Hard Work Pays Off for Pinigis

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The following is an excerpt from the 07/18/02 Sabremail.

Tuesday, Coach Groh and company received their third offensive line commitment of the 2003 class when Jefferson Forest standout Eddie Pinigis pledged to the Cavs. Pinigis, Gordie Sammis, and Marshall Ausberry make the future Cavalier O-line look bigger and brighter… with emphasis on bigger.

Towering at 6’8″ 285-pounds, Pinigis has worked hard to gain weight over the past year. His hard work has helped him turn into a very good collegiate prospect, as he has gained 20 pounds since around a year ago. He hopes to continue his progression in the weight room on the way to Charlottesville.

“My goal is to get up around 290,” said Pinigis. “Last year, I weighed about 265. I have worked hard to gain the right kind of weight. I have gained 20 pounds of muscle and want to gain a little more.”

It appears Pinigis has offensive tackle written all over him at the next level. His pass blocking ability and physical characteristics make him an excellent tackle prospect and an accomplished pass blocker. Pass blocking indeed is one of his strengths, and he admits he needs to work on his run blocking next season.

“My pass blocking is better,” said Pinigis. “I have good technique, long arms, and good feet. I do want to improve on my run blocking though. I have improved my run blocking [over the last season], but I want to get better.”

Pinigis’s commitment came as a surprise to many Cavalier fans, as he had earlier mentioned Tennessee and Florida as favorites. His early commitment was even a surprise to his mother, although she is happy with the way things happened.

“Eddie grew up liking the Cavaliers,” said Ms. Pinigis. “It is funny how things worked out. I’m happy with what happened.”

Eddie was happy as well, although his reasons for picking the Cavaliers were more than because they were his childhood favorite. In fact, there were many reasons why Pinigis decided on the Cavaliers.

“UVA is only an hour and a half away,” said Pinigis. “My family can come see me play pretty easily. Plus, the ACC is a great conference. Coach Groh really recruited me well. I felt like they wanted me more than anyone else. They worked the hardest. I know all of the coaches at Virginia. I can’t say that about any other college.

“Plus, Coach Groh came from the NFL. He has NFL connections, and that is what I want to do. My goal is to get to the NFL.”

Pinigis expects that he may receive playing time early in his Virginia career. Whether he does or not, however, it doesn’t matter. He wants to do what is best for himself and the team.

“Earlier, when the Cavaliers offered me, they said that they do redshirt some players,” said Pinigis. “But when I went to Virginia’s camp, Coach Prince said I had improved. Coach Groh spoke with my father about me possibly playing early. But, it doesn’t really matter to me. Whatever is best.”

In addition to Virginia, Pinigis was also offered by Maryland. He received attention from Tennessee, Florida, and Virginia Tech, among others. The Cavaliers now have 10 commitments for the 2003 class, which include FUMA-bound defensive players Robert Armstrong, Ahmad Brooks and Keenan Carter.

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