POV: Recruiting vs Transfer Signing

Right now there is a good discussion here on the POV regarding what is going on with  Pitt’s recruiting.  I’ll add to that today in looking at what it took, in modern Pitt football history, to get to double-digit wins and how recruiting was a huge part of that.

We all know that the primary task of a college head coach is to win football games, preferably more than he loses and most desired enough to win championships.  So far Pat Narduzzi has fulfilled the first part of that with consecutive eight win seasons and a two-year record of 16-10.  Not an easy thing to do at Pitt for sure, especially for a rookie HC.

Next on his agenda is the 2nd part of the equation; championship football, and to do that a lot of things have to fall in line, most importantly in my opinion high quality players to put out onto the field.  The head coach does that in three basic ways.

First and foremost he recruits the best he can get high school football players to fit his needs.  Secondly he attracts transfer students who can fill in immediate holes in the lineup, as we have seen Narduzzi do with great success so far.

Third he needs to look at Junior (or Community) College players with an eye toward the same as above – fill gaps left by recruiting failures by either himself or his predecessor.

I suppose you can throw walk-ons in there somewhere but those are usually individually driven by a kid wanting to play college ball at all cost – most notably tuition, room and board – which the scholarship players have awarded to them.

Those transfers, walk-ons and hell, add greyshirt players to that as rare as they are, would be considered ‘others‘ when discussing recruiting and recruiting classes who have signed Letters of Intent to play football at Pitt.

There was a comment on the POV the other day stating that I “totally discount” those ‘other’ players , meaning transfers and walk-ons, when discussing Pat Narduzzi’s recruiting. That isn’t true at all – I certainly give Narduzzi credit for bringing in those guys and I have written that many times.

However to attract incoming transfers is a whole different, and much, much easier, task  then it is to get highly ranked HS recruits to sign a LOI for four years of play at your school.

Believe me the different in competition for the HS SRs who are highly ranked and have numerous offers is like night and day from convincing a QB or other position who has perhaps two or three schools asking him to transfer in after he didn’t do well at his original college.

In essence there was a reason why guys like Peterman, Browne, Hendrix and Chris Clark chose other colleges out of high school rather than sign with Pitt back then. They chose to play at schools who might have had better football programs than Pitt had at the time. Or maybe not, as we see below:

1st ranked 5* Max Browne went into a 10-4 USC program in the Pac-10.  His best offers included; USC, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Wisconsin…etc.  He was ranked #7 nationally.

1st ranked 5*TE Chris Clark was a bit of a different story going to 4-8 hometown UCLA after getting offers from;   Alabama, OSU, LSU, PSU, Nebraska, Florida… etc.  He was ranked #79 nationally.

4th ranked 4* Dewayne Hendrix chose to play in a program who just went 7-5 in the SEC and, again, had Butch Jones and a HC.  His best offers; UT, OSU, Florida, Wisconsin, PSU, Nebraska, MSU…etc.  He was ranked #78 nationally.

8th ranked 4* Peterman went into a 2013 5-7 win Tennessee program but one who had a new coach in Butch Jones.  He committed over 14 months early and had limited offers after that.  Had he stayed on the market he’d have had more probably. Obviously he signed with the hometown team.

Do you honestly feel or believe that Pitt would have gotten a sniff of those Top 100 recruits back when they were JRs and SRs in HS?  Of course not.  We are getting decent three star kids now but no one with the position and/or national rankings those first three transfers above had coming out of HS.

In discussing this issue I will use a comparison between the two latest winning Pitt HCs, Dave Wannstedt and Pat Narduzzi, and how they accomplished that feat. I am leaving out both Todd Graham (6-7) and Paul Chryst (19-20) because obviously their records at Pitt were not on the winning side. 

I also recognize the Chryst recruited some excellent ball players, mostly on offense, way less so on defense but this discussion is about the winning HCs.

I’m also not adding Paris Ford on the recruits list below because it is apparent he did not enrolling at Pitt for 2017 on Monday past thus he almost surely isn’t going to sign a Pitt LOI this season which is what a “recruited” player is based on. 

He’ll be a free agent recruit for 2018 after apparently going to prep school for the year, and let’s hope we get him then, but one never knows.  Actually let’s hope he qualifies for this year and that still could happen but a prep year looks more likely.

The goal of a college football program is to have as many as the nation’s Top 300 players as they can get given their needs.  But the nature of college football is also one of switching players from one position to another (and to another in Dickerson’s case). So coaching staffs will very often take the best athletes on the board knowing they can move the player around to fill needs in a year or two.

We have seen that happen a lot at Pitt; Malecki from DL to OL, Clemmings from DE to OL, Ziese from WR to LB last year and Pugh from LB to DE this year, etc… so rarely will a staff pass up a sure 4* who would sign with Pitt due to his position already being filled on the roster unless the player is a QB or some such.

Therefore the listings below are more reality based and are only the 4* or 5* kids who actually suited up and played for us.

The blue chip recruits currently on roster who Narduzzi himself convinced to come to Pitt were ranked like this (and I do recognize that DW had a year under his belt before his 2006 class):

2015 (65th ranked class; 13% were 4* or 5* recruits) Seven of 15 recruits were Narduzzi’s.

No 4* or 5* recruited by Narduzzi

2016 -(29th; 21%)

LB Kazeon Pugh; 22nd position – N/R nationally

DT Amir Watts; 25th position – N/R nationally

WR Ruben Flowers; 50th position – N/R nationally

2017(38th; 13%)

RB Anthony Davis; 13th position – 247 nationally

TE Charles Reeves; 13th position – N/R nationally

Those are some very nice recruits there and very good for Narduzzi on those recruits. Let’s compare that list to the recruiting classes before Dave Wannstedt’s nine and 10 win seasons – which we are hoping Narduzzi gets to this year and beyond:

2006 – (21st ranked class; 26% were 4* or 5* recruits))

TE Dorian Dickerson; 8th position -85th nationally

RB Kevin Collier; 15th position – 125th nationally

TE Nate Byham; 7th position -132rd nationally

Jon Malecki;  18th position – 174th nationally

DB Aaron Smith; 22nd position – 246th nationally

DB Aaron Berry; 22nd position – N/R nationally

2007 (26th; 25%)

OL Chris Jacobson; 9th position – 205  nationally

QB Pat Bostick; 6th position – 111 nationally

WR Aundre Wright; 20th nationally (JUCO)

RB LeSean McCoy; 7th position – 43rd nationally

DL Tony Tucker; 10th position – 227th nationally

DL Tommie Duhart; 27th nationally (JUCO)

2008 – (28th; 32%)

WR Jon Baldwin; 5th position -26th nationally

OL Lucas Nix; 9th position -117th nationally

DB Jared Holley; 13th position – 226th nationally

KR Cameron Saddler; 8th position – 247th nationally

DE Shane Hale; 11th position – 247th nationally

Another way of looking at each HC’s three-year period is this chart.  2018 obviously isn’t finished yet so they have asterisks…:


Year Coach Total Recruits 4* / 5* % of 4*/5*s Class Rank
2006 DW 27 7 27% 21st
2007 DW 24 6 25% 26th
2008 DW 19 6 32% 28th
2015 PN 15 2 13% 65th
2016 PN 24 5 21% 29th
2017 PN 24 3 13% 38th
2018* PN 11* 0* 0* 38th*


(For honesty sake lets also realize that Narduzzi will probably pull in a 4* or two before the 2018 class is complete.)

Folks – there are some marked differences there and there are also some unique factors.  As stated above Wannstedt had been in the job for a year before that 2016 recruiting class so that helped him a bit.  Even though 2005 was a losing season at 5-6 he bounced back with a very good recruiting class in 2006.

Pat Narduzzi was responsible for only seven of 15 recruits in 2015 so that skews things a bit also.  I listed 2018’s class just for info purposes but to me it look like another average class – with the caveat above.  I’d have thought in his third year of recruiting and coming off two eight win seasons he’d be getting more blue chip players, but that isn’t the case so far with only three out of 24 recruits in this 2017 season’s class.

Now one may look at those class national ranking and say why is Reed saying these are ‘average‘ classes when we are in the Top Third of the 128 schools?

