When fans talk about their team’s recruiting it always turns to whether recruits are good ones or not so good ones.  Which is pretty funny actually because you never know what is going to happen with the recruits from the minute they sign their Letter of Intent to their participating in spring or fall camps and on through the first few years of their eligibility.

What a lot of fans don’t take into account are all the variables that go into the transition from high school to college. These kids deal with being away from home and many for the first time, and handling a separation from family, friends and girlfriends, to changes in climate and to the rigors of academics at the college level just to name a few contributing factors to a smooth transition.

That doesn’t always happen the way it should.  For example Paris Ford, our highly rated 4* recruit, sat out his first year and took a redshirt because of a tough transition to college life.  That happens more than is publicly known and sometimes a redshirt has to be applied due to academic or disciplinary problems.

Fans can’t really know how all that will play out with individual recruits so we look at other variables that the recruit brings to the recruiting process; his star and numerical ratings by the recruiting websites, HS highlight films and other scholarship offers are what fans talk about the most when they discuss the relative merits of one recruit stacked up against others.

But what the fans see and what the recruiting scouts (both college’s and the recruiting sites’) see are two different things.  Fans watch the HS highlight clips and see only the great plays the recruit made – professional scouts request whole game films from the HS coaches so they get a 360° view of how the kid actually did over an extended period of play, usually a three game set of films.  This is why I have to laugh when a fan writes “I watched his highlights on the site and he should have been a 4* instead of a 3* recruit!”  Of course one would think that- those are the absolute best plays he made all year.

Sometimes, especially in the case of Pitt fans (and I suspect others schools as well) what geographical area the recruits are from seems to float their boat- that rings true especially now in Pitt’s 2019 class since we just have gotten commitments from seven recruits who hail from south of the Mason-Dixon Line (out of 14 so far), with a bunch from Florida,,, where apparently and automatically kids are bigger, stronger and are able to leap tall building with a single bound.

Recruiting is the prime example of “an inexact science” in my opinion and it always has been.  It is hard to tell just how good a player will be when you are on the outside looking in. Personally, I put more trust in the recruiting star rankings then some fans do.  But then again I have been watching recruiting unfold for over ten years now as I have been writing about the Pitt football program since 2009.  The recruiting sites get it right way more often than they get it wrong IMO especially when prescribing 4s or 5s to a recruit.

On the POV a common theme that runs through Pitt fans conversations is the difference between 4* and 3* recruits.  Some fans look at the numerical differences between a 5.7 kid who is given a 3* rating and a 5.8 kid who gets a 4* (or Blue Chip) rating and see just a 1/10th of a point difference.  But the text info copied below states Rivals.com grading system very clearly.  What is the difference maker is with that 1/10th of a point between 5.7 and 5.8 is the description given for the 4* recruits.

Another thing to realize is that unlike ESPN or 247’s ratings Rivals is all about the potential a recruit has for playing college ball.

Before you read the below this needs to be understood – the first ‘determination‘ a recruiting site scout looks for an individual high school player is which prospect description below the individual recruit fits into.  Once that is determined then they assigned the gradient ‘points’ number to the player.  For example, from the scouts observations and information gathered Player A is determined to be an All-American Candidate first and foremost so right away the scout is going to be awarding between a 5.8 and a 6.0 to that kid.

Then the scouts drill down to what numerical points the recruit should be awarded.  So the common belief that there is negligible difference between a 4* 5.8 recruit and a 3* 5.7 recruit just isn’t really true or applicable… it looks like it on the surface but because the second recruit didn’t meet the description of an “All-American Candidate”.  Again the very first level of designation is the textual description – not the numerical one.

6.1 = Five-star prospect

6.0-5.8 = Four-star prospect

5.7-5.5 = Three-star prospect

5.2-5.4 = Two-star prospect

6.1 Franchise Player: considered one of the elite prospects in the country, generally among the nation’s top 30-35 players overall, a potential first-team All American candidate and a player deemed to have first round NFL potential.

6.0-5.8 All American Candidate: considered one of the next-tier elite prospects in the country, generally among the nation’s top 300-325 prospects overall, a national All American candidate and a player deemed to have first to third round NFL potential

5.7-5.5 All Region Selection: considered among the region’s top prospects and generally among the nation’s top 800-850 prospects overall, a potential All-Conference candidate and a player deemed to have mid to low-end pro potential and ability to impact at the college level.

There is a large gulf between saying someone had All-American potential vice All-Region potential and projecting the player to go in the first to third round in the  NFL draft vice maybe not getting drafted at all.

How has this worked out at Pitt?

Well, just as you think it might – the 4* and 5* players we have had have done better in relation to the 2* and 3* kids – accounting for the ratio of Blue Chippers to 3* roster makeup.  We sure see outliers in this sometimes – Greg Romeus was a 2* kid as was Devin Street – two very good and productive players for us in the past.  So yeah, it can happen but you don’t want to rely on lightning striking that way too many times.

Somehow readers on here feel that I believe 3* players are no good and can’t succeed and that just isn’t the case.  Our history is filled with 3* players who have gone on to be All-Conference and even All-American…every year almost a few 3* players rise above their peers and play lights out…Aaron Donald, James Conner and Brian O’Neill are just some of the latest in that line.

What I have said many times over is that if you have a roster full of 3* players you’ll be playing 3* football and that has been the case at Pitt over the years.  Believe me more 3* recruits play average ball or fail to get on the field way more often that another 3* kid turns into a star player at Pitt.

I have no problem with Pitt getting 3* players – the vast majority of eligible recruits are 3* kids but you have to grab the better ones, or the ones with more “stardom” potential whenever we can.  That takes a very strong recruiting staff and very good and solid connections with HS coaches.  A constant successful program has a good percentage of 4* recruits in relation to the number 3* recruits in each class.

But the bottom line is that if you are going to rely on recruiting classes consisting overwhelmingly of 3* players then some of those have to really break out and play at true stardom level. I mean have real star power out there – grand enough to take the game on their shoulders and will the team to victory.

Think about what Pitt football would have been like over the years 2011 through 2015 had we not had Aaron Donald and James Conner on either side of the ball?  A series of heavily losing seasons is what would have happened. They weren’t 4* kids but played at the ultimate All-American star level.

I believe this is where we have been falling down with recruits Narduzzi has been getting to commit to him to play ball at Pitt.

That commitment date is a key issue because it goes directly into the heart of the subject of what a head coach has to do to convince a high school player to come to his university and play in his football program.  The 12-24 months it takes to find, scout and assess and then convince a HS player, his parents and coach that Pitt is the best choice for him is truly where the hard work is done.

An inheriting new HC does have to keep the player committed to the school but if you look back at when most head coaching turnover has been in late December and early January you see that is so close to LOI signing Day (as opposed to the normal recruiting time of 12-24 months before) that almost all recruits stay with the school they committed to.

The main reason they do is 1) they want to attend and play at that college no matter who the coach is and 2) that all their other ‘best offers’ schools have their commitment quota met by that late date.  The latter happens more frequently than we know.

We saw an exception to this with the Wannstedt to Haywood to Graham turnover but that was a completely different animal because of the negative circus surrounding the firing of Wannstedt and the Haywood debacle.  But then the last two coaching changes went rather smoothly – especially this last one where I think maybe only one or two committed recruits shifted schools and didn’t sign with us.

When gauging a head coaches’ actual recruiting prowess it must start with who he got to commit, not who he had sign on at LOI Day for the reasons above.  Narduzzi is the coach of record for the full 2015 class but the bald fact is that the best players of that class, Whitehead, Hall, Henderson, Dane Jackson and Tre’ Tipton (to name a few) were recruited by and had committed, to another head coach.

