, and will probably be attention-grabbing to see how he runs. But when there was something that arose throughout his time in Indy, as he was saved off the sphere, it was his versatility.

He’s able to enjoying a number of spots in NFL defenses, in a position to contribute instantly as a particular teamer particularly, and his intelligence and in-game IQ ought to solely complement that.

Dennis is probably the neatest participant at Pitt, and he reads the sport like few others. I like his probabilities of discovering an NFL roster spot, however a powerful Professional Day will solely complement that.

Carter Warren 

Warren additionally wasn’t in a position to take part in Indy final week, however it was a choice he made previous to the occasion.

As he’s recovered from a torn meniscus suffered throughout the 2022 season, he’s made positive he’s 100% coming into Pitt’s Professional Day. He’s excited for yet one more probability to showcase his skill for NFL scouts.

I like Warren’s possibilities, particularly with a stable Professional Day, in cementing himself as a Day 2 or Day 3 draft decide.

Israel Abanikanda 

Abanikanda was a shock non-participant final week in Indy, with a minor hamstring damage throughout coaching retaining him off the sphere at Lucas Oil.

He nonetheless had a really productive week, holding formal interviews with the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, amongst quite a few casual interviews, however many have been hoping to see his 40 time.

He promised he’d be quick — very quick — at Pitt’s Professional Day later this month. He’ll run by the gauntlet at Pitt’s Professional Day, and it’s very probably he’ll take a look at very properly. I’m definitely intrigued by the potential of his full Professional Day efficiency.

However even with out it, I believe Abanikanda has cemented himself as a mid-round draft decide.

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Dorsett, McCoy, Conner: Israel Abanikanda Is Pitt’s Subsequent NFL Working Again



He’s talked to James Conner. He’s talked to Shady McCoy, too. He’s even talked to Tony Dorsett — after breaking his single-game dashing document. If there’s one factor Israel Abanikanda has picked up from the legends, it’s to maintain going.

“They only inform me that there’s nonetheless work to be carried out,” Abanikanda stated Saturday on the NFL Mix. “You get to that subsequent stage, and also you simply gotta preserve working. You gotta be the highest.”

Abanikanda reached the highest of the ACC final season, pacing the convention by practically 300 yards, and I’d argue his place nationally was severely undervalued, particularly contemplating the general influence he had on a largely stagnant Pitt offense.

He completed fourth in all-purpose yards (1,805 yards) and second in all-purpose yards per recreation (164 yards) in school soccer final season, and he led the nation in complete touchdowns (21).

He rushed for 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging six yards per try and added 146 receiving yards and 228 kickoff return yards. It was a marketing campaign with few historic rivals. It ranks because the eighth-best single-season effort in Pitt historical past, and his 320 yards and 6 touchdowns towards Virginia Tech broke and tied, respectively, single-game program information.

Pittsburgh Panthers operating again Israel Abanikanda (2) September 24, 2022 David Hague/PSN

However that’s simply what he completed in a single collegiate season. Abanikanda is targeted on exhibiting that he’s prepared — mentally and bodily — to deal with what it takes on the subsequent stage.

“You’re getting a humble, trustworthy, mentally robust individual,” Abanikanda stated. “It’s how I grew up with Nigerian dad and mom, very educated, simply somebody you may depend on. I’m very accountable and devoted to my work.”

Abanikanda confirmed NFL groups all through the week in Indianapolis that he’s safe in his cross safety in the case of understanding who to dam and the place he must be. In spite of everything, he labored in cross professional (and hit the jugs machine) after principally each follow. The psychological side of his recreation, whereas some might not assume so, is a energy.

“Simply exhibiting them by the interviews that I do know my playbook, I do know my board work and I’m a wise participant,” Abanikanda stated. “So, in addition to bodily, I do know the psychological a part of the sport.

“Individuals don’t assume that I’m actually sturdy mentally, understanding what I can do in cross professional. They don’t assume I do know who to dam, however I actually do know every thing in regards to the recreation.”

He’s working at rising as a cross protector nonetheless, refining his approach and using his arms to stifle linebackers. It’s an space that won’t but be a energy, but it surely’s additionally an space of emphasis. However he additionally has loads of areas of energy, too.

Pittsburgh Panthers operating again Israel Abanikanda (2) September 24, 2022 David Hague/PSN

“I might say (breakaway velocity is) in all probability my No. 1 factor I deliver to the desk as a operating again, in addition to ball safety, breaking tackles and yards after contact.”

Abanikanda affords his personal distinctive skillset to NFL groups, a mix of explosive velocity and energy, however he’s modeled his recreation off of NFL stars his whole life. As a child rising up in New York Metropolis, it was LaDainian Tomlinson and Reggie Bush. As he’s starred at Pitt over the past couple of seasons, it’s been Raheem Mostert, Jonathon Taylor, Tony Pollard and Alvin Kamara.

It has the prospect to come back full circle for Abanikanda as he had formal interviews with the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins in Indy — together with the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens — and casual interviews with principally each workforce within the league.

Whereas it was a extremely productive week by way of assembly with NFL groups and advocating for himself, he didn’t partake in on-field drills in Indy. He’ll wait till Pitt’s Professional Day later this month to showcase his blazing velocity — his 40-yard sprint time was a sizzling subject in Indy.