Well, here’s the thing about national recruiting class ranking; they are misleading. There are 65 Power Five schools out of 128 D1 schools… so we sure as hell should be recruiting better than those lower ranked, non-P5 conference, schools do. 

In essence we need to look at where we stand in that group of our peer 65 P5 schools who we are truly recruiting against, or should be at any rate.  The fact that we are currently (and was also last year) 38th out of 128 schools doesn’t float my boat at all.  Drop 63 of those non-P5 programs and we actually are 38th out of 65 schools… or sitting in the bottom half of the Power Five.

For example at the end of 2017’s recruiting cycle every spot from 1 to 37 in front of our 38th place was populated by Power Five schools.  That left only 25 Power Five schools below us in recruiting… in other words we were in the lower 41% with 59 % recruiting better us.

Do you think that is great recruiting for a guy who came to Pitt with a powerful defensive rep and high energy, to say nothing of an eight win season, in his first year? 

Looking at some individual players aside, and there are some good ones and some of those with 3*s, I really don’t think so.  I think it is mediocre when stacked up against our peer group.

I have said time and again that a program needs more 4* and 5* players to populate at least 25% or so of the starting lineups to be successful in the long run.

You can see by the two HCs’ comparison that Dave Wannstedt did just that and it paid off for him with the first 10 win season in 38 years since 1981.  He preceded that with a nine win season – one of only three since that same 1981 year.

There is no better case in point then Dave Wannstedt’s great recruiting leading to 2008 and 2009’s 19 wins. 

So, when Pat Narduzzi starts pulling in players with the equivalent 4* and 5* HS recruit rankings of these recent transfers on a regular basis then I’ll have a different take on his HS recruiting – but he hasn’t done so much yet and this year it looks like he’s not doing it either.


Again, I’m not saying these classes aren’t decent and have some kids who will play very well for us… just that his are not championship recruiting classes so far.

I’m happy as hell we have those three transfers on the roster and I absolutely give our HC credit for getting them here – but they weren’t recruited by Narduzzi having to go up against tons of other Power Five programs when they chose to come here.

Bottom Line: There is no comparison between getting players who have faltered as non-career starters at their previous school looking for a second chance (Savage, Peterman and Brown, not so much Hendrix and Clark) than getting nationally rated highly ranked recruits directly out of HS with lots of bigger and better Power Five schools after them.

Recruiting those HS kids is 100% harder with 100% stronger competition. End of story.

I’ve had this conversation for years with recruits, transfers and staff – as I said, night and day.  If you think that is all just semantics then you are not looking past the first layer if this issue.

One last thing – lets give credit where it is due in the DW v PN discussion.  I honestly don’t believe Wannstedt every had a season like Narduzzi did in 2016 regardless of how many wins he had.  To beat PSU at home after that long haitus and then Clemson in Death Valley – two programs in the final Top 5 is no small feat and I applaude loudly Narduzzi’s doing that.

Note: It is funny what a year at a prep school can do for a recruit.  Pitt’s WR/DB Aundre Wright didn’t qualify to play at Pitt coming out of Perry Traditional Academy back in 2006 so he spent a year at the football factory Milford Academy in NY state.  He went in as an unranked 2* recruit and…

Presto Changeo! He comes out of there a 4* recruit.

Pitt has a new recruiting coordinator:

Pitt Linebackers Coach Rob Harley Adds Recruiting Coordinator Duties
Harley is in his third year on Pat Narduzzi’s Pitt coaching staff.

 PITTSBURGH—Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi announced today linebacker coach Rob Harley will add the responsibilities of recruiting coordinator for the 2017 season.

Harley, who enters his third year on Narduzzi’s Pitt staff, has been one of the Panthers’ most effective and energetic recruiters.

“I have known Rob for six years dating back to our time at Michigan State and from the very beginning I was always so impressed with his communication skills and relentless work ethic,” Narduzzi said. “Rob owns great vision and insight on today’s recruiting and has the ability to make us innovative in our efforts to attract the best student-athletes to Pitt. Rob has the DNA to lead others and with this coordinator title he has earned the right to lead our recruiting department.”

“I could not be more excited to help coordinate our recruiting department at Pitt,” Harley said. “We have an unbelievable staff made up of driven people and I believe that sets us apart from every other program in the nation. It will be my job to help organize, structure and guide our recruiting department to be as efficient and effective as possible. When our coaches have elite student-athletes to work with, the sky is the limit for Pitt football. This is a tremendous responsibility that I do not take lightly, and I’m looking forward to meeting Coach Narduzzi’s high expectations when it comes to recruiting the best student-athletes in the country.”  

121 thoughts on “POV: Recruiting vs Transfer Signing

  1. Guys – let’s mark our calendars for a POV’er Dinner on the evening of July 15th. That is a Saturday and I’ll be up for Boyd’s football camp in Clariton so I’ll be free that evening.

    I’ll talk about it in the Podcast Sunday and do an article on it for tomorrow morning – any suggestions where we can hold it? I’ll make early reservations depending on the response from you guys.

    As always I’ll buy the first round…

    Ike – this is a good chance for you to meet some of us.


  2. Nice article Reed. I enjoyed the comparison data but candidly, if you’ve been following Pitt recruiting and Pitt football for any period of time, you already knew what the data demonstrates. DW was a very effective recruiter, but not a very effective game day coach. Narduzzi is a pretty effective game day coach and an average recruiter (so far). If we continue to have classes ranked in the 30’s we’re going to continue to see 7,8, maybe the occasional 9 win season. We will never challenge the top dogs for conference titles. Yes, we will have enough talent to knock off Clemson or PSU, but that same talent will turn right around and lose to Northwestern. I think Narduzzi’s latest move to put Harley in charge of recruiting is a reflection that he realizes we have to improve our recruiting results if we are ever going to get over the hump and win a conference championship.



  3. Reed, I gave up telling people I’ll be somewhere and then never make a few years ago. I’m more realistic these days and I really can’t see myself making it to this POV dinner. Not because I don’t want to though. Again I did get my season tickets this coming year and you can absolutely mark me down as a definite POV tailgate participant. That’s if you guys don’t mind my wife tagging along with me.

    Man I had my note pad and pen in hand while reading this article waiting for Reed to slip up or forget something but he did a fantastic job with article imo. Covered all the bases.

    I’ll add that all this rating/recruiting is not an objective exercise so to put as much emphasis and how we “feel” about the recruiting class or whether it’s above average or below is controlled by experts that just may have an agenda or two. Or OK, to put it bluntly Scouting services have their flaws like everyone else.

    Two players off the top of my head who I really do not know much about, Cam Bright and Albert Tucker. How do we know that a team who maybe finished # 28 in recruiting have two better players than PITT’s two players just because some expert who didn’t see any of them play says so?

    If these scouting service are so deadly accurate than how in the heck did PITT beat Clemson? Mull that one over

    I don’t remember anyone referring to Narduzzi as an ace recruiter. I don’t, his reputation and it was grand was more of an expert D-Coordinator who recruited high end 3 and low end 4 stairs and made them into a cohesive unit that played well as a team….. and that’s exactly what I feel HCPN is doing as we speak.

    Again, red-shirt sophomores and an unknown commodity at QB are not exactly what National Champions are modeled after …ike …….. …but PITT will still win 8 games this year.


  4. Reed did you hear if anyone was trying to lure Harley away? I wouldn’t mind him taking over for Conklin as the LB play has seemed up to snuff with what he has been given.


  5. Aaron Donald getting Tons of Love in “All Or Nothing” from Amazon Streaming. — the LA Rams 2016 regular season documentary.

    He’s their absolute Star Player — and pretty soon young Mr. Donald will be the Highest Paid Defensive Player in NFL History — he and Tyler Boyd are the newest ‘Young-Gunzz’ tearing it up in the NFL and reppin’ Pitt!! 🙂 🙂


  6. Do you folks realize what Pitt is up against when trying to recruit the 4 and 5 stars? (1) We have been for the most part a very average football school for the past 35 years. (2) As I and others previously posted we are unable to sell out Heinz field outside of our games with PSU, WVU and ND. And thus the college game day atmosphere at Pitt with our off campus stadium leaves a lot to be desired. (3) Our best chance at the 4 and 5 stars come only if they happen to be local stars that want to play right away and not have their family and friends have to travel too far to see them. When was the last time Western Pa had a 5 star player in the rankings?—–Now Pitt has some good selling points. Its association with the Steelers and their practice facility is one. Another is a good chance that any 4 or 5 star can compete for a starting job right out of HS(i.e. Boyd and Whitehead). That said our best chance of landing those 4 stars outside of Western Pa will come if and when the “Big Names” fill their quota of recruits and some are left standing at the alter.—-Pitt Football Is what it is and there is little chance of us ever selling out Heinz on a consistent basis. So IMO every Pitt coach will have to deal with that fact now and in the future.


