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Pitt lands junior-college center |

Pitt lands junior-college center

| Sunday, December 16, 2007 12:00 a.m

Pitt continues to cash in on the momentum of its victory over No. 2 West Virginia, as the Panthers have landed a top junior-college center and appear to be on the verge of adding another All-American from the WPIAL.

Robb Houser of Butte (Calif.) Community College made a verbal commitment to Pitt on Saturday, while Gateway linebacker Shayne Hale was enjoying the Pitt-Oklahoma State basketball game during an official visit.

The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Houser chose the Panthers over Syracuse, and he is expected to enroll in January and compete for the starting job. Houser is Pitt’s 14th recruit from the Class of 2008, its seventh in 10 days and second from the junior-college ranks (quarterback Greg Cross is the other).

“I was looking for a good program and a great opportunity to start,” Houser said. “They’re not just going to give it to me, but the spot is mine to take. I’ve just got to earn it.”

The 6-3, 245-pound Hale has narrowed his choices to Pitt and Ohio State, and could commit to the Panthers early next month while playing in the nationally televised U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Hale was wooed by the Oakland Zoo in similar fashion to star tailback LeSean “Shady” McCoy last January. Hale left his courtside seat next to Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt in the first half to stand in the student section, where one handmade sign read, “Shady+Shayne=BCS.”

Where McCoy confirmed his choice by checking a blank box next to his name, Hale might have tipped his hand by donning a gold Oakland Zoo T-shirt during a timeout.

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