What Hath Our Recruiting Wrought?

It seems to me by reading Pitt fans’ reactions to our latest recruiting commitments that we just might be the only team, in the ACC at least, who gets excited about 3* and 5.5 – 5.7 rated high school players coming onto their roster.

This isn’t just this year or this head coach but has gone back to the days right after Dave Wannstedt was fired at the end of the 2010 season and when we had that shattered recruiting class of 2011.

That was back when there was true instability in the football program with the changeover of three HCs in three years and all the negative press which had been dragged along with that.  But we are far past that now and in a real sense have had a run of six years of relatively normal operations in the program.

Yes, losing one HC and hiring another, while not ideal,  is very common these days. At the end of 2015 only 29% of the then-current HCs of the 128 FBS programs had been at their schools for four years or longer… which in turn means the 71% programs had turned over HCs within four years – Pitt among them.

So Paul Chryst staying for three years and leaving, and departing on good terms by the way, is the norm in college ball today and isn’t looked at as a negative any longer.  Thus it isn’t necessarily a negative recruiting tool to be believed by recruits and their parents.  The crap we went though in the administration from 2010 until 2012… yes, that was a bad aberration, but lately it’s not so much.

The point here being that after two years of having Pat Narduzzi at the helm and his having two of the best successive years Pitt has had since 2008-09 our recruiting should have stabilized by now.

But has it?

The truth is that it well may have stabilized but at a level we don’t want to see in our program.  As stated above Pitt fans seem to feel that, in recruiting, average is not only acceptable but is apparently desirable. With that we have been jumping up and down and exclaiming “There is a Pat signal!” and thinking we got a great kid every time Narduzzi lands a 3* recruit (as determined by Rivals.com).

Winning programs, real honest to goodness winning programs, are not built on the backs of 3* high school players. They just aren’t and Pitt has shown that to be true over and over again because that is what we get and we have a total of two sustained winning seasons in the last seven years.

O PSUIn 2016 we had a second consecutive eight win season and both those years were done mainly with Paul Chryst recruits.  Especially on the offensive side of the ball where almost every player, save QB Nate Peterman and then in 2016 ATH Quadree Henderson, had been on roster before Narduzzi took over (see left).

With those players we set offensive scoring records this last season the likes of Pitt hadn’t achieved in 100+ years of football. It is no surprise that Chryst concentrated on the offensive side of things given his background as an offensive coordinator before being hired here at Pitt.  Those FR and SOs he had recruited who were on the roster after he left made their mark and were highly successful in their upperclassman years.

Reversely, we saw one of the worst defensive showings in 2017 that Pitt has every had also in giving up 35.2 points per game and 333 yards per game passing.  Truly horrendous and as a flip side to the above, again it was done with mostly Chryst recruits. 

Why can’t Pitt have it both ways for a change you may ask? Well, the answer lies in recruiting and hinges on not who we are getting as commitments but who we are missing out on.  Mainly blue-chip recruits.

To boil down the recruiting sites ratings systems to make it easier to understand, and there are big differences, here they are them explained in a nutshell (from this site):


The key to remember with Scout is that the number of stars next to a player’s name is not reflective of a player’s true ability –– it’s a reflection of the player’s skill level relative to his peers:

Understanding Scout.com’s Top 300 is really not that difficult. A five-star rating is awarded to the top 50 prospects. A four-star rating is awarded to a prospect that is considered one of the next 250 best players, ranked No. 51 to 300.


Not everyone does it that way.  Rivals rates players based on the impact they are expected to have at their new school and their stars are a little more flexible — and more generous — than Scout:

A five-star prospect is considered to be one of the nation’s top 25-30 players, four star is a top 250-300 or so player, three-stars is a top 750 level player, two stars means the player is a mid-major prospect and one star means the player is not ranked.

Rivals also assigns each player a number in their evaluation. Here’s what they mean.

6.1  Franchise Player; considered one of the elite prospects in the country, generally among the nation’s top 25 players overall; deemed to have excellent pro potential; high-major prospect

6.0 – 5.8  All-American Candidate; high-major prospect; considered one of the nation’s top 300 prospects; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team

5.7 – 5.5  All-Region Selection; considered among the region’s top prospects and among the top 750 or so prospects in the country; high-to-mid-major prospect; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team

5.4 – 5.0 Division I prospect; considered a mid-major prospect; deemed to have limited pro potential but definite Division I prospect; may be more of a role player

So here is the bottom line in recruiting;  a 4*or 5* recruit is the better and best of the total recruiting class.  5* players should end up in the NFL as a high pick and 4* players should be drafted and also make All-Conference while in school.

Conversely, a 3* recruit is expected to be a future starter on a FBS team and remember this – over the course of that recruit’s college career there will be at least four opportunities for that to come true.

Anyone surprised that I’m not overly excited that we keep getting  recruiting classes full of 3* recruits?  You have to be almost blind, deaf and dumb not to be able to pickup 3* kids out of the available bodies in any recruiting class.

Now – there is some real  hair-splitting with this and that is what Pitt fans, and I’m sure all schools’ fans who don’t follow the Big Dog programs, do and that is look at the ratings numbers (5.5 – 5.8) and Power-Five offers the recruit has and then try to discern how well that particular player will contribute at Pitt.

