Pitt gets quarterback, guard for class of 2011
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Pitt's coaching staff got some good news Wednesday when two players made verbal commitments to the Panthers, including a highly regarded quarterback prospect from New Jersey as well as a lineman from the Harrisburg area.
Gary Nova quarterbacked Don Bosco Prep to a 12-0 record and the Non-Public Group 4 state championship last season, is a candidate for a number of All-American games and had scholarship offers from schools across the country. But he ended his recruitment early when he told Dave Wannstedt that he was going to be a Panther.
Nova (6 feet 2, 220 pounds) said he is not worried about the future of the Big East or where Pitt will end up despite swirling rumors about the Big Ten's impending expansion and possible raid of other conferences.
"Pitt is a great school and a great program," Nova said. "We can compete with anybody, whether it is in the Big Ten or Big East or anywhere else so, really, Pitt will be fine no matter what happens. I'm not really worried about that at all."
Nova chose the Panthers over scholarship offers from Rutgers, Boston College, Virginia, Colorado and Vanderbilt.
He said the two most important factors in his decision were trust and loyalty, and no other staff showed as much as Pitt's during the process.
"When I went out and visited Pitt, I got a real good feel for the city and for the family atmosphere of the program," said Nova, who threw for 1,668 yards, 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions last season. "The biggest thing, though, was coach Wannstedt and coach [Frank] Cignetti and coach [Jeff] Hafley -- they were honest with me every step of the way. They didn't lie to me about anything, they were up front about everything and they were loyal and true to their word.
"And I feel like if there is anyone who can get me ready for the NFL it is coach Cignetti, so I am really excited to go there and learn."
Pitt also received a verbal commitment from offensive guard prospect Artie Rowell from Central Dauphin High School.
Rowell (6-2, 296), the most valuable player among the offensive linemen at the State College Nike camp earlier this month, can play guard or center and chose the Panthers over offers from Northwestern and Temple. He also was receiving interest from Duke and Rutgers.
Nova and Rowell are Pitt's second and third commitments from the class of 2011. The Panthers previously had secured a commitment from DeMatha (Md.) tight end Sam Collura.
The son of the Steelers' new offensive line coach has decided he will play at a Big Ten Conference school.
Rob Kugler, a tight end-defensive end, made a verbal commitment Tuesday to Purdue. Kugler enrolled at North Allegheny High School in early April after playing last season at Orchard Park High School near Buffalo. He is a junior. His father, Sean, was a Buffalo Bills assistant coach last year.
Rob Kugler also had scholarship offers from West Virginia, Syracuse and Stanford, among others. He is 6 feet 3, 235 pounds and was an all-Western New York selection last year. North Allegheny coach Art Walker has watched him on film and at some workouts and said he likely will play tight end and defensive end.
"First and foremost, he seems like a really good kid. He's very bright, he has a 4.0 grade average and he really carries himself well," Walker said. "The most impressive thing I've seen from him is his maturity level and how he has handled himself with this transition, because it can't be easy.
"I've watched him on film, and he moves well, has good feet for a kid his size and good body control. From the limited stuff we've done in workouts here, he's got decent hands, too."
Kugler's younger brother, Patrick, is a freshman and is 6-3, 230 pounds.
First Published May 20, 2010 12:00 am