Dave Wannstedt reached out of state to grab one of the top running backs in the country. The Panthers nabbed Churchville (N.Y.) Churchville-Chili running back Kevin Collier. The Rivals250 prospect picked Pittsburgh over offers from Maryland, Michigan State, Boston College, Connecticut, Syracuse and Wisconsin among others.
"I really liked the area and I wanted to get away from home," he said. "I also knew coach Walker for four years, so he had an advantage over the other recruiters who were all great people. I loved all the programs and I'm glad I got to meet coach Carroll at USC, Lempa from Boston College, Spencer from Syracuse and coach Alvarez at Wisconsin. They were all down-to-earth guys who love football, but I've got to say coach Walker was the biggest influence and I felt comfortable there.
"Pittsburgh also has what I want to study and I know the offense is going to change under coach Wannstedt. The players are great guys and they've got a family atmosphere too."
Collier is excited to get the free ride to Pittsburgh and is looking to get the most out of his education.
"I want to take up physical education, communications and more," he said. "I'm undecided on my major, but I'm going to be there four or five years and I want to take full advantage of my education. I'm probably more excited about that part then even football and I'm so excited that it's all paid for."
The four-star prospect told Pittsburgh yesterday of his commitment.
"Coach Wannstedt was like, wow," he said. "He was very happy about my decision as I heard the coaches yelling and screaming with happiness on the phone."
The No. 17 running back in the country is happy to have the commitment behind him.
"I'm finally a student now, there aren't going to be any more phone calls. It's all taken care of and out of the way," he said. "I know September 1st is the day coaches can call me and now they don't have to. It's a big relief and I'm happy with the decision."
Collier has talked to the coaches a little about playing time already too.
"I talked to coach Walker and if I can start as a freshman that's cool, but I understand there's a depth chart," he said. "I really do want to work my way up and feel like I worked hard to get something. I've seen their other running backs and they're good, so I'll have to work for it."
The No. 3 prospect in New York hopes to bring a lot to Pittsburgh when he arrives.
"I think I can bring a different attitude to the running back position," he said. "In the past few years they were a passing team and that's not a bad thing, but it's not good either. Last year they were 105th in the country rushing the ball and I know you've got to run the ball to win games."
Collier still isn't sure when he'll attend a game this season and currently doesn't have an official visit scheduled either.
"The first three Saturdays of the season we have games and then the last three are on Fridays," he said. "I'm not sure when I'll get down there, but I want to go back and see the guys and check it out some more."
The running back prospect ran for 1,724 yards and 20 touchdowns as he was named Section V Class AAA offensive player of the year.
Collier said a final note to all the schools recruiting him.
"The process was fun and I enjoyed it," he said. "I just want to thank all the coaches for offering me the opportunity to meet them. They are all great people doing great things and headed in the right direction."