While that is fun to do and makes for good conversation – after all I’m doing just that – I don’t think that means anything at all in the long run.  We’ll find out in the more highly rated recruits’ first two or maybe three years if they were properly ranked or not. And that is even subjective as hell because a 3* player at Pitt may be a whole lot more valuable to the team than a 3* kid at Alabama or Ohio State (if you can find one).

All this doesn’t even consider the accession rate a school has with its recruits and Pitt has been very high in that regard in the past.  There were very few players left on the roster from Todd Graham’s 2011 class just three years later.  By my count only seven players in that class stayed longer than two or three years. 

A wasted class like that reverberates for at least three years as successive coaches have to make up that loss with inexperienced players or with extant roster players who shouldn’t be starting at all.

Jump to the next recruiting class of 2013 and we kept 10 of 16 for four years; in Chryst’s second season in 2014 and we retained 20 of 27 for their four years and they made up the bulk of the starters for the last two winning seasons.

So is the answer in the Jimmys & Joes as they say or is it incumbent on the coaching staff to 1) spot talent both on the existing roster and 2) teach and lead them up to full potential… or is it more targeting prime recruits and actually convincing them to come to Pitt?

Personally I don’t think you can have it both ways if you truly want to be a perennial Top 10 or 15 program along with 10 – 12 wins per season.  There I believe you have to get the blue chip kids onto your roster, keep them there and then get the most out of them for at least three years.

That has been Pitt’s problem for some time.  Even back when we were catching those 4* kids we weren’t keeping them.  Take a look at these  LOI commitment lists below – it is a long part of the article but look at who we recruited, their star and numerical rankings, then get your handkerchief out when you start tallying up how many left or were dismissed from the program.

My numbers may be off a bit – going off the top of my head with who left early but here they are…

2010’s Recruiting Class (DW’s last full class)  16% Blue Chip of total recruits


Lost two of four 4* and seven of 11 5.6 and above recruits.  Terrible but some of that had to do with the “bad times” of  2010-2011. 

2011’s Recruiting Class (TG’s only class)  9% Blue Chip of total recruits


We kept both 4*s and lost three of four 5.6 – 5.8 recruits.

2012’s Recruiting Class (PC’s first full class)  25% Blue Chip of total recruits


Three of four 4* didn’t finish four years and three of six 5.6 – 5.8 recruits. Horrible.

2013’s recruiting class   11% Blue Chip of total recruits


A bit better as two of three blue chippers stayed as did four of five 5.6 – 5.8…

2014’s Recruiting Class   17% Blue Chip of total recruits


Slipping back a bit here – in Narduzzi’s first year we lost three of four 4* and two of five 5.6. – 5.8s.

Injuries aside and there weren’t that many aside from Grimm I believe, it showed what a lack of ability to both get higher ranked kids onboard and to keep them there does to a program.

Pitt isn’t anywhere near the Elites in recruiting, not now and even with DW’s better years not then either.  We aren’t even in the ballpark with the Good recruiting schools all that much.

Here is an older article but it still rings true – it looks at percentage of blue chip players in a recruiting class (4* and above) from 2014.  Now, it uses the 247 recruiting site which lists composite results for each player from Scouts, Rivals and ESPN.

As recruiting rankings continue to grow more accurate, they’re now to a point at which they can help tell us which teams are ready to compete for titles.

Every BCS champion since recruiting rankings could be accurately tracked (2005, or four classes after Scout joined Rivals in rating players) has met a benchmark: it’s recruited more blue-chips (four and five-star players) than lesser-rated players over its four previous signing classes

And since those blue-chips are rare — roughly 300 of them per year, with more than 10,000 scholarships to fill nationwide at the FBS level — the teams that get blue-chips crush those who sign a lower-rated level of recruits.

Now look back at what we did with garnering Blue Chippers – our best year was in 2102 when we pulled in 25% in a very shortened class of only 16 recruits.  Overall we pulled in only 17 elite recruits out of 111 recruits we signed LOIs with…  15% Blue Chip over all. Not good at all and is the reason we are constantly ranked in the 40s or 50s of all FBS teams.

Now – that is what brought us up to Narduzzi’s first two years.  What have we done in the 2105 and 2016 classes to make this better.  (One thing I didn’t include these later classes when discussing departures because very few have happened yet.)  OK…

2015’s Recruiting Class – 13% Blue Chip of total recruits


2016’s Recruiting class  21% Blue Chip of total recruits


This shows a bit of an uptick but still falls short of what we need as a sustained winning and conference championship program.  Hill is gone and out of football.

Obviously there are a hundred of factors that go into recruiting the player, signing the player, getting the player to stay and play to full potential so there is no one answer.  I don’t think Pat Narduzzi is doing a bad job of recruiting at all.  So far about average for Pitt really.

I just believe that coming out of a period of relative stability in the program and putting out an eight win team in 2015 and 2016 his recruiting should be much better than it has been.  Especially with local WPA recruits – we are still seeing almost all of the best of them leave the area for what they think are greener pastures elsewhere and that is all on this coaching staff.



70 thoughts on “What Hath Our Recruiting Wrought?

  1. This is why Partridge was needed so badly. Narduzzi cant sell the program by himself. I think Harley is a good recruiter. Or at least he should be. Short of bringing wanny back (who coached for peanuts compared to most top 25 programs) I dont think recruiting is going to reach the ’09-10 levels anytime soon.


