You can follow the individual signings here on Pitt’s website. Let’s hope they all change from “committed” to “signed” today.

211 thoughts on “PITT’s Early LOI Signing Day

  1. There are some solid kids here but I just don’t see any one or two recruits that get me overly excited.

    As always these kids will be a wait two years and see class. However we need help on offense right away, especially if Pickett goes down, expecting Patti to contribute in his first year, even in relief, is a bit much.

    Pickett obviously had the talent to do so, but he’s a special case. My problem is I am completely unimpressed with the two transfer QBs Narduzzi’s just signed for depth.


    1. Your are correct Reed. I’ll wait for your eye test on the JC QBs and Patti.

      Good programs, that aren’t Alabama like, develp players over two or three years. We need to see some results this year!


  2. You better watch out
    You better not cry
    You better not pout
    I’m telling you why
    Patti is coming to town
    Patti is coming to town
    Nick Patti is coming to town
    He’s made a list
    He’s checked twice
    Found out Pitt’s not naughty but nice
    Patti is coming to town
    Patti is coming to town
    Nick Patti is coming to town

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Comment heard on new LOI day. The recruits in most demand will wait till next go around. Not sure of that myself.


    1. I would wait. Heck in the microcosm that is my daughter’s high school, there are freshman with multiple offers. If you have folks fawning over you for 4 years why not wait until the last minute to get the best deal, Once you sign your freedom is gone. They own you.


      1. Easy decision to wait if you have Jamison Winston type talent, but if you’re a “middle of the pack’ type recruit who is happy with his verbal, waiting only gets you “left out” potentially.


      2. If I was a 2-3 star guy I’d sign now. If you hold out maybe Narduzzi fills your spot and no longer needs you. Also, if you’re sure you want to come here, sign now as a signal to other recruits that the future is improving at Pitt.

        I would only wait if I was a top 3 star or 4 star guy waiting for a big boy offer. But if you haven’t received a real offer from them by now, it’s not coming unless they lost someone late and you’re only a late fill-in.


  4. Guys, my friend and a writer who I honestly consider the best at covering Pitt football bar none, Chris Peak, has written a book on the great Panther 13-9 win over WVU back in 2007.

    Here is the link for buying it on Amazon (only $6.99 in paperback) and I just ordered a bunch myself.

    Hey, as we say we just can’t get enough of that game, can we? These will make for great late Christmas presents.



    1. I hope he spent a whole chapter on how the BE refs tried their best to get the hoopies the win. Not even guys Cook deny it. I heard Joe Starky talking about it the other day.


  5. Gee I could swear I saw someone predict Patti would not sign. lol.If you are going to stick your neck out like that at least man up when you are wrong.


    1. Look, I said that if Patti didn’t sign to keep an eye out because that could be trouble down the road. I never ‘predicted’ he wouldn’t sign… You need to read more carefully.

      Hell Titleman, you just can’t get anything right can you, no matter how hard you try to denigrate what I do or say you swing and miss.

      Look, you have had a stick up your ass for years now about me for some reason, going back to when I was posting on the message boards. I have no idea why you do and I suppose I must have offended you at some point.

      I absolutely don’t mind when someone disagree with my thoughts…that is exactly what this blog is built for…but you seem intent on personally insulting me with every one of your posts. I get that you dislike me and believe me that is perfectly fine with me. But I also know that you know and care a lot about Pitt football and have strong opinions on that subject.

      So, instead of pointing your negative writing at me all the time, how about sharing your thoughts on Pitt football itself so we have more things to talk about during the off-season?

      But either way I’d appreciate it if you didn’t clutter up the comments section with personal vendetta stuff – it draws away from the other readers’ and commenters’ enjoyment on here.

      My email is clearly shown on this blog. If you have these problems with me then use it, or I’ll be at the LOI DAY festivities in Feb and we can discuss this in person.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I wonder how many will enroll early now that they have signed on. But I suppose the reality of doing that is they have to prepare for that pretty far in advance for academic reasons.


    1. The JC transfers, QB Ricky Town as well as the OL transfer Chase Brown should both enroll soon. That’s good on both guys since we have no depth now at QB and Brown just might challenge for playing time on the OL with the people that we lost on the line.


  7. FYI, here is my direct quote about Patti from yesterday … “I was thinking about the Feb LOIDay, not the early… And I didn’t say he wouldn’t sign, just to keep an eye on him.”

    Meaning that if he didn’t sign today there would be some questions asked about his intent.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Note there are likely 4 or 5 open schollies even if Town and a WR sign for Feb. I was listening to XM84 yesterday and it was mentioned that the double signing day may help the non-elite schools since the elite schools will insist that either sign now or hit the road. Plus, there a handful of late bloomers who had really good senior years and were bypassed by the elites who already had most of their commits by last summer.

    Not sure how much sense it makes but guess it can’t hurt our cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it’s not personal. This is a format for discussion and disagreement. Sometimes, we all get too passionate … but on the other hand, many times this site works very well IMO.

      Heck, if all posters here agreed with Reed, then this site would be pretty boring


  9. Patti is a great get. He keeps marching up the Rivals list (#20 now) and has passed Doyle for instance.. His tape looks strong and he seems to have some of the same attributes as Pickett. Plus he was in some tough games this year (playing high level competition in NJ) and showed some real grit… I think we might be impressed with him down the road..


      1. Reed you have a good reason to fear because Narduzzi will not want to use Patti for the same reasons he didn’t want to use Pickett last year. Thus we will all have to watch Town fail before he even considers using Patti(his second best option).


        1. Nor should he….I think Town will work out better than Browne. He’s more mobile (and he’s going to need to be)


          1. Keep in mind your talking about a second string QB at Ventura CC. Now maybe both were 5 star players and he just lost out to a 5 star plus.


    1. I totally agree with you PE. That kid wants to get better every day. He studies some of the best QBs in the NFL and wants to learn many of their best attributes and incorporate them into his playing style. He busted out last season and has continued with this one as well. That dude has strong arm for sure and quite accurate to boot.


  10. Recruiting, coaching, maturing, assimilating, etc. make up the team product. A little luck helps.

    One last Steeler note, Steelers lost because they could not would not cover Gronk.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. They also lost because they didn’t plan well during the replay review and Ben made two poor decisions on second and third downs.

        On second down the 3 yard completion to DHB was not going to help since the Steelers were out of timeouts and could use the space inside the 10 for pass routes. DHB took that pass near the numbers with a defender coming toward him. Little chance of him making it out of bounds.

        On 3rd down throw it away if it’s not there. Besides, it’s not like Ben was under real duress despite taking a two step drop. The linemen were all more or less standing around.


        1. Yet again Barvo is spot on. You call the next 2 plays during the review. Tomlin never prepared. Took him 7 years to play man to man. Belicheck always prepared.


          1. I actually agree here. I thought they should have been prepared for all scenarios as I was watching it. Big Ben is a very good QB, Haley is a very good OC, and IMO even Tomlin gets way too much flack … but they should definitely had been 2 plays called in the huddle


          2. Agree with Barvo and UPitt. Ben, Haley and Tomlin should have been discussing what to do if the play got overturned during the long replay delay instead of thinking about dinner plans. Truisms: Tomlin will ALWAYS get outcoached by Belicheck, Roethlisberger will never throw the ball away, and SOP will never die.


        2. They also lost because on their 2nd to last offensive possession they couldn’t get a couple 1st downs which would have sealed the win. They made the to stupid decision to play Wannyball on that possession and the possession before that.

          You can’t play Wannyball and beat NE. How these dolts don’t know that by now is amazing. They must have missed last year’s Super Bowl and Brady’s whole QB career….


    1. Villanueva’s back to back penaltes on the Steeler’s next to last drive killed the momentum and gave Brady the ball back with 2:00 to work with.


  11. Looks like we’ve finally recruited a REAL Linebacker. I like this Wendell Davis kid from Richmond

    A two-time All-Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) selection at linebacker…was a four-year varsity letterman and three-year starter at Benedictine…helped the Cadets to four VISAA Division I playoff berths, three state title games and two state championships…as a senior, compiled 52 tackles, 14 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles…rated the No. 18 overall prospect in Virginia by 247Sports, No. 22 by Rivals and No. 23 by ESPN…played under Coach Greg Lilly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Emel. It’s nice that he played LB in high school and is not a convert from WR, Safety or other position in college. LB is an instinctual position and it takes some time to develop the instincts… Sounds like this kids is well on his way in that development process.

      I’d like to see one more solid LB in this class.


        1. yes,, and thus far the most heralded of the group (McKee) seems to be a bust. Bright redshirted, Pine and Reynolds has shown promise in their RS FR years and Brightwell played out of position.

