- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 1, 2010

HARRISBURG, PA. (AP) - No one can say Jameel Poteat shrinks from a challenge.

The running back from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa., announced on July 28 he was making a verbal commitment to Pittsburgh.

He chose the Panthers despite presence of sophomore incumbent Dion Lewis and the legacy left by former Pitt and McDevitt star LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy, now a Philadelphia Eagle.

“I look at the players who have played running back there, and it is impressive and I want to try to become the next great one in line,” the 5-foot-11, 210-pounder told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last month. “I mean Shady talked to me a lot about Pitt and his experiences there and how the coaching staff treated him and that had a big influence on my decision.”

Poteat, the cousin of former Pitt star and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Hank Poteat, is one of The Associated Press East Region 25 list of top recruits.

He is a threat on the ground as well as through the air. In the past two seasons, Poteat has gained 2,972 yards on 466 carries and 40 touchdowns. He has also 50 catches for 625 yards and another six TDs.

But that’s not all he’s done, said McDevitt head coach Jeff Weachter.

“We’ve had some great running backs at McDevitt, but he’s the best blocking tailback I’ve ever had. We’ll probably do more with him this year. We’ll rely more on Jameel,” Weachter said. “He’s 210 pounds with good speed, very good cutback moves and power; he does it all.”

That explains why Poteat received offers from nearly 40 colleges, including USC, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida and Iowa.

“He was going to originally take all five official visits, go to USC, Florida, Notre Dame. Then he came to me and said, Coach, I’m thinking about making it (the decision) now.’ He wasn’t himself this summer. You could tell it was on his mind,” Weachter said.

“Now he’s the same type of kid he’s always been. He’s back to his old self, happy-go-lucky, always with a smile on his face.”