That isn’t just an aberration either – we have seen a downward trend from the previous years over Narduzzi’s last two full recruiting classes – classes of 2017 and 2018 where we have seen only one 4* recruit and he’s had no early ‘breakout players’ of his own recruits since he’s been hired. That may change in this 2018 season but his last three years have been bereft of star recruits.

Here is the last 10 years of recruiting classes, including the unfinished 2019 class we are in the process of filling out now.  It encompasses our last four head coaches and you can see how things went them and how they not only recruited but got very good play from some kids who I called ‘stars’ in the table:


Recruit TableRight now we have verbal commitments from these 14 recruits in the class of 2019 which was ranked 27th after the June 15th weekend flurry of verbals and is currently ranked #37 (and dropping over the last month).

Class of 2019

Now there are some kids on there who will surely play decent ball for us in the future, that is pretty much assured in every recruiting class.  But when Pitt had that surprising recruiting weekend over June 15th and got commitments from so many Florida kids the fans’ praises went overboard in my opinion – but it was nice to see us ranked 27th or so nationally after that flurry of verbals.  It was a good start for sure but the real proof will be in the other 11 recruits we’ll get for 2010.

Again – note the absence of blue chip players on this list.  That’s why we have dropped from 27th to 37th… because we keep getting 3* or 2* kids committing to us while other teams around us are getting better ranked recruits.

There is a real myth of Florida recruiting also I believe. Below are our Florida recruits going back to the class of 2006 – so there are 12 years of results on the field to consider when reviewing these recruits.  Take a look at the list below and tell me how many of them were markedly better than any recruit from the Tri-State area…

Dexter Davidson, Greg Romeus,  Jared Martin, Tamarcus Porter, Jabaal Sheard, Ricky Gary, Greg Williams, Sherod Murdock,  Anthony Jackson,  Joe Trebitz,  Shane Gordon, Jason Douglas,  LaQuentin Smith,  Roderick Ryles, Ronald Jones and James Folston Jr.     

Can any of us really say that other than Jabaal Sheard and Greg Romeus those other Florida recruits were special in any way, shape or form?  Out of 15 Florida recruits only two made All- Big East or All-ACC and those were the two mentioned above.  Gee – I supposed if all we did was recruit Florida Defensive Ends we’d be in good shape!

So that is a myth that has been perpetrated among Pitt fans for some reason I can’t fathom.  Hell, we get much better players from New Jersey and New York than we do Florida.  I’ll take Dion Lewis, Ray Graham, TJ Clemmings, Jason Hendricks, K’Wuan Williams, Kevin Mosley-Smith, Quadree Ollison and Saleem Brightwell over all but two of the Florida recruits and these kids are from states Pitt fans’ turn their noses up to.

We’ll see this coming season how well a 22 starting player field of mostly Narduzzi-committed recruits will fare.  QB Kenny Pickett looks to be a future star and if that holds he’ll be the first of Narduzzi’s recruits to ‘break-out’ in his first two years. Other than he we really can’t point to any other Narduzzi recruit who has done so.  We are all keeping our fingers crossed for DB Paris Ford to do so but he hasn’t taken a snap yet.

But it won’t be all Narduzzi commitments; one has to look no further than 2018’s projected LB corps to see that they are all either previous walk-ons or Chryst recruits – Wirginis, Idowu and Zeise were here before this current HC signed on with only Brightwell being the Narduzzi kid.

The same can be said for the projected Offensive Line with Dintino, Bookser and Herndon being Chryst recruits and supplemented by a walk-on in Morrissey then most probably a transfer or two.

For those Pitt fans who feel that other Pitt fans are too negative about the immediate future of Pitt football this lack of strong recruiting is a very real reason to be concerned.  Pitt has made a living by having true “star” players in each and every one of our bigger winning season going back for some time.

Last year we didn’t have that and it showed in our play out on the field and in our season’s 5 wins and 7 loss record. We need for things to change quickly if we want this program to get back up to that 8, 9 or 10 win level and as it looks now that might be hard to do.  Let’s keep hoping two or three players really come through and surprise because without that happening some of us fans feel we’ll be looking at a possible repeat of 2017.