  2. I’ll have more on this later but I’m going straight to the well again… PITT beat psu and was the only team to beat the eventual National champions last year. That is defined as competing with the BIG BOY’S.

    Also, I thought we agreed that star ratings can often times mean little to nothing? So says James Conner.

    The secret to rebuilding a college football program are the 3 star players. When a scouting service only allows so many players into the elite status of 5 star and 4 star groups, that leave’s a ton of players that haven’t even come close to being properly evaluated. < Those were the guys that beat Clemson.. and the horrible/shameful school in central Pa.


  3. But have those wins energized the fan base? Made high school recruits take notice? Other than some decent recruits its hard to tell much difference, Pitt is not in the running for most of the regions top recruits. The program was probably better than its 8-5 record says it was, but at the end of the year they’re unranked, and lost to an unranked school in the bowl game. Some big time wins but roughly the same type of year record wise they always have.


  4. Agree but those are two different questions Sum. The point is that a few years of fractured and 3 or fewer star recruiting classes did beat the best team in the country. That’s a fact..

    So rear-view mirror or looking out the front windshield? If PITT can beat Clemson at their house on a Saturday night? Then they can beat anyone anywhere… humbly imo.


  5. Half thof ACC had Clemson beat Ike. NC state and others. We won but they were due a L. Fewer Connors than there are 4-5 stars that are duds.

    Those wins did little for this years recruiting. Just the truth of it.


  6. Again, We play Clemson 20 times they win 18. So to hang our identity like we would kick their ass over and over is a bit much.


  7. Reality > speculation.

    Scenario’s are kind of my game at times but even I know the truth is a lot more hearty than what if’s. Look at last years schedule results and tell me which teams “could” have beat Clemson, then tell me which one did.

    Due to lose? C’mon Upitt, that’s make believe stuff.

    btw, I’ve never heard of two teams playing each other 20 times a year to decide which is the better team……….. also, That game was on the road in “DEATH VALLEY” why can’t we give PITT some credit every once in awhile?

    Am I being absurd?

    Question, how did this due to lose team beat the best team other than Clemson for the National Championship?

    Is it any wonder why PITT has become the football school where one goes to lay down and die? Negativity permeates PITT football fans like no other place in the country. Thank goodness recruits see it all in a much different perspective.

    I don’t understand how this is so hard to understand? Respectfully…………… ike


  8. Ike…

    The point of the article was that if we keep getting three star recruits then we are going to keep playing three star football, and yes we won a big game or two but we’re still playing ball like we have for the last seven years of never getting over the hump to become a consistent big-time winning program.

    We just haven’t. We have very few bonafide solid 4 star players on our team who we can rely on to do well game in and game out and that is the nucleus of a good football program. We don’t have that yet.

    That has to happen on both sides of the football, not just on offense. It’s not enough to think your two stars are going to blow up and become super productive. The key is to have those blue chip players and enough of them that even if only 75% of those come through you’re going to have a solid nucleus for a great football program.


    1. Isnt this why Partridge was hired to try and step up recruiting. Narduzzis trying to get some momentum. Its probably going to take Pitt getting ranked for more regional recruits to sign. The B1G pays big money to get the results Pitt has gotten recently. Think Iowa expects 10 wins every year? Doubtful, and they signed Ferentz to a 10 year extension last season.


  9. OMG… we are doomed! Horrible attendance plus only 3 star recruits!
    Why even stay a Pitt Football fan?

    On a serious note, the one thing I look at is WHO else is offering that player? Today I saw Michigan, WVU and many other top 25 schools offering our last 2 recruits. Under Wanny and HCPC it was Miami of Ohio, Akron and CMU.

    That’s what best tells the story for me. Let’s give Coach Narduzzi a full recruiting class this year before we hit the panic button!

    HS coaches and recruits aren’t blind. They see the curse of SP and BOT which has ever dwindling Pitt crowds at Heinz. If Pitt magically went 9-0, there would still only be 29,000 at Heinz for UNC!….But, my wife and I will still be 2 of them!



  10. Good post Dan 72.

    Reed, with all due respect I get the gist of your good article. I just don’t agree with it completely. Two years of Narduzzi and I can see a rather nice improvement with the football program. You say I don’t put enough stock into losing a bowl game and I say you put way too much into it. Difference of opinions I suppose.

    I really don’t mean to come off as combative and I don’t necessarily mean you Reed, (this time) but some of the negativity is starting to sound like the “boy who cried wolf” I’m just not buying it anymore.

    Good Gosh, minimizing the great accomplishments by PITT football last year is unreasonable in every way to me…

    Please find it your hearts to forgive Georgie Aston for falling down while scoring an assured TD, please forgive Nate for throwing a pick inside the 10 yard line on second down, please forgive Canada for calling for a tackle eligible reverse pass on first down inside the 5 yard line.

    and if you can find it your hearts. Please forgive James Conner, DJ Johnson, Nate Peterman, Darrin Hall, Chawntez Moss, Qadree Ollison for being and getting hurt the NW game. and lastly, Orndoff for dropping the winning TD pass. << None of which is made up revision-al history.


  11. #WinningFormula:

    Recruit Athletic, Smart, Football-Loving Players (No-Star, 2 Star, 3 Star, whatever) — But recruit DEPTH — players for each position across the-board each and every season so even if guys aren’t the most uber-talented, you have RS Juniors, Seniors, and RS Seniors who have been in the program to step in every position.

    Then, The single most important aspect to keep being successful in Power-5 Football: Keep recruiting talented Quarterbacks who can truly lead a team.

    Aside from the machine Nick Saban has created at Alabama, every single elite team, every single truly exciting Power 5 team has great Quarterback play, and a guy starting who is gonna make the NFL.

    People are exctied about Narduzzi’s recruiting the last 3 years because he’s recruiting depth at every single position on both sides of the ball, and if watch highlights he’s recruitiing players who are taller and much, much faster to Pitt than any previous Coach in the last 3 decades.

    Narduzzi isn’t recruiting slow-footed players, period. This is a huge change from even the Wanny-era, where there were definite bona-fide stars surrounded by terribly untalented, slow players all-over.


  12. Ike – NC State misses a 20 yard fg or they beat Clemson. FSU and Troy same thing. So why did this amazing team lose to UNC and VT and the Northwestern Powerhouse? Bc we have 3 star talent.


  13. there is a science to recruiting 3-stars who will be with the program 4 or 5 years,and progressing as they go along. Jamie Dixon did quite well with this philosophy, thank you.

    Clint Session, HB Blades, Greg Lee, John Malecki, Jabaal Sheard, Scott McKillop, Henry Hynoski, Joe Thomas, Mick Williams, Aaron Donald, Devin Street, Dom DeCicco and Matt Rotheram all come to mind … there are more. Mix them in with hopefully a handful of 4-stars and you have a pretty solid team.

    Will it win a NC …. likely not, but it can win a Coastal and be competitive in ACC Title game


  14. What we need are respective players who were rated three stars to make plays when they are on the field. When the defensive back is right on the receiver, knock the ball away. When that ball is in the air that three star he was given means nothing. Kids have to start making plays and excuses need to not be found as to why he couldn’t make the play.

    Boise State showed us this plenty the last 15 or so years about recruiting and coaching kids up.


  15. The base of most successful college programs are 3 stars … but, trust me, there will be 4 stars in this class. Most likely, two or three of the 3 stars that are teetering on 4 stars will eventually flip over to 4 stars as seniors not to mention future commits.

    Narduzzi is recruiting much higher 3 stars than in the past. You can see it with the offers the kids are receiving. Because Pitt is, in general, recruiting better kids, the higher ranked kids in the class will choose schools later in the process. Pitt fans just have to be patient.

    Stars are more important on offense right now. Duzz runs a system defense where “fit” is paramount. They want kids sitting and learning and playing later in their careers. It’s why, despite all the injuries this year, Duzz made every attempt to not break red-shirts. It’s also why, despite the breakdowns in the secondary, Pitt held the course and kept the system in place vs. going overboard on adjustments.

    This is a breakdown of this year’s draft class. It’s essentially 1/3 5-stars, 1/3 4-stars and 1/3 3 or less starred.

    5 stars: 10
    4 stars: 12
    3 stars: 6
    2 stars: 2
    NR: 1

    This is how you build a successful program. It takes time … and success. The better Pitt does, the better recruits Duzz and staff will get. Think Garry Patterson at TCU.


  16. Upitt, I don’t mean to go round and round with you, you seem like a really great guy.

    …but I didn’t call PITT a really amazing team. Just pointing out that maybe PITT could be turning the corner and teams can win with 3 star talent. This isn’t groundbreaking news here. It happens all the time.

    Here’s a reminder or two. Reed proved to us all that UNC was in an illegal formation their last play for the winning TD. That penalty is called and PITT wins.

    VT wins when Chester the molester Hodges at all 6’7″ gets away with pushing off all day… Yes that is an excuse.

    Lastly and oddly enough. A kicker named Blewitt kicked a much longer field goal than 20 yards to defeat the soon to be National Champions. See how all this works? Please, don’t deny PITT it’s fair dues.

    NCS has the proverbial 3 star players much like PITT, if they are lucky…

    …and NO disrespect intended Upitt, just pointing out. When everything you post on this blog is negative, then I’m just reluctant to buy it all hook, line and sinker. Sorry.


  17. WE have more money for recruiting and asst coaches as well as more exposure playing in the ACC. It won’t be easy, and there is much new coaching blood in the league, especially in the Coastal … but I just don’t see a scenario where Pitt can make it in the Top 10 or 15 recruiting classes, thus it’s the only way


  18. But Boise played in a weak conference. You can only coach up 2 and 3 star talent so much.

    The elite schools reel in 4 and 5 stars. In college, coaching can trump talent though. Whereas in the pros it is typically talent over coaching. These kids in college are raw and still learning.

    But I’d rather invest my time in a 4 star than a 2 star.

    Pitt plays in the toughest football conference at this point. Yes – tougher than the SEC which is very top heavy.

    Pitt needs recruits with speed and coaches that can utilize their talents in specific situations. I like the regional and southern approach that Pitt is taking. I like that they are asking elites to come visit. I like that that may be able to find 3 star diamonds in the rough.

    But for Pitt to make a run a winning the ACC, it must recruit well, hold onto those players that are being invested, and have coaching that can allow them to reach their potential.