          BTW, Pine played DE and QB (not making this up ) in HS … and only played part time at LB


        2. Idowu played RB, WR, DB and a little LB in high school. Ziese was a WR and also DB with a little LB. Both were starters for Pitt in 2017. Neither played instinctual (IMO) in their first years (Idowu looked lost in 2016 but was better in 2017). They are both improving and should be good once they gain the experience to play without thinking as much.

          Brightwell was an LB though he was an OLB that is playing MLB. We haven’t seen McKee and for some reason I believe that he was a safety in HS, but I’m probably wrong. Reynolds has looked good so far. I hear that Pine has got the physical traits etc.


        3. Chase Pine will be a good one. Sorry that we lost Pugh, he got moved to DE in error IMO. He was LB material.


    2. Emel – he’s a local kid and I’ve seen him. He’s good and has flown a bit under the radar – the Catholic schools down here don’t ordinarily draw the top kids the way they do in NJ, Philly, Pgh and Ohio.


    3. Narduzzi will make him a DE or he’ll blow his knee out in his 2nd game. We’re not allowed to have great LB. It’s in the NCAA rules somewhere….


  12. Surprised the TE didn’t sign with Patti his QB. Still with the expected WR that is 16 with room for 4 more is the guess. I do think next year recruits will not be a quick to sign and give up options for additional offers. Alaimo is not signed and the scuttlebutt is either Rutgers is strong or he is being told to wait by a big time program. In any event Pitt is good at TE but a bummer it probably cost TJ Banks as a potential recruit.


  13. For those hung up on ratings, here are ratings of some Steelers coming out of high school:
    Ben Rothlsberger not rated
    Antonio Brown not rated
    LeVeon Bell 2
    Jesse James 3
    David DeCastro 3
    Bud Dupree 3
    Javon Hargrave not rated
    In total, the Steelers had 0 5stars,6 4stars,7 3stars,and 9 players less than 3stars on the starting 22 as of 1/20/17..
    Perhaps we should not be so pessimistic about a recruiting class loaded with high 3 stars and assume that the coaching staff knows something about evaluating talent.


    1. Yes and Brown ended up being a 6th round pick. Apparently draft ratings shouldn’t matter either. I am sure the NFL will see the folly soon enough. However I don’t know what ESPN will talk about during bowl games and program during the succeeding four months leading up to the draft.

      The player ratings are guidance for people to use. Composite ratings are even better guidance. However none of it is a guarantee of success or failure and that’s why more high stars are better. It’s all about probability. In the end all but the total athletic freaks need to motivated, continue to improve their skills and conditioning, and be coached up.

      There’s nothing wrong with being critical of the players or overall class rankings. It’s generally the only seemingly objective yardstick available (not handpicked Hulu and Youtube highlights) to most fans for many of these recruits. However that criticism should always be tempered by what the individual rankings truly are and can ultimately prove to be very wrong for particular players.

      It’s also important to get the right mix of players in order to fill projected needs 2-3 years out. This had been expressed earlier in this thread.


  14. I wonder if there has ever been a challenge by a kid who signed a LOI and fought it in court to get out of it,


    1. sure there were … but there were extenuating circumstances … it rarely gets to a court level, but it’s happened


    2. LOIs are not all that binding actually – usually the kid, his parents and the school work something out if the recruit doesn’t want to be there …but if they don’t nothing says the kid HAS to go to that school – but once they sign the LOI they can’t play at another D1 school for the full year.

      “Susan Peal, the N.C.A.A.’s director of the national letter of intent, or N.L.I., said athletes could ask for a release through the university’s athletic director if they want out of the agreement. She said 96 to 98 percent of the athletes who asked for a release were granted one. Peal said that there were approximately 42,000 athletes who signed letters each year in all sports and that typically only 2 percent asked to get out of them.

      If an athlete signs the letter and is not granted a release, he or she can go to another school and be on scholarship and practice, but the athlete cannot compete for one year, leaving three years of eligibility.”


  15. Re: Gronk – I keep my fingers crossed that Coach Peterson is able to get the OL into decent working order so that we can have the luxury of actually having the TEs go out into passing routes for Pickett to throw to.

    Pitt offenses have always been at their best when we have the TEs as an integral part of it as opposed to keeping them on the LOS and making them the 6th OL.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ll take a high 3 star
    but the coaching staff needs to know how to coach, motivate and develop these kids
    as well as placing them in the right positions at the right time to fully reach their potential and succeed.


      1. O’Neill was a 3 star. Pickett was a 3 star. Brightwell was a 3 star. Ollison was a 3 star. Weah was a 3 star. Henderson was a 3 star. Orndoff was a 3 star. Maddox was a 3 star.


          1. Most of your list played like a 3 Star. Henderson exception 1 year. O’neil played better than a 3 Star. Picket early but should outplay a 3 star. Maddox played at a 3 star level or below and Oillison had 1 good year.


    1. According to 247 and the Post-Gazette 20 of 21 for PSU signed with 21st not expected to do so. Rivals must be outdated


  17. BTW – I am drafting Pitt BB threads for the remainder of the season – sorry for missing the last few. This way everyone gets a chance to talk about something else every so often.

    I am scheduling them so they publish two hours before tip-off so you can get your pre-game predictions in also.


  18. This will be a little long – so please forgive me. It is for all the “Debbie downers” out there who think the sky is falling because of poor recruiting.

    Here is a possible future lineup. It is plausible. It relies primarily on the rankings out of HS. As such it may be in error in a couple of spots.


    S: Ford 6.0 Hamlin 5.9
    DB: DeMarri 5.7 Williams 5.7
    LB: Brightwell 5.6 Pine 5.6 Miller 5.6
    DL: Pugh 5.8 Danielson 5.7 Watt 5.8 Morgan 5.7


    WR: Flowers 5.8 New Guy (Louis) 5.7
    RB: Davis 5.8
    QB Pickett 5.5 or Patti 5.7
    TE: Reeves 5.8 Alaimo 5.7
    OL: Warren 5.7 Hargrove 5.6 Kradel 5.7 Zubs 5.7 Drake 5.5

    Lets compare with Alabams’s starters this year (I only did offense):

    WR: 6.1 6
    RB: 6.1
    QB: 5.8
    TE: 5.7 5.8
    OL: 6.1 5.8 5.8 6 5.6

    Pitt’s D Averages about 5.75 or roughly 4 stars

    Pitt;s O Averages about 5.7 or just below Rivals 4 star cutoff

    Alabama O Averages 5.89 or well into 4 star terrirory.

    Note for this exercise I used Patti’s score (cuz its higher). I used Drake’s score though I don’t believe it. Drake had offers from everyone including Alabama. ESPN rated him as 4 stars. But I had to be consistent. I also assume Alaimo will eventually sign with Pitt and the other receiver 24/7 rates as likely to sign with Pitt will do so.

    The point – the current recruiting is pretty good. The team listed above has the potential to win many games and be competitive against most top 25 teams. Will Flowers be a bust – who knows… Will Reeves ever live up to the hype – can’t say. But based on the reported potential of these kids (as documented by Rivals) this is a solid team that on any given Saturday might pull an upset over Miami or Clemson or WVU.

    I am thinking we are doing OK given the structural problems Pitt Football faces….


    1. As Reed pointed out, it’s proven that the 5 stars and 4 stars are likely to be more successful than the 2 and 3 stars. However, also pointed out is the fact that teams like Wisconsin, TCU and Mich St can do very well with mostly 3 stars. It’s matter of (1) recognizing potential (2) developing the players, and (3) getting recruits that fit your system …. for example, Wisconsin’s OL would never fit into a Ok State system (and visa versa)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree in the main… but there are marked differences in those programs you mention above that Dokish referenced in his article about how recruiting stars don’t matter. Pitt is not Wisconsin, TCU, Michigan state, Boise State or any other program. We scramble for decent recruits because of the bigger schools in close proximity like OSU, PSU, WVU, Michigan, etc… swoop down and get most of the blue chip kids in our backyard and in WPA.

        We do not have anywhere near the administrative & football coaching continuity those Dokish referenced schools do – we don’t pay as much in salary and in football support and we don’t have anywhere the institutional nor local populace support wherein those schools are the primary sports show in town.

        Here are those programs HC salaries in 2017:

        TCU – Gary Patterson – $5.1M base ? Buyout
        MSU – Mark Dantonio – $4.4M base with a $7M buyout Clause
        Wisconsin – Paul Chryst – $3.2M base with $4M buyout

        …and you know the salaries for the staff FB coaches are commiserate. Only Boise State with Chris Peterson and now Brian Harsin does more with less than we pay Pitt’s HC. But those are very good HCs.

        Narduzzi was raised from $1.8M to about $2.5M (I believe and it may even be less) and I have heard the buyout is minimal comparatively.

