Tra'von Chapman went to one of Pitt's prospect camps earlier this summer and was given a laundry list of things he needed to improve on by quarterbacks coach Brooks Bollinger.
The interaction with Bollinger, a former NFL quarterback, made a lasting impression on Chapman. So much so that he made a verbal commitment Thursday to the Panthers during an unofficial visit to the school.
He was one of two players to commit to the Panthers Thursday. Carson Baker, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive tackle from Fairborn, Ohio, also committed.
Chapman, a senior at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent, Ohio, chose the Panthers after whittling down a number of scholarship offers to Pitt, Wisconsin and Cincinnati.
Labeled a four-star recruit by rivals.com and scout.com, he is the highest-rated prospect for Pitt in the class of 2013.
He said that the opportunity to play for Bollinger was just too good to pass up.
"[Bollinger] really coached me up at the camp and I liked his criticism. He helped me with some pointers, and I liked that he wanted me to be at my best," Chapman said. "But really, my comfort level with the entire staff and the fact that I know they want what is best for me academically and athletically made it feel like home for me, so I knew it was my best choice. The bottom line is I could trust those guys the most and that's important to me."
Chapman is a dual-threat quarterback who threw for 2,800 yards and 29 touchdowns and ran for 800 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He plays in a spread offense, so it would seem he would be a perfect fit for the system former Pitt coach Todd Graham ran and not the pro-style offense current coach Paul Chryst employs. But Chryst had dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson running his offense last season as offensive coordinator at Wisconsin, and all Wilson did was throw for 3,100 yards, rush for 330 more and account for 33 touchdowns passing and six rushing.
That did not go unnoticed by Chapman, who believes he has the perfect teachers in Chryst, Bollinger and offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph.
"What coach Chryst did with Russell Wilson was amazing and he did that in one season," Chapman said. "He knew how to use that dual threat to give Wilson the option to run or pass.
"But I have to try to learn how to do it all and I'm excited about working with those guys because I know they'll help me become the best player and person I can be."
Baker, who is athletic but considered a bit of a project, chose the Panthers over an offer from Toledo.
By the numbers
New Pitt quarterback commitment's senior year stats at Theodore Kent Roosevelt High School in Kent, Ohio:
Completion percentage .681
Touchdown passes 29
First Published June 29, 2012 12:00 AM