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New to the Zoo: Marcus Carr commits to Pitt

Pitt lands their third recruit for the 2017 class

Pitt received some good basketball recruiting news today, as Marcus Carr has committed to the program. Matt Steinbrink of was the first to break the story on the commitment.

Pitt basketball also got good news this morning. It is on the site and article coming soon.— Matthew Steinbrink (@MattSteinbrink) October 26, 2016

Marcus Carr is a 6’2” 170 pound guard originally from Canada. He will be playing for Florida prep powerhouse, Montverde Academy this season. Montverde is among the top five high school basketball programs in the country. Carr checks in as a four-star by, and is a three star by the likes of Rivals, ESPN, and 247.

Carr chose Pitt over offers from other programs such as Baylor, Cincinnati, and Virginia Tech. He becomes the third player of Kevin Stallings first recruiting class joining point guard Aaron Thompson and power forward Terrell Brown. There are still two open scholarships to fill in this recruiting class.

Carr is similar to Aaron Thompson in stature, but their games are a little different. Carr appears to be more of a “combo-guard” and is capable of playing off the ball, and that is likely the role he will play here at Pitt.

There has been much talk about this recruiting class, and for good reason, it’s an important one. Basketball season is right around the corner, and it’s pretty well known this team will be carried by their senior class. This recruiting class will have to usher in a new era of Pitt basketball once these seniors graduate.

There have been some disappointments surrounding this recruiting class, as they have missed out on some of their top prospects. Still, they have managed to grab solid three-star prospects. A concern would be the class lacks “star power” but these prospects are program players that Stallings can at least build with for now.

Still, the class is drawing some praise from some national writers today.

Impressed with the guards Kevin Stallings has headed his way in 2017. Marcus Carr & Aaron Thompson are tough dudes. Fit what he wants.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) October 26, 2016 Aaron Thompson/Marcus Carr 2017 tandem will bring excellent toughness & defensive skills to Pitt; strong pick-up— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) October 26, 2016

As mentioned above, there are two spots still left to fill. It has been reported a few prospects will be taking their official visits to Pitt this weekend, and perhaps another commitment or two could be on the way.

Could one season of youth football affect a child's brain?

Millions of children suit up every year to play youth football, but a new study raised concerns about the impact on their brains after playing a single season.

>> Read more trending stories  

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center analyzed the number of hits to the head that a player likely received over the course of a season. They suited up 25 players with helmets with sensors inside to measure the frequency and severity of the impacts.

The researchers recorded every hit at every practice and in every game, monitoring to make sure they were contact hits and not players dropping a helmet.

Researchers analyzed brain images before and after the season.

Dr. Chris Whitlow, an associate professor and chief of neuroradiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the study's lead author, said there were changes in the brain’s white matter, which he defined as "the different wires that connect the different parts of the brain for function to take place."

The more hits the head took, the more change doctors said they saw.

"These are not changes you would be able to see with your naked eye," Whitlow said. "These are very, very subtle changes."

Whitlow said there are still many unanswered questions and parents shouldn't be alarmed.

"There's a lot of things we don't know," Whitlow said. "We don't know if they persist. We don't know if they go away after the season. We don't know if there are even more changes if people play multiple seasons."

Those answers could be years away. Researchers say more information is needed to understand whether the changes could lead to negative long-term health issues.

No one kneeled during World Series game 1, internet noticed

Protesting the National Anthem has been a focus on this year’s football season, but at the first game of World Series baseball game Tuesday night, the scene was different.

Singer Rachel Platten, famous for her song “Fight Song,” sang the opening National Anthem, and all players appeared to stand during the ceremony.

The World Series tournament is between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. Cleveland won round one of the series.

>> Read more trending stories  

People on Twitter noticed the lack of protest during the singing of the National Anthem.

San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick started the National Anthem controversy when he chose to sit during the song at a preseason game in protest to the country’s social and racial injustices. Fellow teammates as well as other football teams and athletes and across the country have joined his protest.