        The bottom line is that at Pitt we desperately need star players (4* and 5* recruits) to really help carry the team. We are not strong in top-to-bottom of the two deep as those other schools are and we don’t develop the 3* kids anywhere like they do either.

        And we are not getting nearly enough of the blue chip recruits under Pat Narduzzi. Really – if he gets shut out in this class he’ll have only eight 4* kids spread out over three recruiting classes – and one of those classes had five of them. So three other 4*s sprinkled over the other two years. Any wonder why we won only five games last year?

        Success on the field and with ‘growing’ lower rated recruits into star players truly has to be a main matter of importance to the University and that trickles down both emotionally and financially thru the AD to the HC to the football staff and then throughout the roster. That is not the case at Pitt – sorry, it just isn’t.

        Look back in Pitt’s modern history’s team when we had the best records- especially in DW’s years. The lineup had many 4* and some 5* kids throughout the starting lineups and…Hey Presto – we won more games.

        Personally I just do not think Pat Narduzzi and his choices for his staff coaches are talented enough to take a roster full of 3* kids and get 9, 10 wins or championship winning teams out of them. I just don’t and I think we see another down year in 2018 because of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’re missing the point of this analysis (and that’s all it is – a paper study). If I analyzed Pitt’s CURRENT starting lineup the numbers would be worse. Dane Jackson, Shannon Roy. Wirginis (who was supposed to start at LB), etc., have very mediocre Rivals projections. You can love or hate Narduzzi but, on balance, his recruiting has been OK. The notional lineup above (and that’s all it is – notional) suggests that there is more raw material in the pipeline. Can he unlock that – I simply am skeptical at this point. I love his fire and it does amp up the team every now and then. But look at Belicheck – he doesn’t need the histrionics to get his team to perform. He out- tactics every other coach out there. I despair that PN will ever have THAT type of skill…


  19. One more thing … 4 and 5 stars almost always have the great physical traits you look for. Shayne Hale, Flowers (who is 6’4 and athletic), Reeves, etc. However, I vividly remember reading when Q Henderson committed that only reason he was a 3 star was due to his size …. and IMO that was pretty prophetic.

    Aaron Donald actually was a ? for the pros …. why, because he is only 6’1


  20. @ Reed – I get that you are a skoach nervous about the backup qb position going into next year. I don’t really understand why however. The two back-ups would have been Ben Dinucci and T MacVittie. Ben is a known commodity. He would make me nervous if he stayed and was the backup, wouldn’t you agree.

    The new QB’s are unknowns, which is sometimes better than the “knowns”. We can debate about all the possibilities, but at the end of the day, we would have had backups that shouldn’t be playing on a D1 level. Move to the next guy and see what he does or doesn’t show. It’s a crapshoot with the unknowns, but I would rather shoot for the stars than crap the bed with what we already have. Just my opinion.


    1. it’s all a crapshoot. I think Town has better physical traits than DiNucci .. stronger arm and better runner … but that doesn’t necessarily mean a better QB. We’ll see


    2. No – I don’t agree. You need experience at the back up QB position. No one expects that guy to be a star play and DiNucci wasn’t – but he threw for over 1000 yards (56% rate) with five TDs and won two games under center. While our new guys have done absolutely nothing at this level yet.

      Look – I wrote and meant that Ben DiNucci wasn’t ever going to be a starting QB at this level. I never said I had a big problem with him as a back-up and truth be told I would much rather prefer he was here in case a QB2 is needed rather than these two new kids.

      Same with when Voytik took off after the 2015 season – wouldn’t you had rather had him behind Peterman rather than a FR Ben DiNucci?

      I think it will come back to bite us in the ass big time if Pickett goes down for any length of time.


      1. Town has experience, just not here. If he comes in early that’s not a problem IMO.

        Pitt football is an entertainment medium. I would much rather watch if Town comes in than the Nooch. If Pickett was out for long or out for the season, I would turn my interests to the Pens or Steelers. The Nooch will never be better than he is now.


  21. I will reserve the final thinking on this class until February. Pitt has surprise or two each year in recruiting. I like this class as it reminds me of the first full time class HCPC brought in. Good size guys with good skill. One class can’t address everything, but it does help in OL, DL, speed and QB is a nice get. .


    1. actually, we should reserve thinking until 2 or 3 years from now. Did we think a year ago at this time that Pickett was going to be this good? Yet, Reeves who nearly has Gronk’s size and maybe a tad faster, remains an unknown commodity


      1. Agree, this is what you can or should reasonably expect/hope for in this class given the measurements. Guys that can play well to very well in 2-3 years, especially with the emphasis on linemen.


      2. I liked Pickett as soon as I viewed his HS highlight films. Not sure when that was but it about the time he enrolled in January. If he stays healthy he will make a few of our less than exciting receivers once again exciting.


  22. I think this is a decent class.
    Not spectacular, but several recruits should be able to contribute in significant ways.
    Its up to coaching at this point.


  23. My bad….with regard to the questions about the Hurleys and all the other “big time” bball coaches that should have taken the job, we must remember that it is a two way street.

    When your prior head coach won as many games as JD and the coach gets forced out, the position becomes harder to fill because the expectations are high. Add to that an AD at the time that did not have any cache’ and you have a recipe for a coaching hire disaster. You get what you pay for. Admiistrative incompetence has long lasting effects to an organizations culture.

    At some point, we will get the brand correct, which is Pitt, not Pittsburgh! And our colors! That should be front and center.

    Not many national articles on adding the 10th coach yet. I have been out of the country and probably missed a lot, but I think our class right now is solid. Not great, but solid. Any one of the kids can be great, but our culture holds many back.


  24. from Narduzzi’s presser:

    Brian Batko@BrianBatko
    Pat Narduzzi at the podium: “We expect maybe to get one more [signee] later this afternoon, so stay by your phones, don’t have a holiday drink.


  25. Rankings aren’t all that. Clemson for instance is ranked at 19th but it is because they only have 13 commitments. They a have a 5 star qb, great!!! Always tell the full story and not just 1/2, because half of the word full is…..well, ummm, I’ll just move on.

    Kind of a cool day. Not sure Narduzzi will give up on the NJ TE yet. In my opinion we are covered at TE with Clarke, Reeves and Sear. Reeves will be a superstar like Eric Green was for the steelers a few years back.

    Carrigan to me goes to tackle.


  26. Narduzzi stated that the JUCO OL Chase Brown will enroll in January – so that’s a plus in an area of need

    if nothing else — a big body 6’6 310 who is a little more mature (hopefully)


  27. Going to be quite an interesting 2018 shaping up for the Panthers. Looking forward to all the fun. I really hope Alaimo commits- he looks like he could be a good one. Position of need is WR who is a deep threat. maybe that happens tonight. We look to have a QB who is the real deal. Fingers are crossed.


  28. Any RBs being recruited for the final few spots? I see no RBs in the current list of early commits.

    How about speed? Any of the early DBs or the one WR have above average speed?


      1. Fair enough. I figured that we would want to carry five or six RBs. Maybe next year we’ll recruit a couple/three and it may be an easier sell with the gap year in between recruiting classes.


      2. If not a priority it should be since I don’t believe any of the ones listed has the speed to get to the outside and turn the corner. That’s why they wanted that VT recruit Beck so badly IMO.


  29. Pitt Football Coach Pat Narduzzi: Signing Day Press Conference

    December 20, 2017

    LINK: Pat Narduzzi Press Conference – Signing Day


    Head Coach Pat Narduzzi – Full transcript available below


    Linebackers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Rob Harley

    Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson

    Defensive Line Coach Charlie Partridge

    Offensive Line Coach John Peterson

    PAT NARDUZZI: I guess the first of the signing period of the 2018 class had some great times in the meeting room today just talking with family and parents and obviously the student-athlete. Really excited about the class we have coming in. I think everybody gets excited when they come in. There’s still a ton of work to do. It’s a process. This is just a step — the first step to the process of getting here, now there’s a lot of learning for them to go through. Some guys will be rated here, and I don’t know where all the stars are. Chris does all those things. We just look for players on tape, but there’s a lot of development that still needs to go into these individuals, and again, as you guys know, there’s high expectations at the University of Pittsburgh for where we want to go, and these guys are a big part of it. We’re excited to have them in today.

    Let me give you some quick facts with the class so far. We’ve got 15 signees as you probably saw on your sheet, and I don’t want to bore you with some of the things that are on there. You guys can read it and type it and do those things.

