LeSean McCoy’s Departure Leaves Pitt Fans Seeing Stars

Paul SieversAnalyst IJanuary 15, 2009

While every Pitt fan would have liked to have seen one more year of LeSean “Shady” McCoy in blue and gold, the young man made a very understandable decision to leave for the NFL draft.

Shady’s decision came as a surprise to nobody; Dave Wannstedt’s staff had prepared for this before the season. Next year will be a very important year for the Pitt football program. We will learn if Wannstedt and his staff have really turned the Pitt program around or if last years season was a fluke with a gifted runner carrying the team.

Ever since Dave Wannstedt took the Pitt job, Panther fans have heard two things: jokes from NFL writers and praise from the recruiting services. From 2006 through 2008, the Panthers assembled ballyhooed recruiting class after ballyhooed recruiting class. Next season, will be a true test of Wannstedt’s ability to turn recruiting stars into wins.

LeSean McCoy was a four-star recruit coming out of prep school, as are two of Pitt’s other running backs, Kevin Collier and Chris Burns. I am not suggesting that the running back who wins the starting job next season will be as good as Shady, but there is talent at the position. The system should not change much.

Pitt has highly touted recruits at other offensive positions as well. The Panthers will feature two four-star tight ends, a five-star wide receiver and an offensive line that will start at least two four star recruits. All of this without mentioning a defense with more ability than the offense.

No, these recruiting services are not the be-all and end-all, but I find it hard to believe that if Pitt does not succeed, then the recruiting services were wrong about all these guys. It has to come back to the coaching staff.

The Big East was abysmal this season and it does not figure to be any more competitive next year. If Pitt can’t at the very least put together another 5-2 conference record then there is something very wrong and those in charge must be held accountable.