Monday, May 6, 2013
Pitt is first to offer local athlete Briggs
By Jared Shanker
When Reggie Mitchell was a senior and going through the recruiting process in 2011, a freshman teammate at Pittsburgh Shady Side Academy was paying close attention. Dennis Briggs was watching his Class of 2012 teammate intently, hoping he would be in a similar position one day.
Briggs officially is where Mitchell was a few years ago. He landed his first offer Monday, and it came from local school Pitt.
“It means a lot, because it’s a school I always wanted to get an offer from,” Briggs said. “When I was a freshman, my boy Reggie Mitchell was here, and he went up to the junior day, so [Pitt has] been on my mind since freshman year. It’s surreal. It’s cool when the hometown team offers you.”
Pitt began its pursuit of the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Briggs about two weeks ago, and the two parties have been in touch ever since. Assistant coaches Chris Haering and Joe Rudolph were at Shady Side on Monday, and the two talked with Briggs, who will visit Pitt on Friday.
The Panthers' program has dealt with a handful of transfers -- including WPIAL legend Rushel Shell -- and off-the-field problems recently, bringing unwanted negativity to the program, which is in its second year under Paul Chryst. Haering and Rudolph told Briggs the staff is putting a premium on the type of person it recruits and not just the type of player.
“They want quality character guys,” Briggs said. “They told me they felt like I have the character and athletic ability to contribute.”
Briggs is being looked at as a potential recruit on both sides of the ball. He can play running back or safety, and the Pitt staff has not decided what position the offer is for just yet.
He does not have a preference as to which position but is most comfortable and instinctive as a running back. Tipping the scales at nearly 200 pounds, Brigg said he is not afraid of contact but embraces it, even more so on offense than defense.
Safety is the position of his former teammate Mitchell, who is a redshirt freshman at Wisconsin.
“I like safety, because there’s a lot of freedom and I have the mental capacity to do it,” he said. “My friend Reggie does it. I like being able to see the whole field, and I think I do well in coverage. It’s a fun spot for me.”
Michigan State, Temple and Villanova also are recruiting Briggs, and he hopes to camp at all three schools this summer.