    But we expect maybe to get one more later this afternoon, so stay by your phones. Don’t have a holiday drink, and by the way, happy holidays to everybody in here. Usually don’t get to do this this early, but 15 signees and give me hope if we’re lucky enough, fortunate enough to get another one. Of those 15 signees, I think it’s always interesting that 14 of them were captains. Fourteen captains, which gives you a little bit of leadership and different level leadership. We’ve got to step it up to the next level, but different leaders there.

    Six on offense, nine on defense as far as what we got, and again, some of those guys are multiple athletes that can go both sides of the ball. As you know, we’ll play them on both sides of the ball and we’ll coach them on both sides of the ball.

    Fourteen of the 15 are from the East Coast, from the ACC or Atlantic Coast area. We got one from the California area in Ricky Town. Two junior college prospects as well as one transfer, I guess. We got three mid-year players that will be here in January, be moving into their dorms. If you guys are interested in hanging out by the dorms someday, but they’ll be moving in in January for classes. A quarterback obviously was a huge need and one that we worked hard at getting, and two offensive linemen which we’ll get some great development there.

    We’ve got guys from eight different states in this class. We first, as you guys know, try to hit our backyard and try to get whatever we can get out of the Pennsylvania area, Pittsburgh area, get into Ohio, Jersey, Maryland, D.C. area, but as it goes, we got six kids from Pennsylvania, five from the Western Pennsylvania area, two Maryland kids from the same high school in DeMatha. Great high school down in Maryland; if there’s a place to get them, that’s where you want to go. Two from Florida, and again, we may get some more from down there as January moves on. We got one from New Jersey in Nick Patti. We got an Ohio player, Tyler Bentley. One from Virginia, Wendell Davis; Cameron O’Neil from Alabama and then one of the final ones here, Ricky Town, we were able to land.

    As far as just our needs, I think as news people you’re always looking at what do they need, and we’re also kind of like the NFL, we’re going to take the best available out there. As time goes on, you start to look at what’s available, do we get our needs, what do we actually need, but we ended up getting, where it starts, seven power guys. It starts up front, so out of that 15, seven of them are the big dudes that will create power up front, and it starts up there with the O-line and the D-line. We’ve got two big skill guys. I think when you look at our backfield, you look at the guys that we have running the football. You look at our linebackers, we got a lot of guys that you haven’t seen on tape yet. We felt pretty good there, so we didn’t think we had a huge need for the big skill guys, unless it was best available.

    And then we ended up really getting six skill guys, receiver, DB, quarterback type guys that are important.

    You know, just to talk briefly just about the class itself, December 1st or — December signing, first time that we’ve had to do it at that time, and it’s always a learning curve with it. But overall, as a head coach, you look at the first time going through this December period, it’s always interesting. I think there’s good things and bad things about it. For our coaching staff to be able to relax during the holidays and know that we’re pretty much through, there will be still some work to do. We’re still going to go out there — there’s always change going on, and we’ll find out who’s on side, and we still have a couple needs, some leftover scholarships that we’ll be looking to fill, so we’ll continue there.

    But I’m sure you guys will have questions about the December signing. One of the biggest things you see when you go through this early signing is where do you go. There’s still some homes that I have not been in yet. I think that’s one of the negatives. We try to pick and choose where I needed to go. There’s a strategy to where you go. But whether it’s a hometown kid or going down to Florida or Georgia, wherever it may be, we try to strategically plan where we go and how we do that, but I think that’s a hard thing when you don’t have the entire month. Never have I gotten to a signing day where I wasn’t in the kid’s house, so you had to feel pretty good about who that guy was, and we did, and there will be some longer home visits in January with those guys really to make up for it, and we’ve had those conversations as we’ve gone through.

    I think the quality of student-athlete that we’ve got coming in maybe is as fine a class as we’ve brought in just academically speaking, just the social, the families. I can’t say enough about the families and the homes we’ve been in, the kids that have been on campus. We’ve got a great group of kids and support around them, so I think we’re really good as far as that goes.

    I want to say thank you to a bunch of people, and there will be a lot of people I’ll forget, but it starts off with just all the high school coaches out there that helped us with this signing class, all the administrators, all the principals that we walked in and bugged them. You know, you ring that bell at all the high schools and they let you in, and coach, where are you from, can sign in here, can I get you a badge, all those people that have to put up with us coming into those schools. I thank all of them to start off with.

    I thank our class, the kids that trusted in what we’re doing, had the faith in who we are as people, and it comes down to relationships and recruiting, and we talk a lot about that, and the guys that signed with us value relationships and maybe some of the ones that didn’t don’t value those as much. We’re okay with that. But I want to thank those.

    Our coaching staff and all their families with all the sacrifices they give up to sign these guys to be in their homes, to be away from their families so long, to Heather Lyke and Christian Spears and our entire athletic department so involved in our recruiting process. Usually we’re on our little island, we’re bringing them in and every once in a while, hey, can you maybe talk to a kid here. But every day these guys were there. Heather spearheaded — she started the weekend off on a Friday just talking to the parents about college life and what she expects from these players and their families as the process goes on, so I thank Heather for that, and Christian came on Saturday and did a great job, and Penny and all our academic staff and Mike and Tanaya and Keith and John all do a great job.

    All our — probably the key to the whole thing is our current players, all our hosts. Every weekend those guys will — on a Friday and Saturday night sacrifice their time to get around these kids, and I think they enjoy it to be honest with you because they’re really trying to find out who they are. We investigate our hosts to find out, hey, what did you think of this guy, does he fit in, do you like him, and I think those are all important things. But I thank those guys for taking the time to do that because I know they have a busy schedule.

    Last guy really to thank is Mark Harding up in admissions. He does a great job with our kids when we bring them in, and he’s done that for two years. He does an incredible job with them.

    With that, I’m just going to quickly, quickly, and I know you guys have questions, hit some of our guys here alphabetically. First one is Tyler Bentley from Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio, right outside of Cincinnati. We’ve wanted this guy for a long time. We really called him all year. He was committed to another institution, and we stayed on him to our benefit. We thought he was a big, athletic guy that would help us on the D-line, and we just stayed persistent. Could never get him on campus all summer, couldn’t get him to camp, couldn’t get him here. Finally got him here for an official visit. We’re happy to have Tyler with us.

    Chase Brown, a very athletic offensive tackle, mature. He had some maturity. He’ll be here mid-year with us, but he’s a big, athletic guy that is going to come in and have a chance to compete immediately mainly because he’s coming in mid-year.

    V’Lique Carter from Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida, again, a guy that was committed to another institution, athletic. Again, I could probably say that about every one of these or we wouldn’t recruit him. But a playmaker, a guy that — a funny story about him is it was probably hard to get him up here, and again, I don’t give our coaches enough credit for what they do, but I know Coach Partridge was heavy on this guy, but I don’t know if we would have got him up here. I think he had reservations on the plane coming up on the trip, like what am I doing. But I think the Fort Pitt Tunnel, when he came through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and bang, Pittsburgh hit him, I think that’s really what sold him, so V’Lique from Oxbridge Academy, we’re happy to have him.

    Devin Danielson, Thomas Jefferson, Pittsburgh guy. Coach Bill Cherpak obviously coached him, so we know we’ve got a former Pitt man that’s developed him, one of the best coaches in the area. But Devin is a guy that I have not been in his home yet. Looking forward to getting in there in January. He came to camp, had a dominant senior year. He’s physical, he’s tough, he’s everything you want in a defensive lineman.

    Wendell Davis, linebacker from Benedictine College in Virginia. He’s probably one of the quietest guys in our class. He will walk through the door and you’ll see one part of it, and then when he gets on the field the guy is like the Hulk, so he really turns it loose. But Wendell is a middle linebacker probably for us. I think he can play the money, and we’re looking forward to having him on campus here soon.

    Next one, David Green, Pittsburgh Central Catholic. He’s right out our back door here. Obviously Terry Totten is his coach, and we’re happy to have another Central Catholic football player in our program, and this kid is a hard worker. I don’t care if it’s on the field, off the field. If you want to see all the Christmas tree decorations over at Kennywood, he’s probably over there working right now. He probably signed the papers and went to work, so he’s one of those blue collar Pittsburgh kids that is a worker, and again, on the field, off the field. We appreciate having him.

    Jake Kradel, again, a mid-year signee that was in camp. When I look back at our camps, Devin Danielson was in camp, Wendell Davis was in camp, David Green we had in camp, and Jake Kradel was in camp, so we certainly have some guys that we’ve seen physically do it on our fields out back, but Jake is, again, a mid-year guy that is a tough, physical guy, can run, and he’s a guy that’s loved Pittsburgh from the beginning. We appreciate his loyalty to us.