Many viewers feel that the protest is disrespectful to veterans who have sacrificed for the country, symbolized through the flag. NFL ratings are down this season, and many are speculating it could have something to do with the sport becoming a platform for protest.

Man dies after falling from railing at Denver Broncos game

A man who fell 60 feet from a railing Monday night during a Denver Broncos game at the city's Sports Authority Field at Mile High has died, police said Tuesday.

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Jason Coy, 36, died of blunt-force trauma, according to a report from the Denver Medical Examiner's Office obtained by The Denver Post.

Police are investigating Coy's death as a non-traffic accident, in line with standard procedure in similar cases. Investigators believe that Coy was sitting on a railing when he lost his balance and fell into a stairwell.

A Denver Fire Department spokesman told The Post that Coy fell around 9:45 p.m., after the game against the Houston Texans ended.

Witnesses and emergency personnel responded after Coy fell, according to police, and he was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. He was later pronounced dead.

The Broncos offered condolences to Coy's family in a statement released Tuesday.

"The Denver Broncos are extremely saddened to learn that Jason Coy, the fan who fell over a stairwell railing at Monday night's game, has passed away," the statement said. "Along with Stadium Management Co., we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends.

"Providing a safe, enjoyable environment for guests at Sports Authority Field at Mile High is the top priority for the Broncos and SMC. We're reviewing this tragic incident and will continue to maintain all necessary safety measures for our fans."

Police are investigating to determine what led to the fall.

Pat Signal: Charles Reeves Picks Pitt

Pitt snags their third TE commit of the 2017 class

Pitt is in desperate need of talent and depth at the tight end position and it shows in the upcoming recruiting class. The Panthers already had two commits at the position. Things got even better this morning, as Steubenville, OH tight end, Charles Reeves committed to Pat Narduzzi and Pitt.— Charles Reeves Jr©®™ (@munchhiie_17) October 26, 2016

The announcement ends an interesting recruiting story, as Reeves was originally committed to Kentucky, but opened back up and then ended it this morning. Reeves is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals and 247, but a four-star on Scout. His tight end ratings, in the same order, are 27th, 13th, and all the way up to number five on Scout.

The Panthers beat out a slew of other big-time programs for Reeves’ services. Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska were among his top choices, according to Rivals. Scout also credits him as having offers from Alabama and Tennessee. Reeves is the 16th commit in the class and the third tight end for 2017. The decision follows a couple of delayed announcements by the big prospect. He had originally said he would announce two previous times and then said later on this month, before deciding on Pitt this morning.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

Man predicts 2016 Cubs World Series win in 1993 yearbook quote

More than two decades ago, who could have guessed that the Cubs would make it to the World Series this year? 

Mike Lee, that's who.

According to WGN, the then-California resident's senior quote in his 1993 high school yearbook offered a prediction that may very well come true.

>> Click here to watch the news report

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"Chicago Cubs. 2016 World Champions," reads the quote under Lee's photo in the 1993 annual for Mission Viejo High School. "You heard it here first."

Marcos Meza, Lee's friend and a fellow Mission Viejo alum, shared a photo and video of the yearbook page with WGN.

>> See the image here

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><br /><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><br /><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><br /><span>  js = d.createElement(s); = id;</span><br /><span>  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";</span><br /><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><br /><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> Boom , your heard it here firstPosted by Marcos Meza on Tuesday, October 25, 2016

>> Watch the video here

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"Way to call it, Mike. Way to call it," Meza says in the video. "You heard it here second. Mike Lee called it out first."

>> Read more trending stories

Today, Lee lives in Chicago. He told WGN that the quote was inspired by a dream he had as a kid. The year 2016 "was up on that red scoreboard they have ... with Harry Caray blasting away, 'Cubs win the World Series,'" Lee said.

"It was pretty vivid," Lee added. "That's why I remembered it all the way through high school."

Read more here.

>> See another version of the image here

Against the Odds: Pitt vs. Virginia Tech

Checking the betting line for the Va Tech game

Pitt enters the big Thursday night showdown with Virginia Tech as an underdog. As of now, Virginia Tech will come into Heinz Field as a 4 1/2-point favorite (up slightly from the opening line of four) for the primetime national TV game on ESPN. The Hokies support a 5-2 record and check in 25th in the most recent rankings.