199 thoughts on “In the Midst of Recruiting…

  1. For whatever reason there is a disconnect between Pitt and the local superstars. Some of it is the Franklin/Terry Smith connection. Or whoever WVU sends up here. Some of it is the Duzz and his staff. And some is the kids just aren’t concerned with, or interested in Pitt. I think Whitehead was the last time we got the best kid out of WPa. While there are not the number of top flight kids anymore, you can’t Wiff on the ones that are. A lot of effort went into the Jeter kid, and he said see ya( regardless of how I feel about his talent). Pitt needs a superstar on its roster. Maybe it’s Pickett, maybe he gets busted up like a Youngstown Mafia hangout, I don’t know. What I do firmly believe is it will take a generational talent to get us back. And it will take an extremely talented coach to put a team with him. At this time, in my opinion, we have neither.

    As an aside, anyone hear Phil Steele on the Fan today? He said Pitts schedule is brutal, and that they are the most confusing team in America for him to figure out this year. He has 9 metrics and they have us going anywhere from 4-8 to 10-2. When pressed and asked where he put us in the Coastal he said…..wait for it……6th!!! Oh well, what’s he know?


    1. I’m interested to hear others’ thoughts on this, but I think part of Pitt’s recent problems in recruiting Western PA stems from where the top recruits are found these days. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression dating back to the ’80s, is that when Pitt gets a top recruit that’s being pursued on a national level, that kid is usually from the eastern (with the exception of Gateway) or western suburbs or the Beaver Valley, and very rarely from the North or South Hills – those kids usually go out of state, or sometimes PSU.

      I feel like I can count on one hand the times a true stud recruit from the North or South Hills chose Pitt over the last 20 or so years. Maybe those areas are more suburban in the traditional sense and less enamored of the urban experience and less connected to Pitt? Maybe they have more experience with the world and are looking to go away from home? Just throwing ideas out there, no strong conclusions. Anyway, schools in the North and South Hills produce a much higher percentage of the local talent than a generation ago and Pitt’s struggles to recruit there have had an impact on its fortunes. Narduzzi needs to make inroads.


  2. Copying over from the previous thread since it’s relevant to Joe Knew’s post …

    Pitt’s has 7 games that are very winnable.


    Pitt has 2 more games that would be small upsets but not jaw dropping.

    UCF (personally, I’d have this in the winnable category but I think I’d be in a clear minority)

    Pitt has 3 more games that would be considered pretty big upsets … but nothing on the scale of beating of beating Clemson.


    If Pitt beats 6 out of the 7 winnable games, 1 small upset and 1 big upset … Pitt’s at 8 wins. If Pitt doesn’t win 8 games, Pitt fans have every right to be upset. Narduzzi is in his 4th year. The schedule shouldn’t matter. You play who is in front of you.

    I’ve said it several times this offseason. Good coaches get their teams to overachieve. This is finally, mostly, Narduzzi’s team. He has to get them to play better than they are on paper. That’s the only way Pitt will ever be able to take the next step.

    At the very least, 6-7 wins is not remotely crazy and should be a little disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tossing’s analysis really reinforces Reed’s assessment about our recruiting. Basically, we have to win 6 toss-up games (counting Albany as a gimme), pull one mild upset and a shocker just to win 8 games. In year 4 of the Narduzzi era, that’s a pretty discouraging thought.

      The reality is, if you win 4 out of 6 toss-ups and pull one upset, you’re already overachieving at a pretty significant level. Pitt needs another 3 wins beyond that just to reach the (not that spectacular) 8-win baseline Tossing and others have established. Could happen, but if you run this scenario 1,000 times, I doubt it plays out like that more than 1 time in 3 and probably less than 1 in 4.

