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June 18, 2013

Shady Side ATH commits to Pitt

Pitt was the first school to offer Dennis Briggs, and on Tuesday the Shady Side Academy athlete decided he wanted to be a Panther.

Actually, Briggs has known for some time that he wanted to be a Panther. On Tuesday, he informed the coaches that he had made a decision.

"I committed earlier tonight," Briggs told Panther-Lair.com. "I talked to my dad yesterday and then after football practice I told my coach I was ready to commit. He asked where and I told him Pitt. We talked about it and he said, 'I think that's a good one for you.'

"So I got off work today and called Coach (Joe) Rudolph, I was like, 'Hey Coach' and he said 'What's going on?' I said I was ready to go, and he was like, 'Ready to go? For real? I said, 'Yeah' and he got excited and started passing the phone around so I could talk to all the coaches.

"They all seemed really excited, and I was excited, too. I knew for a while that Pitt was the one for me, but I just wanted to make sure that I didn't cheat. I wanted to look at the other schools that were interested in me. There are reasons why I want to go there, and I'm really confident that it's right for me."

While several things stood out to Briggs, the coaches' confidence in his abilities was chief among them.

"They were the first coaches to recruit me and the first to offer me; that meant something to me," Briggs said. "I really liked them and felt like they were sincere when they said they felt like I was a good character guy and when they told me they believe in my athletic ability."

Pitt's belief in Briggs only increased last weekend when he attended the Panthers' prospect camp. He started at safety during the morning session of the camp and then moved to running back for the afternoon session. By the end of the day, the coaches decided that his future was on offense.

"At the camp, they told me I'm good at catching the ball and they like me for offense," Briggs said. "What I think happened was, I felt more confident in myself at running back. When I first started high school football, I started to really like safety and I focused on trying to get better and playing defensive back at all the camps and really improving.

"But I think all along I had more instincts at running back and I think that's what I do well."

In addition to Pitt, Briggs had offers from Buffalo and Toledo, and coaches from Yale also tried to land him. Additionally, coaches from Stanford requested his transcript, and the coaching staffs at Penn State and Michigan State wanted him to attend their prospect camps.

For his part, Briggs is done with the recruiting process.

"I'm committed to Pitt," he said. "I'm 100% to Pitt. It's weird saying it after all this time, but yeah, I'm 100% to Pitt. This will give me a chance to get focused and get comfortable with what I'm going to be doing at the next level.

"They're telling me that I have a place on their team, so I'm going to work and earn my spot. I know I'll be supported there, and being home is a plus. I just feel like everything is falling into place."

Briggs is the fourth recruit to commit to Pitt in the class of 2014 and the second one to do so on Tuesday. Ohio quarterback Adam Bertke also committed Tuesday, joining New York safety Jalen Williams and Michigan offensive lineman Connor Hayes.




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