A Little Deeper Look Into Recruiting

A Little Deeper Look Into Recruiting

Yesterday Pat Narduzzi was quoted in the media saying this about recruiting:

I don’t know if our staff needs reinforcement with what we’re doing here. They know the plan,” said Narduzzi. “I guess it’s the fans that need reinforcement. We have a plan and we’re going to execute it. We know who we’re talking to, who we’re texting, we know who we need to work harder on, that’s recruiting. Pitt football is on the way up.

“We know who we’re dealing with out there and we know who we like. No one out there, including the players know who we really like. We don’t care about star rankings, I don’t care about stars.”

I think every college head coach says this, the thing is the coaches themselves don’t believe or do it.  Case in point using Pitt as an example:  Here are the Top 17 offers we have out to 2019 recruits. Note their star rankings and hometowns (and here is the rest of the long list):

Top 17

Ask yourself this: How did Pitt know to offer all those 5* and 4* Blue Chip players from far away places?  Pitt is doing, and has always done, just the same thing every college football program does and that is relying on the recruiting sites star ranking system for early on targeting.

Pitt does not have staff, scouts or recruiters scouring California, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, Hawaii, etc. yet all those offers from Pitt to players from those places went out many months and sometimes over a year ago.

You can bet  money that at any time in the recruiting process if any of those 17 kids listed, and remember those are only 17 out of the 97  5* and 4* offers we have out, called Pitt (or any school like Pitt)  and said “Coach I’d like play football for you and want to commit to you right now.” Pat Narduzzi wouldn’t jump up and down while he was saying “Oh Hell Yes!” and then start turning on ‘The Lights’.

Do we really think that he, or again, any college coach not named Nick Saban, would tell those highly ranked kids who called – “Well, let’s take a step back because we’d like to have you come to a camp or take an official visit first before accepting your commitment”? 

Not on your life.

I’d say that with the large majority of those 97  4* and 5* kids did that their name would be on Pitt’s official commitment list within an hour.  Positions needed of course, but even then many recruits get position-switched when they get to their school. The key is to lock the best kids in.

So again, how do the recruiting staffs know how good those far away kids are and why were they offering them so many months ago? Because they sure as anything look at recruiting star rankings when drafting up their first edition of their “Recruiting Big Board”.

Now all that said- when they get the uncommitted 3*, 2* and NR kids into the summer camps or on official visits like last weekend then perhaps those stars don’t matter to them but it is a whole different world with the highly ranked blue chip kids.

BTW – every HC says the same thing that our coach said the other day. I’m not really singling him out because I clearly remember Dave Wannstedt saying just about the exact same thing then when Feburary came around and they did the annual the fan’s LOI Day Signing Event he, or his staff coaches, very often mentioned that the kid was a four star or five star recruit.  The current staff has done so also.

It isn’t the end all and be to be sure, all but another example of college head coaches saying one thing then actually doing another. But tell you what – I’d love to hear Pat Narduzzi, or his position coaches, when up on the LOI Day stage this year say “…and here is another of our 4* kids for 2018…”  Fingers crossed.

Note: Here is an example of how early we jump on these blue chip kids to offer scholarships for the next year- this is a small sample of offers out for 2020:

Top 2020

BTW – we have 33  4* and 5* offers for 2020 out already and 13 total (all unranked at this point) for the 2021 class.


A Bit of Pitt Football History

This was sent to me via email from an older Pitt fan. It is interesting and opinions expressed are his.

I was just thinking about recruiting and fan interest in regard to Pitt football.  Here are some thoughts:

Looking back, the two periods of time that I have been most interested in Pitt football were from 1951 until 1965 (from when I first began going to games with my family, until I graduated from Pitt), and from 1973-1983 (when I was more active as an alumnus).  What was Pitt football experience that we knew like then?

1951-1965 During these 15 years, Pitt played the following teams (number of times in parentheses):

Penn State (15)

West Virginia (15)

Notre Dame (14)

Syracuse (11) (the Jim Brown years)

Miami (10)

Army (8) (Earl Blake’s time)

UCLA (7)

Navy (7) (Who can forget 1963 and Roger Staubach?)