      That’s why recruiting is so important. If you want to win 9 regular season games (3/4 of the games) on any kind of consistent basis, you’re going to need more talent than about 2/3 of the teams, plus some combination of luck or superior coaching. Pitt is clearly more talented than how many teams on the schedule? Probably one — Albany. Sure you could quibble about ‘Cuse, Duke or Wake, but it’s not clear-cut. The recruiting is an issue.

      Now, I don’t put this all on Narduzzi, As I said in my article, he’s swimming upstream against a number of demographic, cultural, and institutional currents, but people have recruited and developed talent at more difficult places, so it can be done. Is he up for it? I hope so, but if he produces the losing record I expect this year, it may be too much to overcome on the recruiting trail and the situation could go from bad to worse.


      1. If our D is a shut down, smack em in the face type that it could be, then we win the toss up games and the mild upsets.

        The three big upset games are psux, nd and miami.

        The psux game will be an electric, highly passionate game in Pittsburgh. Packed house with a one sided hated rivalry attitude. Pitt wins!

        The nd Game is in South Bend and there will be too many guys on the field for the Panthers to pull an upset. Pitt loses.

        The miami game will be in South Florida, and the canes will be looking for a revenge on the 2017 embarrassment. This game will be for the Coastal title. Pitt fall short and Tx calls SOP!

        NOTE to everyone: not my official prediction – just playing the possibility game.



      2. That’s not discouraging at all. Pitt has 9 winnable games on their schedule. Winning 10 would be a tremendous but not an impossible feat. Pitt has to overachieve on the field before they overachieve recruiting.


        1. Tossing, you’re one of my favorite commenters (especially where basketball is concerned), so I say this respectfully: by your standards, Pitt has 9 winnable games on their schedule virtually every season. You identified matchups with two likely top 20 teams as “winnable” games. If that’s the case, then almost every game on the schedule every year could be classified as winnable except for the odd matchup against a legitimate CFB playoff contender.

          Of course, it’s true in a narrow, dictonary-definition sense that those games are winnable as Pitt usually upsets a better team and certainly “could” win those games. I think the conventional definition of a winnable game, however, is something more like “a roughly equal or better chance to win.” I’d say Pitt has 7 of those games, 9 if i’m being extremely generous. The chance of winning 9 straight coin flips is 0.20


          1. Ulterior Motifs. You’re 100% right. I said Pitt has 7 winnable games, 2 that would be mild upsets and 3 that would be considered big upsets. I would say the mild upsets equate to being winnable. They have 9 winnable games this season and virtually every season. That’s part of my argument. I don’t think schedule can be used as an excuse any more. I’ve been patient. I’ve given Narduzzi a pass the first 3 years. But, the clock starts now. It’s predominantly his team. Even the kids he didn’t recruit have been with him at least 4 years now.

            I think winning less than 8 games this season is disappointing. I think last season’s record is understandable in hindsight. I don’t see the holes some people do in the lineup. I just see unknowns. A lot of kids getting their first real shot to prove themselves.

            I’m optimistic (as usual) but I’ve been very clear the last 3 years that the team must turn a corner in years 4 and 5.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I am in total agreement on this.

              In year 4 any conference home game and most conference road games should be considered winnable. I also think that a split is reasonable in the non-con.


  3. Nice article. Two major factors not mentioned in it that should be kept in mind.

    First, have you ever seen rivals have only one or two kids ranked 5 stars in a given class? What about 100 to 200?

    The rankings are intentionally rigged. In any given year there could be more 5 stars or less than 30-35. But magically, each year, the nation only produces 30-35. Why is that? Once there are 35 5 stars, does the secret service move the remaining athletes out of the country? What happens to them?

    Secondly, if you look at the rivals Pennsylvania rankings for 2019, there are Zero 5 stars. There is one 4 star in western PA. There are four more in central and eastern PA.

    I’m sure most of the readers here understand what the impact of that is on a given recruiting class, but I thought it worth mentioning to add additional important details to the subject at hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is a big gulf between Jester Weah and Ruben Flowers.

    There is an even bigger gulf between James Conner and Darren Hall.

    There is a hugh gulf between Aaron Donald and Kaezon Pugh.

    There is a similar pattern to all three examples.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. These findings are alarming. It is time for a few stars to rise up from Narduzzi’s recruits. All of the four stars he have brought in were quitters or did not belong on this level. A true star player shows it from day one. I’ll never forget seeing DionLewis first game or McCoy or Larry Fitz how bought Tyler Boyd playing eventual national champs in FSU and he played like a star day one.


  6. Really well thought out article with quite a few very good points.

    I don’t find Reed’s repudiation of the notion that 5.7 is not really just one-tenth of a point below 5.8 stars convincing. The fact of the matter is that a 4 star is between 5.8 and 6.0 so the difference between a 4 star and a 3 star is not .1. However the difference between a 5.7 and a 5.8 is .1. Nothing in the article convinces that that is not true.

    Also, it’s apparent so far at least that PN recognizes as I do that in college football the age of a player is critical. Of course there are kids that can play as a freshmen but that does not mean that the same kid won’t be much better when he is one or two years older. By redshirting lots of players PN gets a 5.7 kid to be a 5.9 young man when he plays as a junior.

    Reed has done a superb job hammering home the baked in the cake problems that Pitt has recruiting. Well, there are structural problems that have limited PN’s recruiting. Almost all agree that there are. Some of us POVers think those structural problems are the reason recruiting has been so mediocre and don’t blame that on PN’s personality or whatever other aspect of PN others want to focus on. Those who blame PN also recognize the structural problems but somehow make believe those problems don’t exist when they blame PN.

    I have my own concerns about PN and whether he can make Pitt a Michigan State let alone a Wisconsin. But I don’t look at the statistical mediocrity of his recruits as evidence of that. My belief that it is those structural problems that are to blame is unassailable.

    I still think PN knows what he is doing and can get Pitt out of mediocrity. But I also agree that those that don’t have faith in him have every right to that belief because as we approach PN’s fourth year as Pitt’s HC with his THIRD full year of his recruits on the roster the team is still not only mired in mediocrity but prone to too many SOP events.


    1. I wrote that the way I did because that is how I’ve been told by a Rivals staff member years ago that that’s how they make that initial determination.

      The initial determination on a recruit is whether he’s going to be a top-tier, mid-tier or lower tier kid and after they determine that… as I said in the article… then they determine the actual point ratings.


  7. I Feel Pitt needs at least 4 blue chip recruits in each class to start competeting for championships. If only two of the 4 reach stardom you have a much different team.


  8. Pickett is the best player Narduzzi has recruited so far he looked like a star the minute he hit the field and Reed called it after training camp last year. I laugh when people say he is unproven inexperienced maybe but in his small time in the field he showed leadership,talent,movie and he will be our best player next couple years if he stays healthy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Exactly Zach, you know why? Rivals and the rest of the recruiting services don’t know their ashes from a hole in the ground. An idiot can see if one or another high school player is above the rest of the bunch. One problem, what’s in the kids head? Do these recruiting services get paid????? Hell yes, it’s a gimmick!


  10. Reed, in you list above of Florida recruits, you conveniently left out the likes of Antonio Bryant, Torrie Cox, Gus Mustakas, HB Blades, Greg Lee, Clint Session, Shane Gordon and Claude Herriott .. all 2 and 3 stars from FL …. and that is just from the top of my head.

    Sure, you gonna have your share of misses from anywhere, but with downfall of WPa HS FB, recruiting FL only makes sense



    1. I went back a certain amount of time… But yes those kids were good.

      Writing articles like this one you have to have certain time frame parameters otherwise you’re going to be going back to the 1970s and 60s and 50s and we just can’t do that it’s not feasible there certain time periods were things change and Pitt’s history and I think from 2007 on is what I call recent Pitt history because it’s past 10 or 11 years I think I went back a little bit further than that anyway.

      the point is I truly do not believe that Florida kids are any different than Pennsylvania New Jersey New York West Virginia Maryland Eastern Seaboard kids just because they’re from Florida. If the good ball players we should get them if they’re not we shouldn’t get them just because they’re from Florida.


  11. Pitt has really got a lot of kids from the South Hills, primarily from Thomas Jefferson. Recently from USC also. The best conference in the WPIAL for many years was the Parkway, which was in the western area. But yes, the east was where many great players came from.

    I think the rise of schools like Central Catholic, as well as the charter schools has reall hurt P8tt. These kids all talk and if you don’t have a good relationship you’re screwed. The charter schools in the eastern part of the state are dominated by the Nitters. Local schools not so much.

    Phil Steele only had us favored in 3-4 games. Underdog on road to NC, Wake, UVA, Miami, UCF, ND. Also home dog to PSU and VT. It is a grim outlook, and a 13 pt dog to the Nitters. Oh boy! And yes, had us as dog at UVA!!


    1. Good point about Thomas Jefferson. I forgot about them. What’s concerning about Steele’s predictions — besides the fact that he’s arguably the best in the business — is that Pitt rates reasonably well on what I think is his main metric — the number of returning starters and upperclassmen. Usually, when a team returns a load of talent on one side of the ball, as Pitt does with its defense, that results in a better-than-you-might-expect prediction from Steele. I’ll have to get his magazine to see for sure, but I assume the concerns about the offensive line and lack of playmakers are what’s made him skeptical about Pitt’s prospects.


  12. I don’t think any Pitt fan would thumb their nose to New Jersey recruits. Wannstedt had some good contacts there and after he was canned, Pitt lost those inroads under Graham and Chryst. Narduzzi is trying to build it back but it takes times.

    One of the best recruits Pitt ever got from New York never played a down for the school. Alcindor Coleman in the 1990 class, 6’4” 305 pounds, from Brooklyn.


  13. The 2018 recruiting class included the 5th rated running back and the 20th rated. quarterback according to Rivals The 2019 class has the 18th rated quarterback .Does Narduzzi get any credit ?


    1. Sure he gets credit, and let’s hope for the best with them. as I said in his last three classes there are kids who are going to turn out to be good ball players but I’m not sure there are going to be STAR ball players and that’s the big issue.

      However, Voytik was the 4th rated QB; Mark Myers was the 11th and Max Brown was the 1st.

      Chris Clark was the #1 TE in his class… On and on.

      Which is why I say that you have to wait to see how they play.

      One of the main points of this article was that Pitt has always relied on kids to come in and make a big impact in their first and second years and those are the kids who have turned into star players near the kids that have carried the team to the most seasons victories.

      Pitt, in the last 20 years or so has never been so strong across the board as to win a lot of ball games without Superstar players involved.

      We just have never been able to get that above-average talent in every position so that will win a lot of games without the king studs.

      We have not seen that happen with any of Narduzzi’s recruits with the kids who have committed to him personally to play a Pitt and that is a big problem imo.


  14. If they play a softer schedule it is 10/2 unfortunately the administration over scheduled them and 8/4 is more realistic. They beat UCF on the road this season.


  15. Pitt’s not even a top 25 team yet. Why are we talking championships? Yes, they need more 4 stars to do that, especially consistently but how about we become a top 25 team first.


  16. Ya, Steels said he has 9 metrics, and on some, Pitt does very well, hence him saying some metrics indicate 10 wins, others 4. But the most telling is him picking us 6th in the Coastal.

    I really don’t think Duzz is a good enough head coach to win with mostly 3*s. And I really don’t think the assistants are good enough either. I would love to be wrong!


  17. Why is it hard to recruit 4 and 5 star football players at Pitt? I believe it is mostly on Narduzzi. After football, men’s basketball is our next largest revenue producer. We have just hired a coach that inherited a team that won zero games in the ACC last year. There were lots and lots of empty seats in The Pete. So our A.D. goes and hires some assistant coach from another ACC team with no Pittsburgh ties. One would think he would have had a difficult time recruiting anyone to come play for such a messed up program. So what happened? He recruited the four star candidates for THIS year’s team even though he got here very late in the process. Will he be successful this year? If I was a betting man, I would wager that Pitt is going to finish in the middle of the pack this year in the ACC. That will a huge leap forward. So what is the difference between Narduzzi and Capel. One is known as a fantastic recruiter, the other is not. So if Capel’s results show marked improvement over Narduzzi’s is it because he is a better recruiter or a better coach than Narduzzi? Franklin is the football version of Capel and that is why he is eating Pitt’s lunch when it comes to recruiting and winning. Reed’s article is spot on! Do I hope Narduzzi can turn this ship around? I most certainly do. Do I believe he will? ……


    1. Capel killed it in a short amount of time in 2018, so the excitement is there to see what he can do with a full year to recruit kids. Already, the top two center prospects Capel is going after are heading elsewhere: Oscar to other WVU or Kansas and Cockburn from New York to UConn or Cuse.


  18. John — Pitt basketball has shown that with a competitive team the Pete will be full and rocking.

    Not so for the football team at Heinz.

    We disagree, as I do with many on here, that Coach Duzz is the problem. I think Coach Duzz would recruit at a high level at PSU.

    Next time you’re at a game at Heinz, think about a visiting elite recruit as he sees the Panthers come running out of the tunnel. No one will ever convince me that the lack of atmosphere – in stark contrast to what that recruit will see at PSU, Ohio State, or even VT — isn’t a major factor in keeping the elites from coming to Pitt, or even seriously considering Pitt.

    Times have changed with all the exposure provided by the internet. The elites can have it all, and the schools that have it all will lay it all out for them (including photos of Heinz), so why settle?

    Go Pitt!


      1. Wait. What? Per the chart above how can you say that????? 3.03 > 2.87

        Full recruiting classes avg star rating:

        PC (2.87):

        2013 – 2.81
        2014 – 3.0
        2015 – 2.8

        PN (3.03):

        2016 – 3.1
        2017 – 3.0
        2018 – 3.0


  19. Pitt is one of those schools that has to rise up and play above their talent level to be successful. You can do that when you have a great QB like Pickett. Then the 4’s and an occasional 5 will come.

    Pitt may also have to rise above their coaching level…..and the attendance level…..and the administration level…and the lack of an OCS.

    Other than that, the prospects look great!


    1. A team never rises above its coaching level. PN may not bring Pitt to a new level of excellence but he might. But the reverse is always true: if the coaching is not good the team won’t be good.


    1. I actually ran the Reg team that wrote the national Coast Guard inspection policy on the DUKWs. I’m waiting for a call with the actual details but I’ve an idea what happened.

      My first though was that they exceeded the limits of their Certificate of Inspection.


  20. In my day recruits wanted a scholarship for an education that would lead to a good job and not necessarily to the NFL.

    IMO, today’s recruit’s focus is the NFL. They want a big stage on which to perform their trade. They are a pampered bunch and when they are done shopping themselves around they go with the glitz and glamour programs… I agree with MM- put Franklin at Pitt and see how that goes.


  21. In a fair world college football would be played by college students. If top notch players wanted to study and get into and play in college fine.
    If not they could play semi pro ball in small crappy towns across America. They would be playing in front of 3,500 people.
    I would prefer that model.


  22. Reed, great article.

    When one boils this down, isn’t the following the obvious. Teams with higher ranked freshman generally/mostly do better than lower ranked players And , Pitt you believe is underwhelming in recruiting and it shows in depth and average records over many years.

    There are hits, misses and surprises in every class. A given Sort of like stock market picks. The real question is what would Pitt have to do to up the ante and improve by say 10-15 % over the last 10 year’s recruitment results? Most of us, perhaps in error, do not believe that to be such a difficult obstacle. But it has been.


  23. