Recruiting The Top 10 Pennsylvania players year by year.
A while ago Rivals.com Chris Peak was asked what he felt the Pitt coaching staff would say when asked if they were satisfied with their 2017 recruiting class. His candid answer was that he though they were disappointed in the final class as they missed too many of the blue chip players who went elsewhere… some from right in Oakland itself.
Let’s start with last year’s Top 10 PA players, then look at the Top Ten in this current 2018 class… then bounce back to Narduzzi’s first year of 2016 ( which was the best so far in my opinion).
1. **** D’Andre Swift, St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) RB- Solidly built at 5’10” 208, very fast, great feet and vision, and he even has very good hands. He’s the total package and that’s why his top five right now is Penn State, Georgia, Clemson, Alabama, and Florida State. GEORGIA
2. **** Lamont Wade, Clairton Area HS (Clairton) CB- At 5’9″ and 185 pounds, he doesn’t have ideal size for the position, but he’s very strong, fast, and quick. He also has the fire necessary for the position. Ohio State and Penn State seem like the most obvious leaders, and Pitt is a bit of a sleeper. PENN STATE
3. **** Paris Ford, Steel Valley HS (Munhall) FS– Thin, but has room to grow at 6’1″ and 175 pounds. Excellent speed and athleticism. Plays with a lot of emotion. Projects just as well at wide receiver. Has committed to PITTSBURGH.
4. **** David Adams, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) LB- Typical rugged western PA kid that was born to play linebacker. Good speed and athleticism. Has the range to make tackles all over the field. Committed to NOTRE DAME.
5. **** Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls Area HS (Beaver Falls) DE- Big, strong, and athletic at 6’4″ and 265 pounds. Shed some weight so that he can play defensive end, but he could also be just as good at defensive tackle. Pittsburgh appears to be the leader with Penn State probably second. Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame are some of his other offers. MICHIGAN
6. **** Mark Webb, Archbishop Wood Catholic HS (Warminster) WR- Good size at 6’2″ and 195 pounds with the frame to add more size. Has steadily been on the rise with impressive camp performances. At one point he seemed like he was destined for Penn State, but Georgia may lead now. Alabama and North Carolina are also heavily involved. GEORGIA
7. **** C.J. Thorpe, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) OG- Short and stocky at 6’3″ and 320 pounds, but has good feet for his size. He could also move over to DT if he doesn’t pan out on offense. Has committed to PENN STATE.
8. **** Josh Lugg, North Allegheny HS (Wexford) OT- At 6’7″ and 290 pounds he has great length, and he also moves very well. However he appears to be this year’s candidate for overrated PA lineman that national recruiting services do every year. At least for now since Lugg has yet to perform at a high level. He does have great natural attributes, though, so that still may come. Has committed to NOTRE DAME.
9. **** Kurt Hinish, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) DT- Probably the biggest surprise prospect of the season because nobody expected him to get the attention that he has. But he’s a solid 6’2″ and 285 pounds, and he moves well for his size. Has already committed to NOTRE DAME.
10. **** Kenny Robinson, University Prep HS (Pittsburgh) LB- Maybe the most under recruited prospect in the state, but that’s often the case when you play in Pittsburgh’s City League. At 6’3″ and 205 pounds he has a strong, athletic frame to go with his good speed and quickness. When it all comes together for him he could be a special player. It’s believed that Pittsburgh is the strong leader. WEST VIRGINIA
So – one out of 10 blue chip players decided on Pitt after we were very much in the race for two more. What hurts even worse is that three of the 10 were Pittsburgh Central Catholic players and committed elsewhere way early in the process.
1. **** Phil Jurkovec, Pine-Richland HS (Gibsonia) QB- Started as a sophomore last year and already dominated. At 6’5″ and 190 pounds he has the frame, and if that’s not enough he’s a big time athlete. Could be the national No. 1 QB in the class. Committed to NOTRE DAME.
2. **** Micah Parsons, Central Dauphin HS (Harrisburg) DE- Already 6’3″ and 235 pounds and he’s still going to fill out a lot over the next two years. Big time rush end that could be the top DE in the country for the class. Committed to PENN STATE.
3. **** Isheem Young, Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia) FS- Currently just 5’10” and 180 pounds, but he hasn’t started his junior season yet so he still has a lot of time to grow. Plays like a high school version of Ed Reed with great range and hard hits. Pitt, Penn State, Florida State, Alabama, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina are some of his very early offers. Strong PSU lean (95%) and Pitt isn’t in top five.
4. **** Kwantel Raines, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) S- Already 6’3″ and 190 pounds so he may eventually grow into a linebacker, but wherever he ends up he has a chance to be the next great Quip thanks to his speed, athleticism, size, and toughness. Pitt has to be considered a major player because of the connection between the schools.
5. **** Matthew Bauer, Cathedral Prep HS (Erie) LB- Typically tough PA linebacker that flies all over the field and makes great hits. Has the frame to add to his 6’2″ and 200 pounds. He seems destined for Penn State. NOTRE DAME
6. **** Zack Kuntz, Camp Hill HS (Camp Hill) TE- Very skinny at 210 pounds and because he’s 6’7′ that means he has a lot of weight to put on. Despite doing well as a track performer he’s not highly explosive and he has to learn to be a tight end since he’s more of a wide receiver now. These reasons are why I have him a little lower than others. But 6’7″ is still 6’7″ so if it all comes together down the road, look out. PENN STATE
7. **** Darryle Simmons, St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia)- Already a very immersive 6’2″ and 200 pounds with good speed and athleticism. Early offers include Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland, There will be many more. VIRGINIA TECH
8. *** Kevin Doyle, Malvern Prep (Malvern) QB- Currently a solid 6’3″ and 190 pounds but he needs to get stronger, including arm strength. But he has a lot to work with including accuracy and very good mobility in the pocket. Has early offers from Pitt, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Kentucky, among others. 57% PITT at this time, but we just had Nick Patti commit to us – doubt we’ll take two QBs but who knows…
9. *** Shaquon Anderson-Butts, Harrisburg HS (Harrisburg) WR- Explosive and speedy at 6’0″ and 160 pounds. Early offers include Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, and Rutgers. No sites show a Pitt offer…
10. *** David Green, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) DE- Already a very solid 6’2″ and 250 pounds so he may grow into a defensive tackle. Very athletic and tough. Has the potential to move way up in the rankings. West Virginia and Iowa State are his first two big offers.
So we pretty much have been striking out of the best 2018 in-state talent also to this point. We very much want S Kwantel Raines to come aboard as his work might be needed as early as his freshman year next season.
Now lets jump back to our 2016 rankings…
Now hold on – we did get three more high-ranking players within the next five slots:
Bottom line for me? These have been average type recruiting classes so far and will be good for playing at the level we are now – but for us to really get this program moving upward the word “PITT” has to show up next to a lot more blue chip players’ names staring with the rest of the 2018 class.
Here are two articles about the age-old problem of how to attract more fans and alumni to Heinz Field for the Pitt home games… good luck with that. It is a recurring problem but AD Lyke has changed things up a bit to allow alumni who just graduated a discounted rate on season tickets.
… And some interesting news about our WR Jester Weah being named the #4 WR in the ACC for 2018. Interesting because his 24.22 yards per catch was over five (5!) whole yards better than the #2 guy, Miami’s WR Ahmmon Richards’ 19.06.
As Rodney Dangerfield says “We don’t get no respect!”.
From the POV’s Politically Incorrect Vault; here is a blast from the past: