Dave Wannstedt is no longer the head football coach at Pitt, and Ben Kline is no longer a Pitt football recruit.
One day after Wannstedt's forced resignation, the Dallastown High School standout decided to change his verbal commitment from Pitt to Penn State, according to Wildcats head coach Kevin Myers.
"It had a lot to do with Pitt firing Wannstedt," Myers said. "He really liked their coaching staff up (at Pitt). ... It was a tough decision that was pretty much made up for him (because of Wannstedt's forced resignation). He really liked both schools."
Kline is rated as a three-star recruit on a five star scale by recruiting services Scout.com and Rivals.com. He becomes Penn State's ninth verbal commitment in its 2011 recruiting class.
Kline had given Pitt his verbal commitment on June 7, but had apparently been having second thoughts about that choice even before Wannstedt was fired. Myers said that Kline took a recruiting visit to Penn State over this past weekend.
Kline could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening. However, Kline told the website Lions247 the following:
"My parents and I sat down (Wednesday) and I talked to my coach and I'm going to go to Penn State. I really enjoyed my visit this weekend ... I really liked everything and all the coaches and the whole situation.
"I was weighing my options and everything and trying to figure out everything that I wanted to do. Obviously with Coach Wannstedt being let go, I love those guys out there and everything and I really feel for them, but once that all happened it just kind of solidified that Penn State was the place for me."
Myers said that Kline's recruitment at Penn State was headed up by defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who is known as the school's top recruiter.
"I think either school was a good fit," Myers said. "Being in his shoes, with the coach leaving that recruited him ... I'd be really apprehensive about going there because you don't know who is going to replace him or when.
"But, knowing Ben, no matter where he goes, he's going to be successful because he's going to work hard and do what he has to do."
Kline led the Wildcats to an 11-1 record this season, including a perfect 10-0 regular season and their first York-Adams League Division I title in 30 years.
The 6-foot, 3-inch, 225-pound senior led the Dallastown defense by making 152 tackles from his inside linebacker spot. A tight end and running back on offense, Kline grabbed 36 passes for 524 yards (14.6 average) and carried the ball 35 times for 330 yards (9.4 average) while scoring 13 touchdowns.
Kline's overall performance made him a unanimous choice by the coaches as the York-Adams League Division I Player of the Year.
Kline, who reportedly has 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, is expected to play linebacker in college.
-- Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 854-1575, ext. 455.