Oklahoma (6) (Bud Wilkinson’s teams)

Southern Cal (5)

Nebraska (5)

Duke (5) (Made a powerhouse by Wade Wallace, Duke remained highly successful under Bill Murray.

The 1951 Pitt/Duke game on NBC was the first nationally televised sporting event in American history)

Minnesota (4)

California (4)

Oregon (4)

Ohio State (3)

Michigan State (3)

Washington (2)

Baylor (2)

TCU (2)

Iowa (2)

Northwestern (2)

Indiana (2)

Virginia (2)

North Carolina State (2)

Rice (1)

Boston College (1)

Holy Cross (1) 1958 (Holy Cross had finished in the top 20 five times from 1937-1951)

Marquette (1) 1959

William & Mary (1)

Other than Marquette and William and Mary, in these 15 years, every Saturday’s competition was against a good opponent.

1973-1983   During these 11 years, Pitt played the following teams

Penn State (11)

West Virginia (11)

Syracuse (11)

Temple (10)

Army (10)

Notre Dame (8)

Navy (8)

Boston College (7)

Florida State (6)

North Carolina (4)

Louisville (4)

Tulane (3)

Georgia (2)

Georgia Tech (2)

Tennessee (2)

Maryland (2)

Illinois (2)

Rutgers (2)

Kansas (2)

Cincinnati (2)

Duke (2)

William & Mary (2)

Oklahoma (1)

Miami (1)

Florida (1)

Washington (1)

South Carolina (1)

Baylor (1)

Northwestern (1)

Southern Cal (1)

The Big 10 and Pacific Coast Conference teams had largely disappeared, but there were some SEC teams, and other than William & Mary, Temple and perhaps Tulane, Pitt played good competition each week.

2008-2017  Who have been Pitt’s opponents during the last 10 years?    

Syracuse (10)

Notre Dame (7)

Virginia Tech (6)

Miami (6)

Louisville (6)

Cincinnati (5)

Georgia Tech (5)

Virginia (5)

North Carolina (5)

Duke (5)

UConn (5)

Rutgers (5)

USF (5)

West Virginia (4)

Youngstown State (4)

Buffalo (4)

Iowa (4)

Navy (3)

Oklahoma State (2)

Penn State (2)

Akron (2)

FIU (2)

North Carolina State (2)

Utah (2)

Boston College (1)

Rice (1)

Clemson (1)

Florida State (1)

There were also single games with Villanova, Marshall, Maine, Gardner Webb, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Bowling Green, New Hampshire, Delaware and Temple. (When you add to these the 4 games with Buffalo, 4 games with Youngstown State, 2 games with Akron, and 2 games with FIU, the scheduling in recent times is quite different from the prior eras.)

Penn State and West Virginia are gone as rivals.  We seem destined to play Notre Dame less frequently.  Future schedules will consist of the ACC Coastal Division teams and Syracuse (our crossover opponent), and the non-conference schedule (which will apparently have one or two cupcakes every season.)  We old Pitt football fans are certainly living in a different time.

Giving up its on-campus stadium, scheduling so many scrimmages against inferior competition, and getting only one major bowl game in the last 35 years (2004 Fiesta Bowl against Utah), it seems that Pitt has in fact done what fans long feared they would do, de-emphasize football.

Maybe Pitt could at least improve fan interest by getting games with some premier teams, becoming one of those teams’ cupcake games.  Wouldn’t it be better than hoping to eke out a seven-win season and play each year in some no-name, who-cares “bowl” game against some other mediocre team?   It might be better to lose to Ohio State than to beat Akron.  Pitt will never return to prominence on an ACC Coastal Division schedule with a non-challenging non-conference schedule.  Pitt has a mostly attractive non-conference schedule this season, but If Pitt wants to get good crowds at Heinz, I think it needs to drop Albany, Toledo and the rest of those lesser teams, and get some games with Big 10, Pac 12 and Big 12 teams.  And if we could get some games with SEC teams, all the better!

But then, what do I know anyhow?  Times have changed!