    To me at this point its both coaching and talent. Pitt sent a bunch to the pros but nobody before round 4. And if Pitt had so many get drafted and invites to camps, why only 8 wins?


    1. Boise would have won the Big East plenty last decade if it was in the conference. I don’t buy weak conference as I just look at the bottom line: Ws.


  19. It’s the “Quarterback Effect” — what makes Football so incredibly unique.

    A Cam Newton comes into Auburn —- the go from Mediocre, to National Championship with him one year, to losing season the next.

    Tim Tebow at Florida — 3 years as a starter Florida is the epicenter of all of college Football — one year after he leaves Urban Meyer basically quits Florida lol.

    Alex Smith destroying Pitt 35-7 with Meyer at Utah.

    Oregon Football: Their recruiting based on “Stars” and “Offers” has been pretty elite— what happened after Marcus Mariota left?

    If PItt Football in the Wannstedt years just had a Nathan Peterman level Quarterback (Not Elite, but actually capable talent who is talented enough to contribute in the NFL) then Pitt would have been a top 20, 10 win team each year in the pitiful Big Least.


    1. I agree, DK, but the difference is Wanny never emphasized the QB position or wasn’t able to attract better QB talent.


    2. Great Post!

      Yes. Yes. Yes. Having a very talented QB who is driven because he knows he has NFL potential is key.

      To that point. Pitt has done much better recently on the field than it would have because of the two talented 4 star QB transfers they landed -both knew how much was at stake: A career in the NFL.

      Pitt once again has landed a very talented QB transfer who has one shot to prove he is as good as everyone once believed and that he deserves to go to the NFL. NO question, landing this kid from USC was crucial… and always having a top tier QB will be equally as crucial for Pitt teams to win more,


  20. To be very clear…. My greatest wish about PITT football is for Narduzzi to bring in 10, 5 star recruits here on out. Then take our chances…


  21. I come down on the side of Ike, DK, web, and Tossing on this one. I think the recruiting is trending upwards, and I think Narduzzi has a done a great job in bringing in quality transfer QB talent when identifying that the position was lacking in depth. Keep making steady progress, retain the HC, and Pitt’s recruiting will continue to slowly improve.


  22. No way this class is top 15. That’s not a death sentence though. Keep going after bigger fish every year while improving on the field and the stars will start to follow. Duzz is building a program not a team. It’s a process.


  23. Boise took sketchy kids from California that had issues at previous schools but could ball. Coupled with diamon in the rough kids.


  24. Narduzzi’s actual coaching has yet to be shown to be successful. Canada could coach but since he started he is on his 3rd OC and his Defense has been atrocious. Recruiting is on par with Chryst. He is more exciting than Chryst recruits a little less to me and uses Twitter. What is missing that makes everyone think we are on th cusp of a ACC Title? No real QB’s will enroll with a transfer comes in every year. I will admit the transfer (Peterman) was awesome. Browne TBD and this TE has had more schools than Todd Graham. Win 7 lose bowlgame is my predicition.


  25. When Boise went D1 my nephew was a grad asst there – orders go to California and find speed. I am no recruiting guru like you guys but winning begets interest in the program to kids. Agree with Dk on value of a very good QB, a point lost on DW. It is time for HCPN to begin playing his players, go with inexperienced talent over experienced walk-ons. Bite the bullet


  26. If Troy kicked a field goal, they still would have lost by three instead of actually losing by 6. If FSU had kicked a field goal, it would only have tied the game. Actually, if I remember correctly, FSU on 2’nd down got as far as the Clemson 30 yard line with under a minute less. Clemson ended the threat with two consecutive sacks.

    As Ike said above, Blewitt kicked a 43 yarder. The NC State kicker missed his 19 yarder.

    No one else beat Clemson last year but PITT & I am proud of it. Still love watching the PITT-Clemson high lights..


  27. Dan 72 as a non guru I have always taken your approach, who are we competing with and beating for a recruit. Under Walt and DW it was often the MAC, Temple and lesser P5 programs.


  28. We did beat them but loss to lesser opponents in UM, UNC, Northwestern and VT. That is okay but to turn a corner you will the ones you should, win a few of the either way games and surprise someone. We got the last part down but not the first two.


  29. I think the one thing we CAN hang our hat on is that MSU broke the mold a bit in that they had similar recruiting if not inferior to Pitt and were able to produce at an elite level on the field. I think there is a bit of an X factor out there than needs to be considered. That X factor is coaching.


  30. Saban doesnt need 5 stars to win
    Coaching is everything in college along with stability
    Pitt has really never had that…ever
    Majors…gone after 4 years
    Sherrill…gone after 5 years


  31. As Pitt ascended the academic rankings, athletics have descended.
    A coincidence?
    That said, I don’t go to Heinz to watch anyone study Descartes or Chaucer.


  32. I agree and I personally would prefer great athletics over some standing in th academic world. Balance is nice but make athletics a priority. Louisville might win NCAA in Baseball. They are solid.


  33. You guys are still missing the boat and Reed didn’t complete the circle. When you have mostly 3 star recruits and a couple 4 stars, you need to schedule a 3 star out of conference schedule. You need to go 3-1 at worst and 4-0 at best in ooc games. This creates a culture of winning.