    Next guy, John Morgan, DeMatha Catholic High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is where he’s from. Again, as I said earlier, just one of the best high schools in the state of Maryland. Recruited a couple guys out of there in the past. John Morgan not only came to one camp but he came to two. He came back for more, and he looked better the second camp than he did the first camp, and we offered him off of his first camp, and he said, Coach, I want to come back for more, so that tells you where he is and what he’s all about. We’re looking forward to having John here.

    Cameron O’Neil is a guy we did not have in camp from Glenwood School in Alabama. He was a guy that came during the summer with mom and dad. Great people. That’s kind of what sold us on him. We watched his junior tape and loved it; we saw his senior tape, loved it more, and he’ll add to our receiver room as an athlete.

    Noah Palmer, again, another guy from Thomas Jefferson, so we pulled two from Coach Cherpak, a Jefferson Hill, PA, kid. Again, another guy that came to camp, put on a show for us, and again, is a Pitt man. Even though he hasn’t graduated yet, he is a Pittsburgh guy, and we’re glad to have him.

    Next guy, another DeMatha Catholic, another Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Judson Tallandier. Again, a big, long athlete, probably one of our taller corners, could be a free safety, play anywhere in the secondary probably. He’s athletic. We’ve had him in camp, saw how well he tested and ran, and we’re happy to have Judson here.

    The next guy, mid-year guy, late notice, as a matter of fact, we brought him in in the dark, no one knew he was coming I don’t think — Chris, did you know? We brought him in the dark, nobody knew. He was a surprise visit. We worked hard to get him here on campus. He actually left another visit to come on our visit, which I give him a lot of credit because that’s not easy to do, and as any kid we didn’t want him to do that, but with the late notice we had with a spot at the quarterback, it became almost a critical situation, and I don’t think we could have come through this thing any better than we did with Ricky. Haven’t been out to his house yet out in California, but we’ll get there in January. But he’s a guy that fits into our system. Almost speaks the same terms right now, and we’re looking forward to seeing him in early January.

    The next guy, again, Marquis Williams, a DB from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Pompano Beach, Florida. One of the two visitors during the season, and we’re not — we loved this kid; that’s why we let him come in during the season, but we’re not big into bringing guys on campus during the season, and again, there’s several reasons, but one of the main ones is the focus is not recruiting. I know I don’t do a good job of focusing on them because our focus is usually the guys that are sitting in this room in here, but we’ve got a game to play and our focus is locked into that. During the season I don’t really care, but this young man had to based on his playing schedule, his calendar, expected to get into the playoffs and go a long way there, so we visited him during the season, and I didn’t get to know him as much as I wanted to during the visit, but he’s a heck of a player. He’s a heck of a person. I know our coaches have been in his home, and I’m going to spend a lot of time with him in our visit in January.

    And then the last one, probably our best recruit, so I’ll save the best for last here, Blake Zubovic, big O-lineman from Belle Vernon, PA, Belle Vernon High School. Just a powerful, explosive guy that had a little ankle injury during his senior year that slowed him down just a little bit, then he came back hard and strong, but a great football player. And again, probably a guy that kept everything together with our recruiting class. When we’re watching ball, he’s on the outside recruiting, so he’s got a great personality and does a great job, and I said last, but I missed one, didn’t I, because I knew I did. I probably saved maybe the next best. When you talk leaders, when you talk leaders, probably one of our best leaders. He’s already shown a ton of leadership through the recruiting process, some of the messages and telephone calls I’ve had with this young man have been incredible, but a quarterback from St. Joe’s Regional in Westwood, New Jersey, Nick Patti is a tremendous football player. Reminds me a lot of a Kirk Cousins type guy. He’s going to be a special player for us. And again, he’s a true, true leader, and will be a future captain here without any question. I don’t have any doubt about it. That’s kind of what I’ve got. I’ll open it up for questions. I’m sure you’ve got a few.

    Q. I think you said two big skill guys [on defense]. Obviously, Wendell Davis would be one. Who would be the other one?
    PAT NARDUZZI: I’d say probably big skill, I counted him in there with John Morgan just being an athletic guy. I think he could be a standup linebacker, rush off the edge. I think John is the other one I counted in that big skill. He’s going to be an elite rusher off the edge. I think he’s going to be a force. Just really having him for two camps and some guys you see more than others, we were able to evaluate that guy, and I think he came back and learned some things on an unofficial visit, and he came back and worked with Coach Partridge for another camp. Then he took some of those things, he went home, he learned, he came back again, and he came back even better. It’s like, this guy is like a sponge picking up knowledge. So I think he’s a guy that can maybe put some pressure on quarterbacks in this conference.

    Q. You mentioned it was the first time for this process, first time for you guys, first time for recruits. Were there any surprises to you?
    PAT NARDUZZI: No, there were no surprises. I think there’s a lot of pressure on these kids. These are hard decisions, even for guys that it was easy. I talked to one that said ‘my mom was sweating this morning.’ It’s not easy. You feel like you’re signing a scholarship, but you feel like you’re signing your son away when a parent puts a signature down there, and you’d better be signing him to the right people. His mom was obviously really happy, but it’s like a big thing.

    I think there’s just not as much time for these young men to grow up and really think about it, and I would say, and you guys will figure it out, but I’d say 85 to 90 percent of the kids probably signed today. I think next year it’s going to be 100 percent. I think it’ll just be the new Signing Day unfortunately. I can’t say it’s a great thing. For me, I like it because we kind of can close the books on 15 guys or maybe hopefully another one tonight or something, but I think it’s good for that.

    But there’s a lot of pressure for these kids to make decisions, and we’re not one to ever pressure. When a kid walks in the door — that’s why we don’t have really any decommitments through really 10, 12 years of coaching and recruiting. Kids don’t decommit because you don’t pressure them. There’s always going to be that guy that is like, Coach, I think I want to come to Pitt. Well, think is not good enough. I don’t want a guy that thinks. I want a guy that knows, that’s going to blow through those doors if he’s got to knock the hinges off that door to get here and do it, and if you think — I’m not a guy saying, ‘hey, listen, you have to.’ Take your time. We’ve got another signing period down the road, and to be honest with you, the first Wednesday in February has always been a date that is not a three-day window; okay, it’s been a date that really goes until the end of March really. So there’s a month and a half that you can continue to think about it and go with it.

    Sometimes I think we push these kids, we push them on the field at a young age and we push them right through life, push them through college, graduate early, go to the NFL and go do this. Slow down, these are some of the best days of your life.

    Q. What did you think about Ricky Town in the recruiting process, and did he come on your radar before Ben DiNucci’s transfer or after?
    PAT NARDUZZI: He was on our radar because I think all good recruiting staffs and coaches kind of have it out there, but we really didn’t think we were going to lose two [quarterbacks]. We thought it was going to be one quarterback. Had discussions with both of them. Both of them I understand what they had to do, and we want the best for those guys because they’re great kids and great people, but we kind of didn’t think, probably until Thursday, okay, of that last weekend for recruiting that we were going to have a true need for a mid-year. At that point, the wheels started to turn, but we had a list. But you never investigate the list because you’re worried about the other list because you’ve got a lot of lists. We just — Coach Watson did a heck of a job, and Mike Perish, our offensive GA that works with the quarterbacks — did a heck of a job with our recruiting staff of just developing them, pulling them out and making a ton of phone calls to investigate. We can watch the videotape and we can pull it up there and watch the videotape, but it’s all the other things that you’re looking for that have to fit to make that quarterback room right. He fit in, period. I think he’ll walk in there and those guys are just going to be like, ‘this is another one of our guys, he’s been here for a while.’ It was a perfect fit. Didn’t take long to figure it out. I’m glad it didn’t take long because we didn’t have long. I think we brought him in late Saturday night, spent all day Sunday with him or most of the morning with him, and interviewed him really, brought him in without an offer, and didn’t take long for us to, over a Fathead’s cheeseburger, figure it out.

    Q. Your last game, you played your freshman quarterback and it looked like he sort of seized that opportunity. How do you approach it recruiting a guy who’s got two years to play? What’s the sales pitch, I guess?
    PAT NARDUZZI: Well, I mean, I think with anything, what makes your football team great is competition. If anybody is afraid of competition, then we’ve got problems. If you’re always looking like who’s that guy behind me, oh, no. Kenny [Pickett] is a competitor. I think Ricky is a competitor. I think Nick Patti is a competitor. We’ve got guys that want to compete. What you want at that quarterback spot is guys that want to compete. If you’re just going to stay the same and you want to be a backup, that’s great, but I want a guy that wants to push Kenny. Kenny is our starting quarterback right now, and Ricky is coming in to challenge for us and make him better, and it’s going to make everybody in this room a better person, a better coach, a better team. He’s a competitor, and we’re excited to get him here.