  7. Good article Reed!

    I work with a guy who’s a U of Georgia fan and alumni. His big complaint is that Georgia has had consistently good recruiting classes (top 20 over an extended period, according to him) and rarely competes for the conference title. This has something to do with being in the SEC, but top recruiting doesn’t always lead to titles. Still, I’ll take top recruiting…


  8. Very informative and comprehensive blog. The only caveat is that there is a slight chance that Paris Ford can pass the clearinghouse and be eligible for enrolling in the fall term, however it’s very likely he’s headed the prep school route as written above. I really thought that, just like Whitehead, he could have made an impact in his first year,

    As a long time Pitt fan, I know to temper my expectations, but I will be so disappointed if our defense doesn’t come together and show a lot of progress this year. (with or without Ford or Hamlin)

    I assume that Wannstedt had NFL cred, a big reason for his recruiting success. The one thing Narduzzi has over Wanny is that he is a college coach, and is more cognizant of what and what doesn’t click in the college game. I think he is also a better motivator …. but both seem to be players’ coaches (maybe to a fault when it came to Wanny.)


  9. There is an oddity in Wany’s recruiting classes listed above. In 2007, only one commit is local (WPIAL?Vity) and whereas in 2008, only one is not local. In 2006, it’s about an even split


    1. allow me to rewrite … in 07, only one recruit is local … but in 08, only one is not. Local is defined as WPIAL / City)


  10. Wanna also had his 9 and 10 win season in the BigEasy.”
    Reed, you also wrote an article in the past regarding the # of stars and how they contributed to our success. If I remember many of the blue chips were not big contributors and some never finished.
    If Duzz can hit the 9 win season and occasionally 10 wins then he taken care of his end of the equation. The other half of the equation lies with developing a fan base and filling the stadium 50-60k regularly. Atmosphere is where we fall short and lotsa people in seats getting rowdy make for that.(I would like to take a Vlemson game in every year – it was that much fun) Truthfully, we are an eastern school who love our football and behave differently than the Tiger faithful. If we could just get more folks into the games.These kids have a chance to visit the biggies and see their stadiums filled on gameday – that has to be a factor for a wide- eyed 17 year old who dreams of being in the big-time. Hopefully, increasing the fans base and game day experience is a top priority for Heather. It needs to be ours too.


  11. Recruiting is improving. High 3 stars are fine as long as the potential and coaching is there. Not worried about recruiting. Need to see the coaching come game day. No 3 star ever singularly lost a game for Pitt. But coaches have.


  12. Hold the front Door Dark knight!

    Boyd Tearing up the NFL is comical.

    Please look at this stats before saying stupid stuff.

    He only got yards per game once AJ was hurt and now with Ross drafted he will be out of Cincy in 2 years if


  13. I’ve read nothing anywhere about Paris Ford not being enrolled at Pitt come this fall. I realize that Ford did not move in with the other Freshmen recruits last week.

    Where are these “prep school” rumors coming from? Fake News?


  14. Doc, I understand that he wasn’t eligible to enroll just yet. I do believe it is a possibility he can bring up whatever he needs to bring up to be enroll in time for fall practice. Prep school is a last option as far as I understand. Keeping in mind I only pick up pieces here and there.. ike


  15. Great thread just posted on the payboard at Panther Lair comparing Narduzzi’s and Chryst’s recruiting… in Chryst’s two full classes (not counting his first class), Pitt’s commits had a total of 153 non-Pitt P5 offers. In Narduzzi’s two full classes (not counting his first class), Pitt’s commits had a total of 316 non-Pitt P5 offers. And it’s for a similar number of commits, not because Narduzzi has gotten a larger total number of commits in his first two full classes. A higher caliber of player is being recruited to Pitt and committing to Pitt than under the previous coach, at least when it comes to the opinion of those players among other P5 programs.


  16. I have asked this a few time previously and I apologize if I missed a reply. Is Jame Conner practicing with the Steelers or still waiting to recover from the hamstring injury?



  17. pmd, Not sure but I think the correct answer is the Steelers aren’t practicing right now. I think.


  18. PMD – Heard nothing about connor but heard the kid from Chiefs was exceeding all expectations and getting all the reps and impressing for backup spot. Connor needs to get healthy by camp or he will have a uphill battle.


    1. Thanks, Upitt. Best wishes for the wedding. We want to see pics, especially if you got one of us (was it Pittman?) to officiate.



  19. If I recollect correctly (always up for discussion) just a few weeks ago we were proudly discussing how many Pitt players have been asked to join the NFL over the years (especially last year’s 7). Seems to me Pitt coaches have done a helluva job coaching up playas over their 4-5 years at Pitt.

    Personally, I place a lot more value on our recruits after year 2 or 3 than I do while they are just finishing up high school. Stars don’t mean that much – especially from some these national ranking companies who don’t spend nearly the time investigating a player as a coaching staff does (except for possibly the top 30-40 players). I wonder how many 17 year old 3 stars become 21 year old 4-5 Stars. I’d venture to say, “quite a few!!” And isn’t that why coaches are paid millions???!!

    The coaches are looking for “Potential”, because they know that there are only a handful of schools that can end up with the “Top 100” players.

    I think we are seeing how good our staff is at selecting and developing those players who, at 17, are not yet close to acheiving their potential. Are they fast? Can they grow? Will they work? Do they have character? Can they play more than 1 position?

    For me, I’ll trust our coaches’ eye much more than some national rating service. But that’s just me.


  20. Nigel Davis is the kick off specialist/running back/special teams player for the Steelers while not expected to get many running back carries.


  21. I guess the follow up question has to be how many 3 stars turn into a 1 star and never see the field after entering Pitt? You know folks it can go both ways.


  22. Nice article Reed. Here are a few more

    MAC Schools Lost-to
    Wannstadt: 2
    Narduzzi: 0

    National Champions Beaten:
    Wannstadt: 0
    Narduzzi: 1

    4th Quarter Meltdowns that cost us a shot at a BCS Bowl:
    Wannstadt: 1
    Narduzzi: 0

    Four/Five Star Busts:
    Wannstadt: 9/17 (53%)
    Narduzzi: Too early to tell

    Recruiting Class Fill Rate (% of needs filled by each recruiting class. It’s a measure of how balanced the class is)
    – This would take some time to calcualte, and would actually be a really good article. If i have some time i’ll write it up and submit it to you. Feel free to choose whether or not to post it.

    Say what you want about recruiting. I’d bet my bottom dollar that Narduzzi is a better overall coach and recruits more balanced classed top-to-bottom than Wannstadt did. This is going to translate into overall better results.


  23. Good thoughts AP and remember, it was Wanny, who after figuring out this college head coaching thingie that had the best 3 season win totals since Jackie. and I believe you are right..


  24. Well Ike I can’t argue with facts. And I will say (with just a couple of exceptions) I did enjoy following the team during the DW years. Would be interesting to compare Schedule Strength as well from the DW days. The last two year’s schedules have not done Narduzzi any favors. Put this team back in the old Big East, with our standard cupcakes thrown in, and I bet we have a couple of 9 and 10 win seasons on our hands.


  25. I do not know if there have been any comprehensive studies about a very important factor concerning college football. The effect of a teams schedule on ranking, bowl selection, playoff potential, etc. I know some teams seem to have historically easy schedules and they benefit greatly concerning the above benefits.

    Pitt’s upcoming schedule is no cakewalk.


