The recruiting evaluation period has begun for college football programs, and the Pitt Panthers…
Big East Connection
Though Pittsburgh hasn't recruited the West Coast in recent years much, with Frank Cignetti on the Panthers' staff, and his connections to the West, that could change. Encino (Calif.) Crespi quarterback Bryan Bennett, a three-star ranked #26 nationally by Scout.com, picked up his first offer, and it came from Pitt. "Pitt offered me on Thursday," said Bennett. "It's a big relief. Coach Cignetti offered me. He had seen me when he was at Cal and liked me." But the connection between Bennett and Cignetti was more than that. Cignetti was on the Fresno State staff for four years, as the Bulldogs' offensive coordinator, and his graduate assistant at the time, Jeremiah Ross, is now Bennett's head coach at Crespi. That paid off for Bennett, the strong-armed quarterback who jumped onto the scene as a sophomore, when he took over for Kevin Prince in the opening game of the season and promptly led the Celts to the CIF-SS Pac-5 finals. "It really means a lot to me," said Bennett. "It was just a good day overall. I went out and won the league in the long jump and triple jump and then I go and get my first offer. Knowing I have at least one and it's from a good school. Now I'm just going to keep working hard." Bennett is planning to talk with Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt soon. "I'm hoping to talk to Coach Wannstedt on Monday," said Bennett. During his 2008 junior season at Crespi, Bennett was 108-for-195 for 1,622 yards and threw 10 touchdown passes and ran for 193 yards on 49 carries, with three touchdowns. His sophomore year saw him lead Crespi to the Serra League title and the finals of the CIF-SS Pac-5 playoffs and he threw for 2,133 yards and 17 touchdowns.
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