Virginia Tech has been pretty impressive this season, especially on defense. The are 11th nationally in total defense, which has been a staple of the Bud Foster era. The difference this season appears to be a more wide open offense that is putting up more points than in recent seasons. Junior quarterback Jerod Evans is having a pretty ridiculous season with 1,611 passing yards and 19 touchdown passes. He’s also a capable runner, and had a season-high 98 yards in their win against Miami last week.

So pretty much, Pitt is facing a team with a strong defense and a quarterback that can pass and is mobile. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Those strengths can definitely exploit Pitt’s weaknesses. This very well could be the best team Pitt has faced this season as a whole.

Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. Pitt is a pretty good team in their own right, and it’s a four point spread, not a 40 point spread - it should be a good game. They have played well at home this season, and are 4-0 at Heinz Field. The Panthers are alwo enjoying one of their best offensive seasons in school history, as they have put up 36 or more points in each of their last six games.

There is also history on Pitt’s side. Pitt has won two straight against Virginia Tech, including a Thursday Night showcase like this two years ago. In fact, Pitt has won 6 of the last 7 meetings with the Hokies, and that spans multiple coaching regimes. As a whole, Pitt just matches up well with the Hokies.

I think four points is a fair spread, but I’m tempted to take Pitt. It’s a must win for both teams who still have a chance of winning the ACC Coastal Division. I think both teams have a shot in this one, but it might be a different kind of Pitt-Virginia Tech game then we are used to seeing. Points will be scored. Last year’s game was 17-13 in favor of Pitt, but I expect a few more points to be scored this time.

What do you think? Can Pitt score the big nationally televised win?

Black high school football player allegedly attacked with noose in Mississippi

The NAACP is calling for a federal investigation following an alleged noose attack at Stone County High School in Wiggins, Mississippi.

A black high school student said he was attacked by multiple students before football practice on Oct. 13. The white students reportedly placed a noose around the black student’s neck and “yanked backward,” according to John Feaster, the football coach at Stone County, told that only one individual was involved in the incident – not a group – and that player is no longer with the team.

>> Read more trending stories

However, Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, said the victim's parents have not been told of any disciplinary action taken against the students responsible.

The principal at Stone County and representatives from the school district declined to comment, but Feaster told ESPN that it’s “sad” there are still things like this happening in 2016.

“”Trust me. I understand. I’m an African-American male, and I was born and raised in Mississippi,” Feaster said. “It’s sad that something like this happens in 2016. I just pray we can get it together.”

(h/t Complex)

CEO gives World Series tickets to Pearl Harbor veteran

Everrit “Jim” Schlegel is a rare breed – he’s actually seen the Cubs play in the World Series.

As long-suffering Cubs fans know all too well, the last time the Cubs were in the World Series was 1945. At 97, Schlegel, a Pearl Harbor veteran, may not have many more opportunities to see his beloved Cubs play for the championship. That’s why his granddaughter started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a pair of World Series tickets.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis heard about Schlegel’s campaign and gifted a pair of tickets to Friday night’s game to the veteran, according to WGN.

Schlegel was touched by the offer and plans on taking his son to the game. He recorded a message of thanks to Lemonis, which was posted on Twitter.

As for the GoFundMe campaign, it has generated over $11,000 in donations. The family will donate all proceeds to the Purple Heart Foundation.

Patriots' Rob Gronkowski goes undercover as Lyft driver

Some lucky New Englanders got chauffeured around town by the one and only Gronk recently. 

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski went undercover as a Lyft driver to surprise unsuspecting New Englanders. 

>> Read more trending stories 

In the YouTube video posted by Lyft, many of his passengers didn't seem to know it was him and discussed everything from figure skating to putting lotion on Tom Brady. 

One passenger even said he had met Gronk at a bar downtown, before Gronk took off the wig and informed him Gronk hadn't been to that bar. #Oops.

There was no word on what kind of driver rating he got. 

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