  26. When it comes to the recruiting, I’m not going to go back and analyze ten years worth of info from Scout or Rivals or whatever, but it is my general impression that while Pitt may not be getting all the star athletes we might covet, I think I would give Narduzzi credit in that at the very least, we seem to be reaching down less than in past years. Both under Wannstedt and Chryst, there were a few number of guys in each class with the ‘sleeper’ or ‘under the radar’ type label attached to them, which was a nice way of saying they weren’t very highly recruited. By contrast, a larger percentage of Narduzzi’s kids seem to be not necessarily national recruits, but definitely guys that other Power Five schools in our region were after. It seems like when we see the Pat signal these days, it’s not because some kid from southeastern Ohio finally made up his mind between Bowling Green and us.


  27. I think Narduzzi is on course to surpass Wanny as the better HC. One thing I would say is not to take the BE too lightly when DW coach. When Pat White was QB at WVU, (05-08) they finished ranked each year including two Top 5 finishes. Cincy under Dantonio and Kelly had 4 straight 10 wins plus seasons. Rutgers had 3 ranked teams, and Louisville under Petrino had 2 Top 10 finishes. In 06, the BE has 3 teams finish in the Top 12 … more than any other conference (including the SEC)


  28. I agree anony, The Big East gets a bad rap when someone want to prove their point or agenda. People want to forget that Miami and other high ranking teams played in that conference. The big difference was that a different team would emerge each season as a contender with PITT being the one constant.


    1. Agree. Cincinnati was a very good team the last 4 years of the DW administration. WVU had DickRod and then DickRod’s recruits under Bill Stewart. These were also Rutgers golden years under Schiano, UConn’s golden years under Edsel and South Florida’s golden years under Leavitt.


  29. Narduzzi will have a few 4 stars in this class when it’s all said and done. Recruiting is getting better, just gradually. Pitt has gone from a majority of the kids ranked 700-850 under Chryst to ranked 400-550 under Duzz (Both FWIW are in the 3 star classification). I understand Pitt’s history, so patience is a tough ask but that’s the reality. For a blog that tries to stay grounded, I don’t understand how this one subject gets lost. You don’t just turn on the lights and get instant success. More than half of the 3 stars are high 3 stars. Not all will turn into 4 stars but the odds favor a few of them doing it. Pitt had four 4 stars last year. Pitt will match or beat that with a smaller class this year. Expect a final ranking 20-25.


  30. TT, consider you and myself on the very same page. After all the disappointment PITT fans have had to endure the past how many years, what is the hurry with the expectations? < not that we haven’t witnessed a little greatness already!

    I look for signs not a smack upside my head to try and understand what’s going on down on the south-side that’s positive. This just in, I see the signs HCPN……. and Thank You and your team!! …. ike

    We All We Got
    We All We Need


  31. Ike – Exactly. The program is pointing in the right direction. Like I mentioned before, the TCU’s and Michigan State’s of the world didn’t build overnight. It was the consistent, sustained success that eventually allowed programs like those to turn the corner. But it took a few years.


  32. Wanny may have got higher ranked kids, Narduzzi has won 16 games in his first two seasons with Chryst’s players. The funny thing is that it is not how high the kid is ranked when he arrives but how high he is drafted when he leaves. I think it is too early to assess Nard’s recruiting.

    Wanny coached two Pro teams before he got here and won a SuperBowl as an assistant at another. That is a lot of bonafides to sell a kid that wants to play pro ball, which all four and five star guys aspire to.

    Narduzzi is still an up and comer, learning the ropes, both as a coach and as as the guy who has to close the deal.

    Even though we never won it, we were still a pretty big fish in the Big East. Don’t expect to recruit like Clemson, FLST, VAST or Miami for a while.

    Narduzzi has two major head winds, Pitt has not been a winner for a long, long time, and we have a comparatively small fanbase. It also still remains to be seen how much Pitt Admin wants to compete on a National, or even Conference level.

    The stakes to play with the big boys keep getting higher. Pitt hasn’t shown that desire since the early eighties, more than 40 years ago.


  33. Agree Ike that the BE was a better conference in its initial phase with Miami and VT., However the BB only teams never cared about it as a football conference, By the time of DW choking on UConn it had become a hot mess and not that powerful.
    Great article and thoughtful posts.


  34. I wanted to bring this up awhile ago but I kept putting it off. < forgetting

    Look back at when Narduzzi was first hired and what we all thought of the hire and any expectations we may have had.

    Was it two 8 regular season wins right off the bat? Would we have been happy with that?

    What about beating psu first game back after a 20 some year hiatus?

    What about beating Clemson down at their home field (Death Valley) before the year they won the national championship?

    I was asked a long while ago that shouldn’t we change our expectations as the season or future moves along? I think NOT! Expectations are like playing the lottery. You play the number that you have expectations of hitting and you pray to the gambling gaads that you win.. You can’t change your expectations.

    Is there anyone out there that thought PITT and Narduzzi would have brought the PITT football program along this far so fast and profound? Let’s hear from you as you are one big optimist or a storyteller.

    If we all look close enough we will always find a blemish (especially with the latest big screen TV’s). When we do that we look past the obvious… the story……….. ike


  35. Narduzzi is the head coach and he gets the credit or the blame for the record, but our success last year was as much due to Canada and Chryst’s offensive recruits more than anything else. With help from Chaney’s QB and Henderson’s speed.

    This year will tell us if Narduzzi is on the rise with his own recruits filling the holes left by a big and pretty solid senior class. So far everything is on paper, this year we will see how many of Narduzzi’s recruits contribute.

    But I agree, so far there should be no major complaints about the Nard Dog. He looks like a genius for hiring Canada, hopefully the new guy will fill those big shoes.


    1. I argue kind of against this below —- How does Pitt with Chryst go 6-7 with Aaron Donald playing one-man-wrecking-crew, James Conner destroying everyone, a record breaking Sophomore WR named Tyler Boyd, + literally amongst the easiest / cuddly-cupcake schedules in all of D-1???

      Being a soft game-day coach and recruiting Zero-QB’s , that is a huge part of P Chryst’s Pitt legacy too.

      Narduzzi gets 110% credit for wasting absolutely, utterly zero time getting a transfer QB with talent and multiple years of eligibility after seeing enough of Tiny-2.0, and if Max Browne Hits Pat Narduzzi will have made it clear he is not going to Goof Around with the Quarterback position like: Dave Wannstedt + Paul Chryst. That’s Huge and has to be accounted for when “judging” the impacts of head coaches on a program.


  36. Another thing for Pitt that I really like from Narduzzi is how aggressively he has gone and grabbed the Transfer Quarterbacks he wants.

    Just like in the NFL where teams Mortgage their entire futures to sell-out for that one golden-arm — Narduzzi gets it that a Strong QB is everything.

    Now this year — I truly believe Narduzzi could have gotten either Max Browne or Malik Zaire from Notre Dame, both players with one year left. But Narduzzi had to make a choice and he went all-in for Browne with no hesitation, and got him so quickly that Max Browne said he pretty much jumped-in with Nard-Dawg and didn’t even visit / contact any other schools.

    LolPat Narduzzi gets off the jet at the airport, rides in the back of a Black Car to the Pitt facility, takes one momentary look-over of Pitt’s “Incumbent QB” —– then Hits The Phones to find his transfer QB ASAP.

    I’ve said many times — at Michigan State, sandwhiched in-between 2-pairs of 10 win seasons with NFL QB’s Kirk Cousins and Connor Cook (both very low 3 stars, with the former being ranked 400 overall and latter being ranked almost 1000 overall so there) —>

    Due 100% to weak QB play a la Tino Sunseri sinking the whole ship in 2011 — Pat Narduzzi suffered through a 6-6 season on a Stacked team in 2012 (http://www.fbschedules.com/ncaa-12/big-ten/2012-michigan-state-spartans-football-schedule.php ) with The LeVeon Bell, an NFL-talent studded solid defense, and NFL offensive skill players and O-Line, all because they were stuck starting a redshirt SR QB who was Chad Voytik / Tino Sunseri level. Gotta keep bringing in talented Qb’s or you get stuck with a Tino / Voytik and sabotage the season.

    Bad QB’s can drag down an entire team, a la Tino going 7-5 and getting Wannstedt fired.

    Look out for Pat Narduzzi after this season to push Thomas MacVittie, Kenny Picket, and newcomer Nick Patti hard to see if they meet his standards — because Pat Narduzzi is gonna keep bringing in transfer QB’s to not have to suffer through a poor QB pulling-down his entire team again.