    Second, anyone that thinks we should win 10 games a year with the recruits we have is just silly. Schedule to your talent level and you have a good chance for 9 and in a great year,10. You can’t expect those types of seasons with our types of recruits and you have finally proved my point.

    Now, dig deeper on your research. Check out the blue bloods. My sense is that OSU probably gets 3-5 five stars every year as does Alabama, Farmers High, USC and others. What remains are the leftovers and if Pitt can keep getting 4 four stars per year, that is good. Pitt will make hay when they get a bunch of high 3’s which is currently happening.

    2014 24 five stars (48%) and 126 four stars 51%
    2015 29 five stars (58% of the 50 total) and 123 four stars (49% of the 250) in the Top 10 ranked classes
    2016 21 five stars (42%) and 127 four stars 51%

    Expand 2016 to the top 15 recruiting classes and you have 26 five stars and a whopping 182 of the 250 four stars. That don’t leave much for the rest.

    I highly recommend all those who think Narduzzi should have these great recruiting classes and 10 win seasons under his belt by now, reconsider the expectations. There just aren’t that many 4 and 5 stars available. Remember we are coming off of a poor 30 year stretch, not one or two. This is why I think 8-4 years are solid, given Pedersons BS scheduling and recruiting and coach pay budget.

    I think we all want a championship, but the athletic department and the pitt administration has put us in a bad place and we are methodically getting out of it. Be thankful for 4-5 four stars each year and another 3-4 high 3 stars.


  34. Wwb, all those players you mentioned above played on non-championship teams. They’re all great Pitt players; they’re all fun to watch they’re all fun to pay attention to but the pure fact is that they played on teams that did not win championships. ?

    And if we expect Narduzzi to do that then we need four and five star players to come in here and lead the way combined with good coaching. (By the way Aaron D. was a 4-star recruit). I don’t get the insistence on people assuming that 4 and 5-star kids are not what you need to play ball.

    It seems as I said in the article that we settle for second best and even though Pitt football may be more fun to watch now, and I have never taken anything away from the PSU and the Clemson wins, they were fantastic, the goal of the conference is to win it. Pop

    It’s to win the conference and then to try to get into the playoffs. We haven’t done that; we haven’t had a BCS game where we clearly won a championship to get into it it’s been years and years of the same thing where we go up and down by two games and we think and a eight win season is that much greater than a six win season and wow it looks nicer on paper it still leaves us the exactly the same position of the outside looking in on championships.


  35. BTW, look at the title photo when thinking about what offers a kid has. A true offer is a formal one not the letter a kid received in his JR year of HS saying “We’d like you to play your ball at Big Dog University”

    That means nothing but is when the player or his dad calls up recruiting websites and says “I have an offer from Big Dog University” when that really doesn’t happen until he gets the formal letter saying Big Dog is offerring a scholarship; so two totally different things.

    Half the “offers” you see listed on websites are not real offers.

    Remember that a university cannot publicly say anything about a recruit they’re looking at or have offered as the NCAA forbids that.


  36. Reed @ 6:27, they were all great players …. and they were 3-stars. And, with the exception of Donald, all took a while to develop into great players. This is how Pitt has to do it. And by the way Reed. you’re the one that listed Donald as a 3-star … look at your 2010 commitment list above!

    I don’t understand the tone of this entire blog. The only 4-star players this program gets are those at the end of the signing period because the big boys have already used up their quota.

    Any delusion of grandeur that Pitt can recruit 4 and 5 stars with the likes of the big programs should have have long been dismissed a long time ago.


  37. Nick Saban can win without 4-stars .. but not championships. He did well at Michigan State in late 90s but never won the B10 title. He won the NC in his 4th year at LSU … by assembling top talent, then after a so-so less than 2 year stint at the Dolphins, .he has been assembllng nothing but Top 10 recruiting classes at Bama


  38. There are so variables when it comes to projecting a high school player. The recruit ranking services do their ranking with grade C evaluators. Coaches can have a real knack at out-skilling those evaluators or even out-skilling other coaches. This may be seen with the way Chryst recruits OLmen. Does Narduzzi and staff have superior skill at evaluating recruits? We will find out awfully soon.


  39. My bad fellas, the first recruiting numbers I gave above for recruiting years 2014 thru 2016 were for the top 10 ranked classes. I then expanded it to the top 15 classes for 2016 just to show that the remaining 4 and 5 star kids after the top 15 are in the minority.

    So using 2016 as an example, from team ranking 16 through 128 in D1, there are 24 five stars and 68 four stars available between 112 D1 schools. Subtract the 4 and 5 stars that go the Community College route and the actual 4 and 5 star numbers shrink even more.

    Pitt getting 4 four stars every year is a great number. Repeat, there are only 68 4 stars left after the top 15 teams get theirs.


  40. Might as well just go D2 and play in CMU’s on campus stadium
    Pitt doesnt care about sports
    Pitt plays in an off campus rental stadium
    Pitt has been at the bottom of the Directors Cup for decades
    Pitt hires on the cheap
    Pitt doesnt spend enough on facilities, recruiting and assistants
    Pitt doesnt raise the funds
    Pitt doesnt engage boosters and fans
    Pitt has a poisonous culture with incompetent administrators
    Pitt is fine with mediocrity
    Pitt is all hot air


  41. I agree with 6&34 (40?), on variables, but addressed the numbers only as that was the topic.

    Does anyone feel we should still schedule a top 10 out of conference schedule every year with top 40 recruiting classes? Still can’t believe WE let steve pederson do that to our program. He scammed everyone for years by setting the expectation of “winning championships” with a last place budget and support staff. The equivalent of taking a bbgun to a hand grenade battle.

