Pitt lands Illinois running back recruit

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Pitt secured its 19th verbal commitment of the 2014 class Friday when Niles (Ill.) running back Chris James gave his pledge to Paul Chryst and the Panthers, according to multiple reports.

Chris James is rated as a three-star running back by Rivals.com and a four-star on Scout.com. He chose the Panthers over offers from Wisconsin, Tennessee and Michigan State, among others.

As a senior at Notre Dame Prep, the 5-foot-9, 212-pound James rushed for 1,687 yards and 19 touchdowns.

He is the second running back in Pitt's class, joining Buffalo, N.Y., prospect Qadree Ollison. The Panthers are still holding out hope for a commitment from star Washington, Pa., running back Shai McKenzie.

Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG

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