Clearly, he’s anticipating to run a blazing 40-yard sprint time. There have been simply three operating backs in Indy who broke the 4.4 mark, and he’s stated to anticipate an actual quick time. That sort of time, that sort of work ethic, comes largely from being the son of hard-working Nigerian dad and mom.

“We simply gotta be on the high,” Abanikanda stated. “If you happen to have been Nigerian, you’d perceive everybody saying, ‘Oh, God, high.’ You gotta be the one on the high. Nigerians, we simply gotta be the very best we are able to. Attempt to present them we’re the very best nation out right here.”

Pittsburgh Panthers operating again Israel Abanikanda (2) Sept 10, 2022 David Hague/PSN

It’s about successful for Abanikanda. If he may stage a linebacker in cross safety to permit for an explosive landing by the air, versus breaking an 80-yard run that doesn’t discover the tip zone, he’d do it. It’s in regards to the workforce.

So, after he ran for 320 yards and 6 touchdowns in a win over Virginia Tech final season, his celebration along with his offensive linemen — with your complete workforce — within the locker room stands out as maybe the very best second of his school profession. It didn’t harm he was in a position to speak to Pitt legend and NFL Corridor of Fame operating again Tony Dorsett both.

“They arrange a Zoom name with us per week after that, and me and Tony acquired the time to cut it up,” Abanikanda stated. “We have been simply saying it’s surprising that somebody like me broke the document. He didn’t assume someone was going to interrupt the document for a very long time, and that I broke his document was surprising, however he was congratulating me on the similar time. So, I used to be actually honored.”

In his Pitt profession, Abanikanda rushed 390 instances for two,177 yards and 28 touchdowns, caught 38 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns and returned 19 kickoffs for 434 yards and a landing.

His 28 profession touchdowns additionally rank eighth in workforce historical past, whereas he’s simply certainly one of 4 Pitt gamers to hurry for no less than 20 touchdowns in a single season.

Pitt’s Professional Day will likely be Abanikanda’s ultimate probability to place the ending touches upon his collegiate profession, to crush his 40-yard sprint and showcase his highly effective body in different drills, however there’s little doubt about it. He would be the subsequent in an extended line of Pitt operating backs to succeed in the NFL.

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No. 6 Duquesne Takes on No. 11 La Salle within the Second Spherical of the Atlantic 10 Match



Duquesne earned a First Spherical bye within the Atlantic 10 Match this week, as they completed sixth within the convention within the 2022-23 season.

They awaited to search out out the winner between No. 11 La Salle and No. 14 Rhode Island within the First Spherical on Tuesday. La Salle throughly defeated Rhode Island, 73-56, progressing themselves into that Second Spherical matchup with Duquesne.

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The Explorers (14-18) had two nice performances from guards in junior Jhamir Brickus and sophomore Daeshon Shepherd in opposition to the Rams. Brickus scored a staff excessive 18 factors on 7-for-10 capturing from the sector and 4-for-4 capturing from the foul line, whereas Shepherd scored 15 factors and in addition shot 7-for-10 from the sector within the win. Guards in sophomore Khalil Brantley and junior Anwar Gil additionally completed in double figures for scoring within the victory for the Explorers, with 11 and 10 factors, respectively.

The Dukes ended the 2022-23 common season with an general document of 20-11 and an 10-8 document in Atlantic 10 play. That is simply the third season within the final 42 years that the Dukes have gained 20 video games or extra, together with the 2008-09 and 2019-20 seasons. It’s also simply the eighth time the Dukes have had a profitable document within the Atlantic 10 since becoming a member of the convention previous to the 1976-77 season and simply the sixth time they’ve had double digit wins in convention play.

Duquesne defeated La Salle 91-74 on Feb. 22, simply two weeks in the past. The win served as the primary for Duquesne at Tom Gola Enviornment since 2011, ending a six sport shedding streak there. Duquesne outscored La Salle 50-36 within the second half and made 51.7% of their pictures in comparison with La Salle’s 35.7% capturing.

Senior ahead Joe Reece had an unbelievable sport for the Dukes, scoring 18 of his 26 career-high factors within the second half, whereas additionally capturing 11-for-13 from the ground.

Junior ahead Tre Williams additionally performed a big half within the Dukes’ victory over the Explorers. He scored 11 of his 14 factors within the second half, created six assists, made seven rebounds and two steals. His 14 factors scored had been essentially the most for him in opposition to an A-10 opponent, the second most factors in a sport this season and his six assists are a profession excessive. Williams additionally performed a season excessive 37 minutes within the victory as effectively.

Duquesne’s 22 assists and 55.6% capturing in opposition to La Salle are the second most and third greatest in a sport this season, respectively.

Of all of the gamers that La Salle had rating in double digits of their win over Rhode Island, none of them did so in opposition to Duquesne of their common season matchup.

The Explorers misplaced 5 video games in a row to finish the common season, with the loss to the Dukes because the second on that streak.

Duquesne has performed La Salle twice earlier than within the Atlantic 10 event, shedding twice within the First Spherical. They fell in an in depth loss, 82-79, on March 12, 2008 and in addition 88-73 on March 8, 2016.

No. 6 Duquesne will play No. 11 La Salle at 7:30 p.m. within the closing sport of the Second Spherical Wednesday night time. The USA Community will broadcast the sport on TV whereas Peacock will broadcast the sport on their on-line streaming service.

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