    1. I am not impressed with Pickett or Patti/reminders of Tino and Volychick. Despite Narduzzi’s smoke screen he blows each year with the 4* and 5* QB transfer at QB, despite their bad personal decisions in the past these are 22 and 23 year old men not 20 year old 3* MAC recruits.
      Narduzzi is more quite than usual about his 5* juco transfer because of his past not because of his abilities. Like Savage, Peterman, and Browne he fought hard to get Ricky Town to come to Pitt and be the QB starter in 2018 and 19.


  37. Hey DK, great post. You’re a much easier read without the bold, italics, and theatrics. Thank You. ike


    1. Hear! Hear! I’ve heard from more than one POV poster that they just skip right over Dark Night’s post because of the theatrics… let’s keep it this way DK it’s much easier to read and much better for all involved.


  38. I agree 100% DK and as a conspiracy theorist, still think that Fraud Graham may have been given notice that TS was to continue to be Pitt’s QB and said no thanks I’m out. I really like how Nard Dog has prioritized strengthening the QB position, although I hope an actual QB recruit is ready to take the reins in 2018.


  39. Reed, good article concept, but the data isn’t there yet. The numbers above include only 1 full year of Narduzzi recruits, and the 2017 figures used above are not likely accurate. I think if you give it a few years, the data would make for a valid comparison. Also, Wanny was a pretty good recruiter but neglected the O.L. Very hard to win without an offensive line.


  40. ^ 1618, I really don’t want to speak for Reed but his analysis of recruiting was more in general to numbers and not so much over-all units. That said I’m a very big Wanny fan but he failed early on. Just when he had it all figured out. BOOM! thanks steve.

    That will get a response out of Reed but we have gone over all that crap over and over.

    Todd ran for the hills after only one year in a football program being misdirected by an AD and you know who? Many of you guys hate Graham but he did himself a BIG favor and got out of dodge when the getting was good. I really wish he would tell the story he once said he would but it just shows he’s not a complete idiot like “the steve”. The narcissistic prick . Boy do I dislike that human.

    You would have to bend really low to stoop to his his level… ike


  41. Narduzzi is definitely a better coach than Wannstedt. My druthers was Wannstedt coaching four more years, retiring and then Narduzzi takes over. Pitt would have avoided the coaching changes, the kids would have had stability in their lives and Pitt would have avoided all those 6-7 records.


  42. IKE, you are correct. That was just a general comparison of recruit rankings from one specific recruiting site.

    The intent of the article wasn’t really to be Wanny versus Pat narduzzi’s recruiting. It was to show, I could have picked any team actually, but to show the effects of higher-ranked recruits and how many wins you get later on.

    I think narduzzi’s going to get up to that 9 win level, hopefully this year, but maybe next year. But it really wasn’t supposed to be Pat Narduzzi versus Dave Wannstedt as far as their coaching at Pitt goes. It was strictly about the effects that good recruiting, or better recruiting I should say, will have on wins and losses one or two or three years down the road.

    I also agree that in recruiting it really doesn’t mean a whole lot until you start seeing what these recruits do in 2 or 3 years. I have written before about the fact that DW and PC and Todd Graham have lost a lot of four-star players due to academics, not being happy, or being dismissed from the team… or even not getting playing time and wanting to go to another school.

    George Hill is a prime example. Big Splash as a recruit but medical issues will keep him from ever playing football. Now on one hand that shows that Narduzzi had the ability to convince Hill to come to Pitt. On the other hand it shows that you never know what’s going to happen once the kids get out of high school and actually try to play football… or not.

    I think it is pretty obvious that the higher-ranked recruits you get the more wins you will get down the road, that goes for any team in college football. So when I say pitch recruiting is average I don’t mean that to be a slur on the kids themselves but on the coaching staff not getting the kids that they originally targeted. This is a common misconception that football fans have I believe.

    They think just because Pitt has gotten a verbal from somebody that it was the player they wanted all along. I’d say, and this is just a somewhat educated guess, that isn’t the case and 33%, about a third, of the recruits we get were because we missed out on somebody higher-rated.

    Chris Peak of rivals.com made a good point in a question-and-answer piece he did last week and that was it he was asked if he thought the Pitt coaching staff was happy with the 2017 recruits and he answered that he thought that they (the recruiting staff) were disappointed because they missed out on a lot of the bigger recruits who they really tried hard to get. I have a feeling the same thing is happening this year. Again, we are gettiing some good kids coming in but we’re missing out on ones who could be real game changers.


  43. LOL welp, I guess I fully know how you feel @Reed….

    I’m just like, psshh, this ain’t my job, don’t like it, forget itI’m out, see ya guys!

    No need to “skip over posts” that don’t exist! 🙂 #ItalicsForEmphasis


  44. Darkie,
    Compose your posts however u want.
    I enjoy your creativity and exuberance.
    Don’t want to see u skip town.


  45. Lots of good reading on this subject. Really enjoying it!
    Also, Ike, you have inspired me to come up with a clever pithy phrase at the bottom of my comments just like you! Appreciate you buddy! :>)

    We ain’t got squat
    We need a lot


  46. I feel that at least part of the reason to turn to Harley is dissatisfaction with results. I am not familiar with the administrative end but I feel better with Harley as he has impressed me as a coach whose LBs were functional wnen the talent level is not even that good. In fact with Harley there I would put him under the wing of Partridge and tell Conklin it’s been nice. All told though it is Nard who insist on playing this pass defense nightmare in a wide open conference.
    Darkie nice to see you are on your meds and out. 🙂


  47. I agree with that last paragraph Reed. We are not getting the top choice kids we are going after in most cases, but the kids we are getting are pretty good. Hopefully more than a few of them will turn into difference makers like Conner and Henderson. But for the program to really jump to that next level, we need to get a good share of the Boyds, Whiteheads, Hamlins and Fords, the guys that are expected to have a good chance at pro ball. There are no guarantees of who turns out to be an elite player, but guys like Terrelle Pryor are much closer to sure things than any three stars.

    When guys like Dorsett, Marino, Fralic and Green arrived on campus, they were ready to play. We need a few of those kind of game changers.


    1. note that 3 of the 4 you listed are local. There just isn’t the quantity of local 4 stars these days as there were back then


  48. Harley is also quite a handsome man (like me of course! :>) which can’t hurt with recruits moms, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers!

    We ain’t got squat
    We need a lot


  49. Dear “Dark Knight” don’t you dare go anywhere if I read your last post correct. The POV is our home now and you are one of the stars that makes it shine so brightly.

    Pittman. You crack me up.. after seeing you on the round-table I picture you typing away with that wry smirk on your face. Very clever!

    rkb, The Charlie Partridge hire was receive with lots of love but I feel he’s even going to exceed any and all expectations. I keep saying that the coaching staff will make the biggest leap forward this season over any player. Narduzzi is getting it.

    Reed what you say about getting the bigger fish is certainly true but I wonder sometimes how accurate the scouting services are? It kind of took aback when Peak explained there was a cut off after so many (50 I think) 5 star kids were chosen. What? That’s plain dumb. So if there would be 52 kids worthy of a 5 star two would be chopped and lowered to a four star. It’s subjective and I don’t think we should feel good or bad because someone decided Joe is better than Jim. … ike


    1. Had to laugh when the names popped into my mind but I left the names in that order thinking of your response. 🙂


  50. Reed, I’m the guy that was referred to when I quoted that you “totally discounted” transfers when evaluating Narduzzi’s recruiting prowess. Your substantiation that you don’t was to write these two paragraphs listed above:

    “Those transfers, walk-ons and hell, add greyshirt players to that as rare as they are, would be considered ‘others‘ when discussing recruiting and recruiting classes who have signed Letters of Intent to play football at Pitt.”

    Then you go further with:

    “However to attract incoming transfers is a whole different, and much, much easier, task then it is to get highly ranked HS recruits to sign a LOI for four years of play at your school.”

    In essence you clearified my point that, 1) transfers are not really considered recruits in your assessment, but rather are “others” & 2) That somehow, simply because in your estimation getting transfers to commit to Pitt is “easier” than competing for highly rated HS players, such key transfers are worth less when considering Coach Narduzzi’s recruiting. That my friend is the definition of “discounting”.

