The Pittsburgh Panthers have a chance to land 5-star wide receiver Robert Foster from Monaca, Pennsylvania. The only catch is, they're going to have to out-recruit Alabama to do it. Not a problem, right?
Foster's 247Sports interest list currently has Alabama on top as the favorite, followed by Pittsburgh.
Alabama is the current No. 1 team in the nation according to the BCS standings and they are the defending National Champions.
They are coached by one of the best in the nation in Nick Saban, and they are an elite draw in the college football recruiting world.
On paper, Foster shouldn't have a decision between Alabama and Pitt, but thankfully for Pitt, not all decisions are made on paper.
According to Foster via his Twitter, he will be taking an official visit to Pitt coming up soon:
My official visit to PITT on the 16th— D-rob#4 (@DROBFoster_4) November 7, 2012
The importance of this visit cannot be understated for Pitt, as it may be one of their only shots to spend a significant amount of time recruiting Foster in an official capacity, and it may one of their only chances to try to get Foster to forget about Alabama.
The kicker is, that's going to be much easier said than done, so Paul Chryst and his staff will literally have to hammer home every single recruiting point that they can think of. Any advantage they have has to be brought to the table for Foster.
The first and most obvious point will have to be proximity. Monica is under an hour away from the University of Pittsburgh, and frankly, if distance from home didn't matter, I don't think Pitt would be in the picture right now. The Pitt recruiting staff will have to really play up the fact that Foster can play near home where his family and friends will be able to visit much easier.
The other real advantage Pitt has over Alabama is that they can him the ability to be the premier player in their program. He'd be the face of Pitt football as long as he lived up to his potential.
At Alabama he'd be one of many great players, and his chances of really standing out would be slim. It's not impossible, because he really is a talented player, but he'd just be one of the guys, instead of "the guy".
Also, consider that Pitt has a pretty good history of sending their elite receivers into the NFL. Jonathan Baldwin was the first round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs back in 2011, and Larry Fitzgerald was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft.
Another 5-star player, Dorian Johnson, is considering the Pitt program as well, and Jared Shanker of ESPN.com is reporting that Johnson will be visiting that weekend as also. Pitt can sell Foster on the chance to play with Johnson, and vice versa.
If both Johnson and Foster committed, they could be the catalysts that show the college football recruiting world that Pitt is a program elite prospects should consider, and that's yet another thing the Panthers would be smart to bring up during the visit.
How about the fact that Pittsburgh will be soon moving to the ACC? That could be a huge pitch for the Panthers, as they can point to the momentum the conference change could possibly bring to their program. Just look at how it's impacted Texas A&M, right?
These are all great selling points for Pittsburgh.
They may not be elite, and they may not be nationally relevant (you could argue that they are barely relevant in the Big East), but they do have some things to offer the 5-star wide receiver.
It's going to be tough to out-recruit Alabama, but if there's a way to do it, this would be it.
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