Panthers Add Lineman from Bronx

Article excerpt

If Fernando Diaz can push around defensive linemen the way he does a sport-utility vehicle, Pitt has found a future stud on its offensive line.

A day after winning a national high school strongman competition, the 6-foot-2, 285-pound guard from Bronx (N.Y.) Cardinal Hayes gave a verbal commitment to Pitt on Monday. Diaz chose the Panthers over scholarship offers from Army and Connecticut.

"I was real impressed by everything at Pitt. Everything was first class," Diaz said. "One thing that made me decide was the relationship with the coaches, with (running backs coach) David Walker, with head coach (Dave) Wannstedt and (offensive line coach) Tony Wise. It came down to whether I wanted to play in a city or in a farm place in the middle of nowhere."

Diaz is the Panthers' sixth recruit from the Class of 2009, and their first from New York City since defensive lineman Ron Idoko, also of the Bronx, walked-on in '02. Pitt has had a strong history with Bronx basketball players, including Orlando Antigua, Carl Krauser, Ronald Ramon and Austin Wallace.

Diaz hails from the same school in the South Bronx that produced film director Martin Scorsese, talk-show host Regis Philbin and was attended briefly by the late comedian George Carlin. …