    Not debating this point further other than to make this point totally clear. Anybody that ends up at Pitt in uniform, other than walk-on student athletes, have been RECRUITED. Furthermore without our recruited “transfer” playing as well as he did last season at QB, this team does not win 8 games last season. Proof, you saw the final result of what happened when Nate Peterman was knocked out of our bowl game.

    So just understand that in constructing this roster into a winning ball club at the beginning of a new coaches tenure, these types of key players can’t be marginalized simply because they have begun their college careers elsewhere. Sometimes these guys are even more important in the present, than our future 4 & 5 Star elite players of the future, that is if you want to win NOW!

    That will be relevant again this season with Max Browne coming in from USC. If he can carry the load at QB, we win again THIS SEASON. When you’re building a program up, without those 4 & 5 Star guys in the pipeline already those transfers are indispensable whether you consider them true recruits or not.


  51. I would like to take a poll …. do you think there is less local enthusiasm for Pitt FB today than there was 7 or 8 years ago?

    If anything, you would think there would be more now with Pitt being in the ACC. Not to mention the rekindling of the PSU rivalry. But my perception is there is less. And attendance figures seem to indicate it … being that 3 of the 4 highest attendance years were 2008-2010. The only really good attendance year since was 2013, the 1st year in the ACC which included home games with FSU and ND.

    If I am correct, then the only thing I can think of is the clusterf#ck the program became starting with Wanny’s firing which had a detrimental effect on local perception of the program. Just curious (maybe I’m wrong)


  52. Anoymous – You are right. The program cried wolf so many times fans gave up on them. Watch the recent Heather Lyke interview. It is semi embarrassing. She proves she is in over her head and a puppet. She wont do a yhing at Pitt. Many of my group agree and she was a bogus hire on a revolving door of AD’s. Hire down a few levels because they stay. Fans want winners and Pens and Steelers will get the attention. Beat Clemson and 24k fans bext week because fans are smart and want consistentcy and not bs shoved down there throats by weak administration about committments. Sad part is Narduzzi could become a great coach but it wont be at Pitt because of this weak admin and puppets. Mark my words he gets any success (wins 9-10 games and he is gone bc admin is all talk. Narduzzi is a lot of talk but at least beat PSU and Clemson even though he loses to Northwestern. We will be 1-2 to start the year and win 8 games and go to a bowl. Probably lose the bowl.


  53. The abomination of the Wanny firing has had a big impact on the WPIAL coaches to a fairly large degree. Bluntly, it pissed off a lot of local coaches and I think they should have been upset. Residual effects like that are exactly what the last PITT administration never accounted for.

    Narduzzi is slowly changing all that but Anony brings up a great point. < who is this Anony guy?

    After thinking this through for a while now, I do have to agree with Doc on recruiting transfers. Yes, there is a big difference and Reed is correct when stating that PITT had less than a zero’s chance to land the likes of Peterman and Browne out of high school… but… PITT was on Hendrix final list I believe as were others in the recent past. < local high school players

    Here’s a question. Why didn’t Zaire decide to come to PITT? Browne, as I understand it, wasn’t in the picture until a month or so later. Could it be that PITT couldn’t recruit him into making the decision? Lot’s of unknowns here but any which way you want to shake this out. You have to talk, give the right answers and yes, recruit anyone and everyone to join the team.

    I do realize that some kids just have their hearts set on going to a certain dream school and all it takes is an offer, but as general rule of thumb you better have a top recruiting staff on board to lure the better players in. I think PITT, Narduzzi and his team of coaches are just about to reach their pinnacle of success in that department.

    PITT needs to land Raines and then there is Asamoah. Those two and a surprise or two will put this class over the top… ike

    We All We Got
    We All We Need


  54. I think there is a little bit more interest in the Pitt program overall. We seem to be doing well with the local recruits this year, and I point to the strong sales of the JC Steelers jersey as a sign of interest as well. Lyke may be an unknown quantity but I feel there is more optimism with her and Gallagher than we had with Smiling Steve and Nordenberg. I truly believe I see more Pitt merchandise around SW PA than I did 8 years ago . .


  55. Heather Lyke is a new athletic director who has just arrived on the job. How anyone can pin her as this or as that is completely irrational to me. Let these people do their jobs then I would be more than willing to tear their playhouses down if they are a fail but until then, I’ll give them a chance. Isn’t that what we all want in this world, a chance? .


  56. I think there was a real fan let down in the enthusiasm for Wanny after the Cincy game in 2009. That contest was in essence the Championship game for the now defunct Big East Conference Title. The Mieneke Muffler Bowl win to get us to 10 wins was even muted by that prior loss. That loss, and the one right before it, losing to WVU 19-16 proved to many that Coach Wannestadt just couldn’t win the big game. The hype surrounding that game was electric in a packed Heinz Field on that cold, snowy December day. Winning that game against Kelly’s undefeated Bearcats could have been a significant turning point for the program. Alas, it went in the opposite direction. Next season was the end for Davie Boy and then of course the $hitstorm hit with Pederson and the coaching revolving door for the next few years to put a sour taste in the mouth of even the most dedicated diehard Pitt fan.

    So to answer the question of the current interest in Pitt Football by comparison to then, now with Narduzzi as our coach, I would have to say that those interested are much more enthusiastic with where the program is today as compared to then. Why?

    First, we’re out of the Big East. Second, we don’t have that Dick Pederson around any longer. Third, we have both PSU & WVU back on the schedule for the near future. Fourth, Narduzzi has done nothing other than to be a very effective coach in continuing the stability of the program that HCPC accomplished immediately after emerging from those Post Wanny Dark Years. Fifth, by being in a Power 5 Conference we are making tons more $$$$ from Football.

    Now does that mean that we are seeing a big increase in fan support after two years of Narduzzi’s tenure? Nope. However, fair weather fans are the last to show up for the party. I can tell you this. Those of us that have never left are excited for the future. (Except for Upitt of course). Hail to Pitt!


    1. And how could I forget???????????? WE GOTS THE PITT SCRIPT BACK FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD!!!!


    2. Agree on that Cincy game and the WVU game before it. Those along with the bad PR cost Wanny his job, and the mess that followed. Anyone that was there knows that was the best experience ever at Heinz, until it wasn’t. Wanny lost that game because of poor coaching decisions down the stretch. It was his big shot at glory and he blew it. It cost him and the program dearly.

      Chryst and Narduzzi have dug us out of that hole. We can see the light again. This year is an important one to keep that upward trend going.


    3. If Pitt beats Cincy it then gets destroyed in the Sugar Bowl by Florida and people are then complaining Dave embarrassed the program in a BCS game. The WVU loss exposed Wannstedt’s QB recruiting to that point, but Cignetti deserved a chance to show his recruiting chops at the position.

      Wannstedt was doing about as well as he could with the shoestring budget Nordenberg and Peterson gave him to work with after it was slashed. Some good kids were committed in the 2011 class and Wannstedt had some weak schedules and the PSU sanctions ahead to win more games than the 6-6 crap we were exposed to.


    4. Dr Tom, all due respect but I’m not interested what ‘those interested’ think. They are not the problem. My query is the comparison of those interested today versus those interested 7 years ago

      and while I agree the 09 Cincy game was a disappointment. attendance was still very good in 2010


  57. I don’t see any marked difference in enthusiasm for the program. Apparently there is a national downturn in attendance for all sporting events. There are many entertainment options in Pittsburgh. The culture of the City has changed dramatically and continues to change. People are busy and it gets harder to give up half a day to attend a game when you can watch it on a big screen HD TV. Or even set the DVR and watch it later, not my cup of tea, but I know plenty of folks that do it.

    Lots of things are changing, golf looks to be a dying sport, at least trending downward. Young people don’t have the time or money to dedicate to the sport. As less kids play football, due to the risk, less will be interested in going to games or even watching on TV.

    This is why Heather really needs to work on the overall culture at Pitt to increase that rah rah spirit that guys like Dr Tom and DK exude. There just is not enough of it. The history of SOP is very hard to overcome.

    I do agree with PittPT that you see more people wearing Pitt shirts and hats, which is a good thing.

    There is nothing more important than a winning attitude, and you can only get it when you have sustained winning. Hopefully Narduzzi is the guy to make it happen


  58. Do any of you guys remember walking up the hill to a PITT game back in the day? Now imagine having to jump on a bus with that hangover we all had and sitting there waiting for Joe slow to get his lazy butt out of bed. This isn’t fun stuff guys.

