As all college fans do after LOI Day has come and gone we are parsing each bit of info we can to either praise a recruiting class or, on the other hand, wonder why it isn’t better. Obviously you can count me, and many other Pitt fans in that latter camp. While I do not think this is a bad class… I have to say that I’m disappointed in it.
One of the reasons listed by Pitt fans over and over again for the drop in recruiting is that the lower quantity of high school talent in the local area has hindered getting quality recruits out of Pitt’s historical recruiting footprint of WPA. That may well be true. What the fans don’t talk much about is that Penn State and other schools have been kicking our ass so heavily in getting WPA recruits it’s like we are looking at the caboose of a departing recruitment train.
As follows that we read comments all the time that say head coach Pat Narduzzi needs to expand his recruiting efforts southward, into SEC territory mostly, to maximize the talent pools available there. I’ll agree with that also.
What most Pitt fans don’t realize though is that he’s been doing just that already and at a large pace – the problem is that he’s just not doing as well as we need him to at getting those southern recruits onto campus for their official visits and hence their verbal commitments. Here is some very interesting info in regards to this subject that I crunched from the Pitt Offers Sheet we have been looking at over the last week.
In looking at offers to Southern states I included NC, SC, TN, MS, AL, GA, and FL in that listing and created a chart (below) to show how many 4* and 5* offers we had out in total and then to those southern states’ recruits… along with the total and southern 3* offer numbers also.
What came out is very interesting to me – Narduzzi has been recruiting the hell out of the South – it has been a large percentage (a total of 32%) of our scholarship offers over the last three years considering it is a relatively small area as opposed to the rest of our recruiting areas east of the Mississippi.
Again what we see here is pretty much what I had shown in an article last week about Narduzzi’s success with Blue Chip recruits across the board – we have tons of offers out to the southern recruits but can’t get as many of them on campus for official visits as we’d like. A .02% official visits effected isn’t going to cut it if we truly do need to heavily expand our recruiting base southward to be successful as fans are saying.
Now and that said, Pat Narduzzi has been very good at getting those who do visit to sign on with Pitt – a 19 of 26 for 73% signing rate aint bad at all… very well done actually. As a matter of fact that beats the overall success rate he has for all recruits taking official visits. Unfortunately only one of those southern kids has been a 4* recruit – RB Anthony Davis out of Lakeland Fl.
One note on the chart above – Narduzzi’s total number of blue chip offers per year is interesting. He went from a total of 155 in ’16 to 193 in ’17 then rolled back to only 105 for this recruiting class… but notice that the percentage of offers going to southern players jumped to a high of 38% when doing so. Also, with that percentage jump he was a bit better at getting them on-campus.
I agree that Pitt needs to really get entrenched into the south for recruiting. That is easier said than done though. The reason Wannstedt was so successful at it was that he had previously been the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and on Jimmy Johnson’s staff at Miami U. when they won their championships and as such his name recognition was high in Florida. Especially helpful was that as a staff coach for Miami he recruited Florida’s hotbed areas and thus knew the HS coaches down there still.
That isn’t the case with Narduzzi so he and his staff need more money to go longer distances for longer periods of time to really get established there. I wonder if that is possible on the budget that he has to work with at present.
Recruiting isn’t an easy thing to do at Pitt in any time or for any HC really. We have tons of competition for the tri-state area players already and have historically been handcuffed in terms of money for recruiting.
But it has to get better and quickly for us to be a successful winning program and compete for ACC championship games. That won’t happen if the recruiting stays at this level – it just won’t. We need southern kids that’s true – but we need blue chip kids from anywhere we can get them and that hasn’t been happening enough over the past two classes.
Let’s get back to 7-8 wins and pry more money out of the Pitt AD for recruiting… and we’ll keep our fingers crossed the best of the best recruits, from wherever they reside, get interested in playing at Pitt again.