    Last point, our new AD tweeted out “sending great wishes your way” to our first Track and Field Hammer Toss athlete, Andin Fosam, as she participates in the championship. We haven’t had a female athlete compete for a championship since 2005? That’s a lot of scholarships with little return on investment. Andin should be plastered all over Pitt! It was a politically correct, weak statement from the AD. Shows me that she is not connected to our athletes. What she sent was equivalent to a grandma message. She is disinterested! WORK at your job Heather. Show us you are really in the bunker with the kids and not a grandma!Great wishes, sheeeeesh!


  42. When those yearly school rankings come out (U.S. News and World Report?) I never see Pitt in the top 60. I also see Pitt behind Ohio State, which seems to have no problem being both a football factory and excelling in academics as it is no longer a paper mill like it was 20 years ago.

    Now there are other football factories that Pitt always seems to be behind, such as Michigan and USC, so those excuses about Pitt administrators wanting to be known as a university of higher learning first and foremost is garbage.

    Pitt is a Mickey Mouse operation in athletics and shouldn’t be cashing ACC checks.


  43. The spread offense in college football is an attempt to equalize a less talented team to a top 10 talented team . As more teams utilize the spread, more defenses are designed to stop it. Hopefully pitt’s pro style offense can capitalize on opposing defenses that are set up to defeat the spread.


  44. It always comes down to the trenches, speed and good QB. Coaching is key. Schemes can overcome lack of talent. Experienced talent (think pros) dont need schemes or coaching. Thats why college is so different. These kids are still growing, they are raw, they need good coaching to realize their potential. They need schemes to take advantage of their non-pro talent (thats 95% of players).

    Pitt needs stability in coaching
    Pitt needs assistants that can recruit and coach
    Pitt needs to invest in sports

    That will get you 8-9 win seasons
    You want 10-11 wins?
    You need great coaching, facilities, elite talent
    To get those three things you need boosters and big time donations to your program

    Pitt hasnt had a great coach since Sherrill. Pitt did some ‘cheating’ back then. Sports was important though (maybe for about 15 years). Boosters were influential. Pitt had an on campus stadium (which they chose to make limited investment…the beginning of the downfall); Pitt hired some great assistants. Pitt had a recruiting budget. Pitt hauled in elite talent. Pitt was It.

    How the mighty have fallen once Pitt de-emphasized sports. Brand suffered. Culture changed. Acceptance of mediocrity and incompetence became the norm.

    All I’m hoping to catch is lightening in a bottle one year. Pitt doesnt have the leadership for a commitment to excellence (consistent top 15 seasons) with a sprinkle of ACC championship…New Years Bowls and maybe BCS playoff (expanded 8 team) every 4-5 years.


  45. To me, more important in Pitt’s current level in the college football pecking order, than the # of stars is finding those recruits that fit your system. As others have mentioned that is how MSU has been successful, and I would include Wisconsin in that group as well. Then with greater onfield success, better recruiting will follow.


  46. Never say never but recruiting the 4 and 5 stars into programs with half empty stadiums is a very hard sell. And with few exceptions Pitt will be playing most of their home games in front of half empty stadiums.


  47. Pitt is adding speed and athleticism (and height in the secondary) to the roster as well as balance. Gone are the days of the roster being lopsided with certain position groups having more talent than others. It’s a team approach to recruiting. The longer Duzz is at Pitt, the better it will get … and the more successful football will be.

    Give Duzz a full 5 years and then lets take a look at the roster. The plan was never to become an overnight success. Duzz is building a program not a team. He want’s sustainable success, not a flash in the pan. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t expect to win now. It just means he’s building towards something more.

    I know Pitt fans have been waiting forever, so patience is hard to come by. Some would call it a virtue (right, Dr. Tom?) … but that’s just the reality you’ll have to accept.

    Pitt athletics as a whole are bound to Pitt football becoming successful. Successful football leads to more money, donations etc. and will allow Pitt to spend the money that some of you wish they’d spend … even though they don’t have it. Not to mention, they are run by a BoT (not the Chancellor) and academics will always be the priority. In order for Pitt to be successful in athletics, it has to be self-contained and funded. That’s the reality of being a Pitt fan.

    And please stop bringing up Northwestern and Navy. No one cares about bowl games anymore. Players don’t. Coaches don’t. It just gives the team more practice time. Unless it’s a playoff game, it’s an exhibition. It’s played weeks after a season when momentum has died. Players are opting to skip them. Coaches are quick to pull players out. They’ve been relegated to nothing more than essentially a glorified spring game. Staying healthy is more important than winning the game. The kids get a vacation. The coaches get to peak into the future to see what the team will look like next year. The networks get advertising dollars. And the fans get to see their team one more time. That’s it. They don’t create momentum going into the next year. They don’t help recruiting. They don’t springboard programs … Unless you’re playing in the playoff the rest is just for show. Nothing more. Nothing less.