    Not to mention sitting on that very same bus sweating or freezing your you know whats off to get back to campus and have a real party and that’s nothing but bullschitt. Sorry about the language but football pays for those ancillary minor sports and an on campus stadium should come first if there is room up there on the hill Heather referenced, which btw I have no idea where she is talking about?

    The newer HD TV’s with cable and the ACC network looming is making the attendance problem even harder to deal with moving towards the future. Actually, in the club, I see so many people sitting up there watching the game on couches and cushioned chairs that it sickens me. wtf?

    Move the students to a better seat location and give the tickets away. ( you’re practically giving them away anyways) Build up school spirit by the way of on campus promotions.

    Get the kids down to the game and get them home without one iota of a problem for them, el pronto if you will. They are PITT’s lifeline to and for the future.


  59. The comments about HDTV are pertinent as are the comments about overall attendance being down. Good stuff

    Are more Pitt home games being televised now than then, or is it about the same? I seem to remember that it’s about the same

    So overall, the interest is still there … people just don’t show up as much now


  60. speaking of lack of interest … Jamel Artis is on NBA TV right now …. Knicks summer league team
    3 to 5


  61. On getting graduate transfers, I think many have missed the key ingredient. The player. The player now is more mature and actually looks at a playing time situation as he seeks his new school. This is a critical missing piece to the article. Are the kids still recruited, yes! But as much as the kids are recruited, the grad transfer recruits the program that best fits his need to start. They look for weaknesses in the program positions. Pitt’s weakness for years has been at the QB position. That is why we got some good qb transfers. Look, there are only a few good fits with programs and player each year.

    So to me, it is equal recruiting towards the player and from the player about the school. They study depth charts. It is no longer about the next four years. It is about now and a professional career. A 5th year grad transfer doesn’t pick Alabama because they have a stalwart in Jalen Hurd.

    This gets to my main point in recruiting. Pitt needs to know who they are competing against for every player. A great recruiter knows the other teams personnel, type of offense, etc. This is where I think Pitt missed with the local 5 star running back who went to Dairy High. Pitt should have crushed it with playing time early against SayQuon. Our local rb is a benchwarmer for two years at a minimum. Pitt should have pushed Conner being out last year and opening things up for the local rb this year. Instead the kid sits at Dairy again. What will be terrible is if SayQuon plays most of the year and gets injured late. SayQuon would come back for his senior year to show scouts he is healthy and unfortunately crush the career of the local rb. They need tape.

    Pitt needs to work harder than the competitors. But that is just life for all of us. Work harder than your competitors and things get easier.


  62. Here’s an off topic question. Let’s say Dave Wannstedt was born in Lincoln Nebraska or Tuscaloosa Alabama.

    He then decides to stay at home and attend his hometown school. While there, his hometown school (college) wins the national championship (hypothetical) of course.

    Goes on to many successful coaching jobs in college/NFL and as a head coach in the NFL. (hypothetical) of course.

    How do you think that scenario would have turned out and would Wanny still be coaching at his home town school? < if it wasn’t for being born in Pittsburgh and attending PITT. Just an innocent question….


  63. Wanny was a victim of poor timing. He came back to Pitt at a time when Pitt kept football on the back burner and may have made promises to Wanny they couldn’t and wouldn’t keep. The rhetoric of “playing for championships” on a shoestring budget and high academic standards was stupid. You can’t do that folks. His boss was clueless. Why isn’t Steve Pederson working in the Power5?

    Secondly and way off topic. If Pitt wants to compete going forward with the likes of Oregon, OSU and Alabama, they need to engage the professional schools students, particularly engineering, law and medicine. Those are the kids that will more likely hit it big with an invention. If Pitt gets those kids engaged with the athletic teams, they will give back big time. Pitt needs to market to their students first. Get them engaged and they will give back more than any of us old timers.

    The fact that Lyke put an OCS on the back burner, shows me that she is a shallow thinker and the job is too big for her. Many say that if it ain’t broke don’t break it. I say that if it ain’t broke, break it. Then make it bigger and better then ever before. Pitt is currently in the past. What Pederson has started is a failure.


  64. Spot on Huff, I’ll add that while that’s all true and to pile on Wanny, steve just had to undermine the coach in a power struggle and that’s where the story begins and ends. A narcissistic SOB steve was.


  65. Dark Knight – If I was to take offense at every bit of criticism and blow back I get on here and on Facebook, and that is just about every day, The POV would have shut down 11.5 months ago.

    That was constructive criticism in case you missed that part. A lot of readers on here have to catch up on comments in a short time period while at work so things get glossed over.

    Every post you have written is good football stuff and strong opinions – do it how you like. My point was I as a reader prefer the straight forward approach.

    But its your dime in a way so do what you like but keep doing it..


  66. Huff,
    One day when I climb a great Himalayan mountain and make it to the peak, an old wise, white bearded guru will be sitting there and say to me: “Work harder than your competitors and things get easier.”
    And I will respond: “You mean to tell me that I almost killed myself coming all the way up here to hear those great words of wisdom when Huff gave the same advice on the POV July 1, 2017!!!! :>)


  67. Here’s a name for you…. Mardy Gilyard. Whichever of you POVerts brought up the dreadful Cincy loss, THANKS!!! I get depressed just thinking about that game, and that name. The name Gilyard will haunt Wanny almost as much as the name Steve Pedersen.


      1. Pitt had the lead until about 30 seconds left in the game …. the Mady Gillyard TD was in the 2nd quarter. You people have to get over this


        1. If the Gilyard TD doesn’t happen, Pitt wins going away. It gave Cincy life going into halftime. Plus, Wanny kicked to him again in the second half and he returned that one 50 yards or so.


  68. Ike – when discussing Wannstedt you have complete blinders on. You always disregard the sh*tstorm that was Pitt football back them. We get it – you hate Steve Pederson… well get in line cause the majority of Pitt fan do also. But to continually hold DW blameless for what happened is ridiculous.

    He was an employee of the University and didn’t do what the Head of the University (his boss) required him to do and was fired. That is all it really boils down to.

    Parse it any way you want, I’ve written about this many times and you still refuse to see past SP. Well, that is just pure hatred and that’s fine but open your eyes to the fact that there were other players involved and two of them had as much to do with the firing as SP did.

    The bottom line was that Dave Wannstedt was a buffoon in many ways outside the football facility and was a egotist (among others at Pitt) who felt that because he made more money than anyone else he could do what he wanted with no ramifications.

    Gee – didn’t really work out that way.

    This DW firing is a subject that gets dragged out every so often and means absolutely nothing at this point in Pitt’s history. Wannstedt is five years removed, Chancellor Nordenberg three and SP two .

    This article was about football – not necessarily about Wannstedt or Narduzzi per se except as players in the recruiting game. But I suggest we look at football when casting back and forget about an issue that should be dead and buried. I have tried to do that over the past year and will continue to do so – at this point peoples’ opinions are very much unlikely to change on the subject.


  69. Reed: hate does strange things to people I suppose. I hate the word hate yet I have no problems using it relating to “the steve”. imo, he took something away from me for no good reason other than his own personal agenda. I apologize for my lack of forgiveness that evil man.

    …but I have to tell you…. I can’t promise I won’t rail on him again anytime in the future…. yeah the river runs that deep…. ike


  70. I agree with Dr tom in that this period of Pitt football is the most 360 degree positive than any I can remember in some time – and I attribute that to the last two HC Paul Chryst and Narduzzi.

    Fans were very disheartened and skeptical for many reasons going into 2010 and then 2011 and even winning some big games (article on that tomorrow) wasn’t enough to generate excitement after all the off-field stuff with both DW then TG.

    Chryst leveled things out and Narduzzi is solidly building on that – in the right way. I can’t tell you how happy I am that we aren’t reading about Pitt players screwing up almost every week like we used to and I know other fans feel the same. That makes it so much easier to concentrate and enjoy what Narduzzi is doing now.

    And one of the things he is doing is shifting staff personnel to better the program each year. He pretty much held the door open for Chaney to leave and then got Partridge (we’ll see but that will be a real positive step) and now got rid of a recruiting coordinator who wasn’t getting results.


