It seemed like the Pittsburgh commitment onslaught was over until Parma (Ohio) Lakewood St. Edwards guard Joe Thomas committed to the Panther program.
The 6-foot-4, 294-pounder visited Pittsburgh, Michigan, Boston College and Ohio State for visits just two weeks ago and obviously came away impressed with the Panthers.
"I went on vacation the following week and then I thought it's just where I felt I belong, so I didn't think there was any more time to think about," he said. "I just felt like I was at home when I was there and I love the coaching staff. Coach Wannstedt has gotten all these guys to commit and I wanted to be a part of that class. They also have great facilities and I like that it's in the city, and you get to practice right next to the Steelers."
Much of Thomas's interest in the Panthers stems from the coaches.
"Coach Wannstedt is incredibly down-to-earth and coach Rhoads always welcomes me when I come down, they just made me feel at home."
Thomas has high hopes for the future of Pittsburgh.
"The future is looking very bright," he said. "I believe we're going to be a solid contender for the national championship in the next three to four years."
Thomas plans to do what he can to help the team get there.
"I'm going to bring my aggressive style of play and blue-collar attitude to the team."
Panther fans interested in checking out their latest prospect should look at heading to Gateway's first home game where they'll play Lakewood St. Edwards. This season the prospect is looking to improve on multiple facets of his game to prepare himself for the next level.
"I'm just training hard, working out and running to prepare for next season," he said. "I'm looking to improve on my agility and I want to get my endurance up. Agility will help me a lot with my lateral movement on the line while endurance will come into play because college is going to be more grueling than high school."
Thomas isn't sure if he'll be able to attend any Panther games next year because his team plays their games on Saturday. Despite that, the lineman will be keeping a close eye on his new team.
"I just want to see how the players react to the new coaching next year."
The offensive guard was named first team all-Cuyahoga County as a junior.