  48. I agree with your point on meaningless bowl games. Unless New Years or BCS, they dont matter…sorry Reed. What matters is beating Pedo State and Clemscum on national TV during the regular season. Beating rivals matters on those elite programs. Not the NW’s and Navy’s.

    I agree with giving the Dog time, but without a supportive BoT, Pitt will forever have instability and mediocrity. If we chose the path of excellence, we must invest now and not wait for the wins. Even if the wins materialize, we need Heather out their getting donations.

    Frankly, its more about the experience. Sure winning is fun but what about the entertainment? The connection? Need to give fans a reason to come to games. You can still enjoy yourself without wins. Thats where Pitt fails with an off campus stadium. At many schools the real good times are had before and after games. The game itself is the cherry on top.

    Pitt is really missing out on that front porch that Gallagher talks about but does little to improve. How are we to improve that porch without money?

    Heather needs to partner with the community, business leaders, alumni, boosters and politicians to build something for Pitt that benefits greater Pittsburgh and not just the university. Pitt just doesnt have enough boosters alone to support a sports program. Too many years of neglect and bone headed decisions made by the university. The culture is toxic. There are no memories or connections to the school. There is no spirit.

    A rally could be made around a program that supports not only alma mater but the community and where many stakeholders stand to benefit. Its out of the box thinking. Heather – are your listening to my free advice???


  49. I’m assuming Narduzzi is here for the long haul. Historically, it probably won’t be the case but Narduzzi has also shown his loyalty historically and it’s a common theme in his messaging. If not, Pitt resets again.


  50. The reset button should be destroyed at Pitt HQ. Reset causes instability and sets the program back. Pitt must look towards the future. That means paying market value, grooming future coaches and presenting the Populous feasibility study on an OCS…which I’m confident will conclude its feasible. The admin has it in their hands right now.


  51. I’m hoping Heather at least reads it. And the BoT at least makes a public comment by their honcho in chief Gallagher.


  52. The negativity on this site is breathtaking. As I don’t live in Pittsburgh area but still feel an allegiance to my old school, I seek info from blogs or twitter to see where the program is. But reading this site (and I’m looking at you UPitt), I think I should simply start rooting for Alabama (or whoever happens to be the best recruiting school this year).

    But as an proud Pitt engineer, let me provide a simple proof on how silly this argument is. First, let me stipulate that since I don’t really believe any low paid flunky at any one recruiting site, I will simply cherry pick. Here is my starting Pitt lineup:

    QB – Browne – 5 star
    RB – Pick Sibley or Hall – 4 star
    Slot Receiver – Henderson – ALL AMERICAN
    Tight End – Clark – 5 star
    Wideout 1- Flowers – 4 star
    Wideout 2 – Smith – Should be 4 star but bloomed too late in FL but made all state team
    OT – Drake – 4 star
    OG – Bookster – 4 star
    C – Officer – Solid 3 star
    OG – Warren – 4 star
    OT – Oneill – ALL AMERICAN Candidate


    DE – Hendrix – 4 star plus
    DT – Watt – 4 star
    DT – Camp – 4 star
    DE – Pugh – 4star
    LB – Pine – 4star
    LB – Wirginis – 3 star
    LB – McKee – 4 star
    CB – Hamlin – 4 star plus
    S – Whitehead – 4 star plus, plus
    S – Ford – Should be a 5 star stud
    CB – Coleman – 3 star plus

    And this doesn’t even include MacVittie who was rated 95 by 24/7 and the 8th best QB or Pickett who was rated 88 by 24/7 and the the 10th best QB.

    The point is that anyone can twist statistics/data to tell almost any story they want. The team above will obviously not start in September but it satisfies everything that some posters seem to want to see.

    Let’s count on Narduzzi and Partridge to judge the right talent for this team at this point in its climb back into some prominence. And lighten up on the criticism……


  53. I know you from message boards and I say hooray to you

    From your mouth to the big guy in the skies ear’s.

    SOP fan’s cries, but these guys are unproven. Of course they are. Isn’t that how it works?


  54. Navy and Northwestern Cared and it showed on the field in those meangingless bowl games.


  55. I’m of the opinion that pitt is getting commits with narduzzi that are generally a step above what pitt was getting with chryst.

    This year and particularly next year we will see if that opinion has any validity or not.

    I understand people want pitt to get recruits that are generally at least two steps above what pitt was getting with chryst. but that not being the case yet doesn’t mean the program hasnt improved its recruiting in the last two years.


  56. Pitt Engineer – nice list – thanks for the positive reminders. This coaching staff is not too far away from ten wins.



  57. Narduzzi is no where near Potato Paul recruiting Lineman. Chryst was awesome in that aspect.


  58. “Narduzzi is no where near Potato Paul recruiting Lineman. Chryst was awesome in that aspect.”

    Narduzzi is just better at recruiting literally every position than Chryst was – except OL. And his OL recruits aren’t a bunch of marginal P5 players either.

    But thanks for the hot take upitt it is literally the only hot take you could make when comparing Chryst’s recruiting to Narduzzi’s and bah gawd you made it. Steaming hot.


  59. Seriously I can’t think of many Paul recruited at the moment. DJ Johnson, Biz, Officer, I’m forgetting..


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