    Q. The kids who committed before today and didn’t sign with anybody, what’s your thought process on those guys?
    PAT NARDUZZI: You know what, it’s going to be reevaluated. There’s obviously some guys that were committed out there to schools all over the country. I don’t know how many. But my thing is I don’t want to put any pressure on anybody and say, ‘we’re not going to take you if you don’t sign.’ It’s got to be the right fit and it’s got to be for the right reason. But you can’t blame somebody for getting cold feet because it’s not easy. These kids, it’s not just them, okay, but they’ve got parents in their ears, they’ve got coaches, they’ve got trainers, they’ve got everybody. They’ve got the nurse. I mean, who knows who’s in the ear — the principal, assistant principal. There’s all kinds of kids talking to these players and changing their mind, shopping them around, whatever it may be. Things like that happen, but you know what, I’d rather it happen now than after signing day or in the first week of doubles. To me it’s better right where it is, and to me, it’s a beautiful thing.

    Q. Do you feel like in the last week you have a pretty good idea where all of your guys stood coming into today?
    PAT NARDUZZI: Coming into today, there was not one surprise. We’ve got great communication from every coach on our staff to me with our kids. Didn’t have any surprises today. I won’t be surprised tonight. I feel pretty good. We knew who we had. Like I said, I didn’t sit here sweating driving in this morning going, ‘God, wonder if he’s going to sign.’ I felt pretty confident that the guys we thought were going to were going to, and obviously I encouraged guys if you’re not sure, don’t.

    Q. You talked about the pressure on the kids. What’s been the pressure like on your staff and not just these guys but everybody over there, guys that check kids’ grades and things like that, to get this done?
    PAT NARDUZZI: Great question. I mean, that’s the fear of this whole thing being sped up. I’ll give you a little information. It’s kind of scary out there. Right now I think the December 20th — this doesn’t change. This just moved it up, and if kids are ready to decide, they decide. If they’re not ready to decide, they can decide in February. But it’s the future and what’s going to happen in the future. They’re talking about April, May and June official visits. That scares me. From what you hear on the road, they’re talking about now contact by our coaches in the high schools in the spring recruiting process. That scares me. Number one, I don’t really — I don’t think our compliance guy — it’s something we’re not used to, going into high schools and talking to kids. But there’ll be long lines outside the door. Our recruiting pool back in May will be this big, and then when we’re contacting them in December and January, it’s this small. You’re hitting the spots you need to hit and you’re done. We’re not talking — we could go to DeMatha High School and talk to 15 guys next May. That’s not good. There will be lines. So my fear is, number one, the kids aren’t going to be in class. I think they’re in high school in their junior year to get an education. For an entire month — I told some coaches, you might as well get maybe 10 classrooms added on to your school just so we can line up your kids, put them in there, and we’ll just go in one door and out the other, we’ll just keep going down the line. That’s some of the fear.

    But some kids have this feeling they’re going to take their five visits, they’re going to take the five visits in the summer, I’m going to commit to my school and then I’m going to bypass my senior year of high school and just get ready for my first year in college. Now, how scary is that? If I’m a high school coach — think about it; that’s where it’s going. We all have guys leaving early and guys not playing in bowl games, now we’re going to have high school players. That’s what scares me. Right now this is easy. It’s when our whole calendar changes, that’s when it’s going to get real stressful is if it does change. I think the AFCA is working on it. I don’t think coaches want it to change, but that’s kind of where it’s headed, which is not a good thing.

    Q. Does the uncertainty about maybe where guys are going to stand academic wise make you less likely to take a risk on somebody?
    PAT NARDUZZI: No question about it. When you look down this list, there are some pretty solid high schools on here, a lot of private schools that we’re getting kids from, so you trust the education they’re getting. If he’s a shaky early student, if he’s been shaky, which a lot of kids are that transition from eighth grade to ninth and tenth, some of them have family issues and reasons for some of those grades and how they grew up, but yeah, it scares the heck out of you because we’ll be visiting kids that don’t have a junior year, three years of education under their belt, and we’re making decisions that are bad decisions. That’s all part of it. And now we’re taking them out of class in the middle of it. So those are all issues that especially at an academic institution like the University of Pittsburgh, we just don’t get everybody in here, and that’s an issue.

    Q. What about the NFL decisions by your guys? Did any of those catch you off guard or change what you’re doing?
    PAT NARDUZZI: You know, nothing catches you off guard. You’re prepared. You see how they play. But we support all those guys. It’s a dream for a lot of these guys. They see their dream right next door. They watch the success those guys have, and it doesn’t surprise me. It’s just there’s more and more of it happening, I think, and three great kids that we enjoyed coaching, but they had that aspiration to play at the next level, and it’s up here. It’s the NFL, and they’re going to have their opportunities. There’s always — there’s conversation with all of them as far as what you’re doing, how you’re doing it. Brian O’Neill did the most homework. That guy was detailed, and I think he’s got a notebook this thick with notes he took. So you want to make sure they go through the process the right way and make a decision for the right reason.

    Q. How many more might you sign in February?
    PAT NARDUZZI: I don’t know, I lost count. I’ve got to go back and look and try to do my math, pull my pencil out. But I really don’t know. We’re going to go back and look. It’s a day-by-day deal. You look and see what you have and who’s happy, who’s not. There’s always movement on your team. People want to play. And I think that makes you better if guys are afraid to compete and they want to move on like we had, that you add to it. But we’ll continue to evaluate. Again, it’s a work in progress really.

    Q. You had two corners in this class that are a little less tall. What stands out about these two?
    PAT NARDUZZI: I think the vertical jump, number one. If you look at Marquis, his arms, he’s got some long arms, so he plays like he’s 6’2″. You look at their reach and all that, all of them really have those different qualities, toughness, and it’s not all about the height. You look at it, you watch, there’s a lot of guys 5’9″, 5’10” playing in the NFL, playing against bigger receivers. There’s very few guys that are 6’2″ that can run like you want them to run. We’ve got a little bit of everything. We’ve got big corners, we’ve got small corners, we look and see what we need, what we want, but you’d better be able to run. We can have 6’3″ corners; if they can’t run with them, the height doesn’t matter.

    Q. Two receivers went different directions yesterday, got one more coming later. Due to the fact that you lost Jester [Weah] and Quadree [Henderson] at receiver, is that one of your top areas of need?
    PAT NARDUZZI: No question about it. When you look at needs, we really wanted to get some guys in at mid-year, so I mean, you’d like to have one here now, and we don’t have that right now, but we’ll get them in. Coach Sherman will do a great job with them. We’ve got a lot of young players that can play. There’s some young guys we haven’t seen that we haven’t played yet.

    But it was certainly a need that we wanted to address, and again, we got some players. Tre Tipton is coming back, so don’t forget about some of those other guys, but we’ll be fine. But anytime you lose two, you want to at least bring in two, maybe three.

    Q. Were there any rivalries on the recruiting trail? Are there schools you recruit against a lot or any of that kind of thing?
    PAT NARDUZZI: Not really. It’s funny how things happen sometimes. You end up one year getting in battles with these certain schools from this certain conference, but every year it seems to be a little bit different. Every year, I think you get into different battles for whatever reason.

    Q. You have I think seven freshmen linemen in this class, five of them local kids. Maybe it’s not as sexy as a big-time skill position player, but can you talk about the importance of that foundation and what having a lot of those guys, local kids in here, what that can do for you?
    PAT NARDUZZI: Well, the first thing is those local linemen, we know they can go home and get that home-cooked meal. Even though our chef, Kevin, here is awesome. We don’t care where we get them from. Those guys were picked not because they’re from western Pennsylvania; they were picked and they had a lot of people coming after them. All these kids had a lot of teams going after them that wanted them all over the place, but those guys were chosen because they’re the best. They just happened to be in western Pennsylvania, and we’re excited to have them.

    Well, if the Southside needs holiday decorations we have a least one recruit that has the appropriate skill set…


  30. btw jackagain wrong, that wasn’t me “anonymous”…. in the other article. (i looked back to see what you were referring to). I always let you all know who I am… How come you never joined the round-table discussions? Nothing to be afraid of… 🙂


  31. avg 3.04 stars
    The eiltes are pulling 3.7 plus. Huge difference. 4.1 for Bama and tOSU
    Nitters around 3.6
    Must garner some 4 stars
    If Pitt got 8 4 stars, the avg would similar to the Nitters
    We’re getting our butts spanked recruiting
    And doing piss poor in the state of PA


    1. we always get spanked by Nitters, even when they were on probation except maybe the first year … and here is just one of theproblems

      Mike White@mwhiteburgh
      Early signing day today for football. WPIAL had 19 sign with FBS (Division I-A) colleges. Not very many again compared to just few decades ago. Always possibility of maybe one or two more in February. #wpial


  32. Wisky is at 3.11
    Chryst beating Nard Dog in recruiting
    Again most concerned about the effort recruiting in PA


  33. Every year the class is not up to speed for many fans. Is it realistic to have a top 20 class without a significant contribution from WPA. One class doesn’t make or break a program. I like the accumulative recruiting in most areas. The D now has depth and gained experience. The O has a QB with significant upside.and will need some real growth from the younger redshirts and sophomores to improve as we go. Take out about 10 to 15 programs and most programs are very close in play. Pickett, Hall the TE’s, Tipton, provide a decent base of skill. It is about the growth of the program and Pitt is making great strides. What will push Pitt over the hump? Experience, depth and competition. Thus the roster is in better condition than in years. Now it is up to the coaches and support staff to get them there.


