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Pitt getting Ohio standout

Cincinnati FB is Panthers' first recruit from class of 2000

Thursday, June 17, 1999

By Mike White, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

When Rick Razzano Sr. was in high school, Pitt's football coaches said he wasn't good enough to play for them. Twenty-five years later, Pitt welcomes Razzano's son with open arms.

Rick Razzano Jr., a fullback-linebacker at Milford High School in suburban Cincinnati, has made an oral commitment to Pitt. He is the Panthers' first recruit from the class of 2000, and he comes with a lofty reputation.

Razzano (6 feet, 225 pounds) is rated among the top 15 players in Ohio by recruiting guru Bill Kurelic of the Ohio Football Recruiting News. Besides Pitt, Razzano had scholarship offers from Mississippi, Virginia Tech and Bowling Green. Michigan and Ohio State, among others, were also showing interest.

Razzano made his commitment Monday while attending camp at Pitt. The Panthers can only hope the younger Razzano turns out as good as his father. Rick Sr., who starred at linebacker on New Castle's 1973 WPIAL championship team, went on to play at Virginia Tech and also five years in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"When I was at New Castle, Pitt said I was too short and too slow to play for them," Rick Sr. said with a laugh.

Although Kurelic rates Razzano among the best linebackers in Ohio, he was recruited by Pitt to play fullback.

"Last year was the first year since his pee-wee league days that he played both fullback and middle linebacker," Rick Sr. said. "As a fullback, he's a devastating blocker."

This isn't a boasting father speaking, either. Rick Razzano Sr. coaches inside linebackers for Milford. Rick Jr. bench-presses 365 pounds, squats 600 and was the leading tackler for Milford last season.

Rick Jr. attended Cincinnati Moeller as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Milford. Brian Diehl, Pitt's new recruiting coordinator, coached against Rick Jr. last year when he was head coach at Princeton High in Cincinnati.

"We just felt Pitt was going to provide the best opportunity for him to get a college degree and the best opportunity to make an impact and play early," Rick Sr. said.

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