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August 7, 2007
PITTSBURGH -- Freshman quarterback Pat Bostick, Pittsburgh's top recruit and a likely challenger for a starting job this season, left preseason camp for personal reasons and his return is uncertain.
Bostick, who threw for 7,259 yards during his career at Manheim Township High near Lancaster, returned to his home Monday night -- only hours after the team held its media day activities in advance of Tuesday's start of camp.
Bostick and Pitt's other incoming freshmen were not made available for interviews Monday.
"With our full support and understanding, Pat Bostick left campus last night and returned home to Lancaster to deal with a personal issue," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said in a statement released Tuesday. "Everyone connected with our program has the highest regard for Pat, not only as a talented football player but also as a fine young man. No timetable has been set for his return. We are leaving that judgment to Pat and intend to do everything we can to be supportive of him and his family."
The 6-3, 220-pound Bostick passed for 2,172 yards and 20 touchdowns last season after having 2,810 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior. Rivals.com rated him as the No. 2 player in the state.
Bostick committed to Pitt a year ago so that he wouldn't have to go through the recruiting process during his senior season. He was a Rivals.com four-star prospect and the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the nation. Bostick was also a two-time Pennsylvania Class AAAA second team all-state quarterback by The Associated Press, and his career passing yardage is the fifth highest in state history.
Recruiting Bostick was seen as a step forward for Pitt, which has gone 11-12 in Wannstedt's first two seasons after appearing in bowl games in each of former coach Walt Harris' final five seasons.
Pitt's other top recruit, running back LeSean McCoy, is Bostick's friend, but is uncertain why he left.
"He's a talented guy and very smart, so he must be going through something very serious," McCoy said. "I'm here to support him, just like his other teammates, (in) whatever he's going through. ... I don't know what it is. Whatever it is, I just support him."
Pitt opened camp Tuesday with the first of four days of workouts without pads.
The team's most experienced players worked out in the morning, with the newer players practicing in the afternoon. Wannstedt set up that schedule in part so Bostick and the other incoming freshmen would get as much practice time as his returning players.
Pitt has no proven quarterback after losing three-year starter Tyler Palko to graduation, and Bostick was expected to push junior Bill Stull, the likely opening day starter, and redshirt freshman Kevan Smith. Stull has thrown only 10 passes at Pitt and would be one of the least-experienced starting quarterbacks in school history.
"I think he's one of those guys who seems to perform better when the lights come on as compared to just in practice," Wannstedt said of Stull, a former star at Seton-La Salle High near Pittsburgh. "If you go out and just watch Billy in practice, he may not be the most impressive guy, but he's kind of a gamer. He's thrown a lot of touchdowns in his (high school) career. He's also had a very good offseason and he's not taking anything for granted. He wants to win the starting job."
For more coverage of the Pitt Panthers, check out PantherLair.com.com.