  34. Wow, Shocky, of the 2 receivers we were chasing, he had the best highlights (doesn’t mean he’s the best player), but that is really nice… And a position of GREAT need to boot…

    And I see Upitt is still distorting stats to support his anti-Naruduzzi agenda, what else is knew. I hope his mom kicks him out of her basement.

    And really, experience at QB is that important, even when the experience STINKS? I’ll take a JUCO QB that stinks just as bad but won’t disrupt the locker room, giving us just enough to not burn a frosh redshirt.


  35. 8 are 5.7 rated
    5.8 = 4 star
    so Pitt was on cusp of a 3.5 avg…closely similar to Penn State
    Nitters did land the #1 player in the State


    1. Exactly, the college football namebrand mills get ‘special treatment’. So 8 our guys could have easily been 4 star rated. And that would have been the best Pitt class in about a decade,

      Well done NardDog…and still some slots to give.


  36. Not one 4 Star and many are happy.

    We share facilities with Steelers. I thought that was a selling item?

    We play in a pro stadium. I thought that was a cool thing?

    Narduzzi is signed for 7 years and given a pay increase. That still didn’t help get a 4 star.

    You guys and the these guys are just below a 4 star.

    Someone please tell me why he cannot recruit a 4 star or 5 star? What is missing?


  37. Glad to see a couple POVers coming around to see things how they really are. << moving forward.

    Jurkovec had Notre Dame strictly on his mind and Raines had a cousin on the wvu team.. Other wise. PITT cleaned up WPA this year. it was just not a great year for the WPIAL.


  38. Upitt, yeah me too, sorry to hear your mom passed away….

    TX Panther, thx for point out the stupidity of basing discussion on stars… Hopefully people will learn to do some research. You guys are Pitt grads, right?


  39. And Ike, yeah that’s a big part of it, there’s a lot of influences that determine a kid’s destiny. Penn St. just got the #1 DE in the country, but he was in PSU territory (Harrisburg). Franklinstein does pull them in. It’s going to take the wrong selection at OC for them to start falling to JoePa levels….


  40. Wow watch Shocky’s Machine highlite video on that Rivals link. Can see why he got so many offers. He returns kicks, punts, plays WR, Flanker and operates the Wildcat. #26 Athlete in the NATION


    1. excerpt from DiPaola’s write-up:

      Jacques-Louis, 6-foot, 170 pounds, could play wide receiver and give offensive coordinator Shawn Watson options in the red zone as a wildcat quarterback. Pitt also needs a replacement for kick returner Quadree Henderson, who left school early to enter the NFL Draft.

      Like every member of Pitt’s recruiting class of 2018, Jacques-Louis is rated a three-star prospect by Eight of Pitt’s 16-member class, including Jacques-Louis, were given a 5.7 rating by Rivals, which is one-tenth of a point below a four-star ranking.

      The others are quarterbacks Nick Patti and Ricky Town, defensive backs Judson Tallandier and Marquis Williams, defensive ends Devin Danielson and John Morgan and offensive lineman Blake Zubovic.


  41. Someone asked if 10 out of 17 5.7’s is a record. I addressed this in an earlier thread but you have to go back to Dave Wannstedt’s glory days of recruiting to get to this mark. In his best year, he had 11. Curiously, he also had some pretty low ranked guys sprinkled in with the superstars. He also had many more than 17 total commits that year. So in some ways, this is breaking new ground for Pitt – and in a good way.

    Now if we could only break new ground on an on campus stadium – haha….


    1. I have good days and bad. She had ALS and died last November. If anyone deserved a long life it was her. She was awesome man and selfless. I’ve had loss but nothing like losing a Mom.


  42. LOL Emel…Shockeys Machine. Like the old Burt Reynolds movie Sharkeys Machine…good movie and soundtrack. I’m liking this class so far especially if this middle linebacker has the right stuff.


  43. In the spirit of the famous old quote – there are lies, there are dam*ed lies and there are statistics….

    So UPitt is harping on the 4 star thing. Would I like 4 stars – sure. But how close were we this year. Consider this:

    In the Athlete category, 4 star candidates fill to position 25. Pitt commit Jacques Louis is in position 26.

    In the OT category, 4 star candidates fill to position 25. Pitt commit Kradel is in position 28. Pitt commit Zubs is in position 36.

    In the CB category, 4 star candidates fill to position 39. Pitt commit Williams is in position 42.

    In the DT category, 4 star candidates fill to position 26. Pitt commit Danielson is in position 28.

    The other Pitt 5.7’s seem to be quality recruits as well – especially Patti, but are not as close to 4 star as the FIVE listed above.

    Now is someone wants to tell me that some faceless nobody at Rivals is so great that he can tell the difference in quality between the player encumbering position 25 versus the one in position 26 – well, I have a bridge to sell you.

    If EVEN TWO of these guys (say, Louis and Danielson) had jumped THREE spots total between the two of them, we would be having a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DISCUSSION right now…

    This is crazy – look at the quality of these players and be happy they will be busting their butts for Pitt over the next few years.

    A FAIR use of statistics here (and, I am a professional by the way – lol) would say this is a quality class.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Engineer – I’m not disagreeing. I do think we should be getting even better kids. All the pieces are supposedly in order. Narduzzi and Lyke and BOT deserve fair share of blame. These classes won’t get us into a Coastal is my point. Now we finally have a QB we need to take advantage.


  45. This recruiting class is a good solid group and yes, not spectacular but it solidifies the roster with depth and needed line help on both sides of the ball. Kind of reminds me when the Steelers have a pick and they take a Alan Fanica, Mike Pouncey or David Decastro. Not many jumping up and down but guess what? << All 3 of these guys are going to the Hall Of Fame.

    Going into year 4, Narduzzi is looking for the best players he can sign but at the same time he’s filling in the holes on the team.

    There are some skilled players sprinkled in with a second signing to come. To no ones surprise I give it a passing grade with hopefully more to come.

    Players I like?



    1. Ike – I loved every single one of those picks. They were absolute homeruns. Fanaca from LSU and Pouncy from UF. These guys are way different. Those guys were grand slams. If this Zub kid gets off twitter and into a gym and builds muscle he has potential but man he needs a gym. He is soft looking.


  46. One last comment and then I will shut up.

    UPitt did ask a profound question while complaining about the lack of 4 star recruits – why can’t we get them? I think that would be a great thread. Anyways, how about a short list from me (where most of these I have learned from you all – and that is why I keep coming back here – thanks!!)

    No on campus stadium – wreaking havoc on the game day experience for the students.

    Little or no support from school management.

    Little evidence of cheating to chase quality recruits (by the way, I think that is a GOOD thing). As a codicil to that thought, how many four stars going elsewhere ARE getting unfair benefits (so maybe we are only in the game for – pick a number – half of the total four star pool??)

    An unproven, mercurial coach. Worse, a coach who has demonstrated poor decision making on game day. And worse, a coach who seemed paralyzed by the riddle of what QB to use during the season. Let me immediately balance that with my admiration for his fire and passion and believe he has successfully transferred that to his players from time to time.

    An unproven staff with many question marks.

    Recruiting geographically between Ohio State and Penn State.

    I’m sure there are a number of other good reasons but let me end optimistically. I had the great fortune of being on the Pitt campus during part of the time Tony Dorsett and Johnny Majors were there. TWO GUYS – yes, just two guys changed everything for Pitt football during that time period. Who knows, maybe lightning will strike twice (and, hopefully in our lifetimes – haha).


  47. 16 three star signees. Some not really getting the kudos they deserve in my opinion. Most of the group were premier players on their HS teams. Many of them team captains.

    What this team lacked early this season was leadership. The group we got here, many are cut from leadership cloth. I like this class.

    No MAC type 2 stars in this class. All solid guys. Let’s wait and see who has come here to excel.

    Stupid logic to condemn the entire class simply because theres no Whitehead or Ford type 4 stars in the group.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you too Dr. Tom. It makes no sense to condemn this class. But alas some people will do so and some of them do it in a persistent and consistent manner. I am not one of them and never will be. Thanks for keeping the faith with a level head and thought process.