  71. As far as the enthusiasm for Pitt, I will tell you for a fact that at public venues such as amusement parks, casinos, baseball games, etc. the Pitt tee shirts and such are now very common. In fact, more so than the dairy college for a change. The branding is slowly taken hold, but coming to games is something else. Pittsburghers are strange, they watch on TV and listen on radio in record numbers, but they don’t come to the parks unless you are a winner. That, my friends is a fact, not speculation. Pens, Pirates, Steelers. Unless they where winners, and big winners at that, attendance sucked. But do not make the mistake of correlating enthusiasm to attendance. The cheapos here will root like crazy, but only spend on winners.


    1. Actually they don’t even support winners unless it is a big event. Very disappointing turnout after Clemson.
      Pittsburgh fans don’t show up for Pitt unless we are playing someone worthy. Hopefully, rivalries will grow with ACC teams increasing attendance. Remember last year’s season ticket sales were big, but people didn’t even use them for the last two games. PSU fans had a lot to do with it, but there were still plenty of cheap tickets on stub hub. Pittsburgh Fans will attend the big events, like the Cincy game.


  72. Dr tom – You missed the whole point of my article – when recruiting is being discussed in college football it is only pointed toward HS recruiting. I didn’t make that up – that is a standard sports-writing stance.

    You are wrong about anyone who ends up on the roster is actually ‘recruited’. Take Nate Peterman’s case. He wanted to leave Tennessee and he himself made the first contact with Pitt via a phone call from him to Jim Chaney our OC. Chaney told him there was a spot and to come up asap and enroll – which Peterman did.

    There was no recruitment there at all. No outreach on Pitt’s part of any staff members’ part.

    Nor are their recruiting tactics involved in Walk-On players – they approach the staff and ask to try out… or respond to a general tryout advertisement. They are not recruited and usually don’t get a scholarship for 1-2 or more even years.

    So there are two situations right there.

    The other transfers made the choice after contacting Pitt also and Pitt was one of only a few schools under consideration. That isn’t being ‘recruited’ either.

    Now – you think I don’t give Narduzzi credit for getting those transfers and that is patently untrue – how many articles have I written that it was great for Narduzzi to 1) allow Peterman to transfer (that’s what he did) and 2) start him at QB.

    But you’re kidding yourself if you think it is the same as going up against 30 other P5 schools.

    I think it is great the Browne, Hendrix and Clark are onboard – all positions of need that Narduzzi has filled with transfers and that is great. Good for PN!

    That said – my opinion on just how well they will do is a reflection on what I think of the players themselves… not on Narduzzi for getting them. Let’s hope that they play up to fan expectations but that might be very hard for them to do, especially in Browne’s case.


  73. QB Recruiting has sucked as far back to Marino. Name a good stud QB? Now Narduzzi is only bringing in Transfers and no good QB is going to sign. Once you go that route you have to committ to it. Tansfer QB U. I honestly cant remember a good Pitt qb? Van Pelt maybe???


  74. Reasons these transfers come to Pitt is bc we are one of the few D1 programs with glaring holes and lacks of talent at QB and TE.


  75. Upitt. Voytik was a highly rated QB. Did he play like one? …. but he was a top eight QB recruit in the country.


  76. UPitt

    After Marino Pitt recruited these highly rated QBs I do believe they were rated 4 or 5 star

    Dante Wiley
    Tony Zimmerman
    Rich Bowden
    Darnell Dickerson
    Pat Bostick
    Tra’von Chapman
    Chad Voytik and i’m sure I missed a few others.

    They were highly rated didn’t pan out, recruiting is an in exact science.


    1. Rod Rutherford and Tyler Palko were 4 stars that panned out. Darnell Dickerson was effective while he played QB


  77. @Upitt, we agree again and now I am getting nervous.

    Narduzzi and Chryst brought in two very good qb’s that are now in the nfl. A couple of good reasons for this is because Pitt has been playing a pro offensive set which showcases a skill set that the nfl uses. The nfl is afraid of spread qb’s and shotgun only qb’s. Pitt has done well for their qb’s by keeping a pro offensive set.

    Second, I think Upitt and Reed agree with me on this. The recruiting for a grad transfer is a two way street. The qb looks for a team where he will get to most likely start number one and secondly that they run a professional offense that will hope to catch the eye of professional scouts. We have done that the last three years.

    I actually think recruiting of transfer qb’s helps in the recruiting of High School QB’s. You can sell the high schooler on playing time and saying to the potential recruit that “nobody on the current roster can beat out the transfer which is a great opportunity for you”. I will play the best qb and that could be you. Sign here!

    LOL @ pittman – i am no great orator or anything. I hope you were just mocking me.


  78. quarterbacks are the toughest to grade out of high school
    find one who will fit your scheme
    find one you think has potential and upside
    find one mentally tough and a natural born leader (see wpa qb’s)

    once pitt is better, you wont see many transfers
    our transfers have worked out but its not sustainable
    sign of weakness

    i’m dull and dont have the same theatrics as the dark one…not one capital letter or period even


  79. keep the bold and italics going darkie. i read your posts…takes me three times of re-reading to fully comprehend, but i don’t think you’re nuts. just very passionate and highly caffeinated..


  80. Two things:

    Thanks BigB

    Wanny was not the punter for PITT as I remember it. Do we really know what happened on those calls? Although I do remember many penalties not called that game. Either way


  81. Here’s another thought. You don’t get to a game of that magnitude because you suck as a coach.


  82. Reed, regarding the POV dinner July 15… what time are you thinking? Pirates play that night at 7. Might want to avoid north shore. Anyone been to Ditka’s in Wexford? Might be good karma. Probably pricy though.


    1. probably depends where Reed is staying . With Reed coming from Maryland and the camp being at Clairton, it would make more sense for him to stay south of Pgh. Some good restaurants on 19 South …. not sure about 51 except for the ones near Century II Mall near county airport


  83. Can we please move on from further discussion of the relative merits of the Wanny era. Let’s look to the future not the past. Thanks and H2P!


  84. Pitt will have to bite the bullet and let a junior, sophmore or redshirt freshman QB play at some point. Every other university does it.

    Thete are two reason Narduzzi is opting for the transfer.

    The D sucks. You play a young QB, you better have a good D.
    The offense has changed 3 years in a row. A grad transfer QB will adjust faster because they most likely already know how to read coverages already. Makes their learning curve much smaller. Pitt needs to run the same offense for several years.

    I hope they have a package for Pickett or another young QB. They have to get someone experience.


  85. I agree here, Narduzzi must get a younger QB some quality experience with playing this year. It’s time to develop a young gun and bring some continuity to that position. ….. ike


  86. Since QB is by far the most important position in football, and Pitt hasn’t been able to close on many elite players at most positions, it makes sense to get ready made elite QB’s through transfer. It takes time to develop a young QB. Unless you are lucky like USC and can recruit a freshman star, you usually have to recruit several and hope they develop. Hopefully MacVittie, Pickett or DiNucci may be the guy, but in the meantime, we have done very well with the other teams castoffs.

    Major reasons these guys were willing to come to Pitt, they were pretty sure the would start, and Chryst had recruited very good linemen to protect them. These transfers are smart enough to know that the more time they have to throw, the better QB they will be.

    The track record of having successfully used these transfers also makes it easier to recruit new ones. I’m sure they used the success of Savage and Peterman when recruiting Browne.

    The obvious plus in a transfer is they have some experience, are more mature, and are easier to evaluate, the downside is that you only have them for one or two years at most. Nothing better than having a good returning starter at QB.


  87. What is the difference between a Rivals 3 and 4 star?. It is a rating number of 5.7 versus a 5.8. Not very much in my mind.


  88. frank, you’re right I really don’t think there is any difference what so ever between a 5.7 and 5.8. The people who decide between that one decimal point are armed with much more info than the common football fan but to dissect players that they really have never seen in person is a little (way more) than subjective.

    It’s exactly why I’m not fussed up about PITT recruiting at this point. Look what happened last year? Average 3 stars defeating the eventual National Champs and their top ten recruiting classes. …ike

    We All We Got
    We All We Need


  89. DK
    Please come back … just the way you are. Now that UPitt has been neutered you are the only energy and entertainment. and FWIW I have no trouble following the train of thought.


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