    2. Getting team leaders who work hard and fill positions of need is all I ask from recruiting. I’ll take a clean hard working 3 star over a head case 5 star any day. Rivals rates from the neck down 99.99% of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  48. Great point Doc .1 point has all the ladies panties in a bunch…. and some people take exception when I use the A word. “Agenda”….


  49. Ike – Stop the BS I have an agenda. It is boring and played out and not true. I’m sick of mediocrity. I’m sick of 5-7. Go swing off Narduzzi’s sack all you want but I am done with excuses why we can’t be good. People like you and the media are the same homers who love saying next year and cower to Narduzzi. That is Bs. He is paid a lot of money to win. So
    Far he isn’t cutting that.


  50. You do your thing Mark, I’ll do mine. Just expressing my opinion like you express yours. Which btw, I cannot understand why I get rebuked when I suggest a positive thought directed at PITT. Seems like you jumped the gun on the “A” word. No finger pointing there.

    Don’t pick fights, just email me… ike


    1. You are the one who comes at me with Agenda. I let you be. If you come at me on the offensive I’m not letting it slide.


      1. I didn’t come after you with the word agenda. You just recognized yourself in the mirror Mark. I f the shoe fit you just wore it. You friend ike…


  51. How can someone say they are sick and tired of 5-7 after one year following two 8 win regular season wins? Doesn’t compute in my mind as rational at all. I’m sorry for my lack of comprehension.


    1. If 8 wins was using his players I’d be overall happy. He won with another coaches players. With his players he went 5-7.


        1. UPitt, here are the players who weren’t Narduzzi’s that played this year …. Weah, Henderson, Officer, Jones-Smith. Maddox, Briggs, Bookser …. and that’s it (only 3 years removed from the previous coach) …. and half of these players didn’t play well at all


          1. I inferred UPitt’s point being that Narduzzi’s 8 win seasons relied primarily on Chryst’s recruits. At least that’s been his recurring point.

            For completeness I think you’ve omitted Ollison, O’Neill, Roy, Folston, Idowu, Zeise, Herndon, Motley and Aston (sadly one game) from the list of 2017 contributors. All were part of Chryst’s final class in 2014. Not sure whose argument that helps or hurts.


  52. While I would of course like to get some 4-stars, just who in the heck are we to thumb our noses at 3 stars? They are the lifeblood of this program, and has been for a long while


  53. All I comprehend is a 21-17 career record. This from a never been HC, a DC who got the job he was waiting for while getting MSU back to respectability again in the B1G, utilizing a Duzz built top five defense that got him DC of the Year recognition while he was at it.

    Yeah, winning! We all want 10-2 seasons, meaningful bowl games & conference championships.

    While we’re waiting, why not enjoy the really huge wins that have gotten Pitt nickname the giant killer. Who else has knocked off the likes of Penn State, Clemson & undefeated Miami just a couple weeks ago.

    Life is short, a good idea to learn how to enjoy good fortune when it graces you. You’ll be happier for it.

    An example in point? I experienced first hand yet ANOTHER heart wrenching loss at the hands of VT this time. Four tries from the one & a half and you can’t come up with a TD!?!?!? Seriously?

    Then I get to see a fantastic coming out Pickett Party against Miami a week later! I’m overjoyed to be 4-7 since after that VT loss, who doesn’t phone it in the next week against an undefeated Miami that is always more talented than our Panthers. No way, I had us penciled in at 4-8 adter enduring a Hurricane butt whippin.

    Who knew!? Until further notice I’m psyched for Pitt’s next season already.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Aliamo is one of my favorite recruits. Seems like a player.

    It sounds like his Mom wants him to play close to him so she doesn’t have to travel and there are rumours that his dad is a bit much (although who knows – The dad part, the Mom part was said by Aliamo).

    Anyway, going back to look at the Patti tape, and of course it is a highlight tape, he really looks good. Then again I thought Myers was going to be real good as well.


  55. You can count all the stars you can see on a clear night, but the bottom line is best described by a *** All Pro// Aaron Donald Ya gotta have heart. Give me players who have drive, intensity and the willingness to be coached and you have a winning team.

    Rivals, Scout, ESPN, and lil ole Mel Kuyper are mostly full of crap when it comes to picking the future All Stars…….ask Aaron.


  56. Because of my previous optimistic post above and just to head off the potential of being accused of being nothing more than a Pitt Homer who ignores the obvious, PSU, once again, out recruited most of the rest of the nation, reeling in one 5⭐️, & many 4 ⭐️s in their 21 recruits signed yesterday.

    Yes, I’m envious.


  57. Good to hear/see the good Dr. Tom post-always a voice of reason.
    I can deal with a 5-7 and 8-6 and 7-6 seasons after living through the Dave Hart and Carl De Pasquale era. Talk about slim pickens! With the BoT not being 100% committed we a performed fairly well in spite of all we have been through. Like life Pitt football is a journey to be enjoyed. Having another birthday in a few days. I will enjoy what life and Pitt football have to offer.

    Thanks for the POV, Reed, the new friends it has brought into my life, tailgates…better stop the list here as I am beginning to hum “The 12 Days of Christmas” and I hate that song.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday to all of you.


  58. Let’s hope these guys overachieve their ranking of 47.

    All I’m saying is that teams that finish in the top twenty, usually are the same ones that recruit in the top twenty. Does not mean that no one beats the odds, just saying.

    However the easiest way to get back in the ratings is to recruit higher rated guys.

    The really great teams have multiple elite players on both sides of the ball, The Fords, Whiteheads and Hamlins are the most likely to become these guys. Sure you can point to the Conners and Donalds and you need them too. But it is the Dorsetts, Marinos and Fralics, the can’t miss guys that are missing from this class.


  59. Our competition:

    Miami 2 five star, 13 four stars

    Clemson 4 five stars 4 four stars

    VT 9 four stars

    NC State 5 four stars

    NC 5 four stars

    Don’t say it does not matter


  60. Upitt from a fellow baseball alum it’s great to see some passion about Pitt football. But why so much negativity. I haven’t commented on this blog very much but I read it regularly. I don’t think I’ve seen one positive post from you. I’m tired of mediocrity also but you’re being very unfair to HCPN. After the 5-6 top players we lost from last years team it was no surprise there was a drop off this season. And even at that we were a couple of plays away from 7-5 or 8-4. And that’s with inferior QB play. I know he missed on Browne but I thought he was worth the pick-up at the time. Is Narduzzi the perfect coach? No, but who’s beating down the door to come to Pitt.With salary and other budget constraints and one of the worst game day atmospheres in the country the sexy picks for coach don’t want to come here. HCPN has worked hard on recruiting and piece by piece he’s addressing the team needs.its unrealistic to think we are going to get a bunch of 4 stars. All you have to do is look at the crowd on a beautiful Saturday afternoon when we have recruits visiting. They see all those empty seats and apathy and there going to a place where fans care.The one thing all the top programs have in common is a filled up stadium and enthusiasm. And don’t forget some of those teams that go 8-4 and 9-3 are middle of the road programs like Pitt but are getting 2 or 3 wins because of the cupcakes on their schedule. Our oc schedule has been tough recently. They say coaches need 5 years to get their program to where they want it. I say let’s see what happens in the next couple years. We can’t just keep firing coaches.

    Liked by 2 people

  61. I remember hearing John Majors say that after TD’s first game he got back to the motel after the game and as he shut his room door he said out loud “,Go_ Da__ we have now got a football team” because Dorsett was the key to all the other pieces. We were without that key last year with Ben and Browne in the QB spot. We still do not have all the pieces but we will have a lot more this year albeit still very green. Used to love Pitt camps at UPJ where you could rub elbows with the coaches one evening at a social event and talk to the staff during pm sessions. That, is where I first heard from the Stadium Plant Manager of the plans for the Panther Hollow replacement for Pitt Stadium . I think that was the firs year of Majors II. —–We still haven’t replaced it. Congrats to all the recruits and H2P.


  62. I agree with you Baseball68. I was Baseball ‘71. We had the same coach – as did many, many baseball alums…

    I think Coach Duzz has done an excellent job of recruiting given the severe disadvantage he has of the half-full stadium.

    The 4 -stars are used to being idolized and worshiped. Pitt looks pretty second-rate at many of our games. I always feel bad for Coach Duzz and the team who put in so much work, practically year round, then run out of the tunnel to a half-full stadium.

    So some 4-Star was at a PSU or OSU game the week before with a full house and he’s supposed to be impressed with Pitt?

    That being said, I want to make it crystal clear that I will not accept Pitt losing; and I demand that Pitt wins!

    Go Pitt.


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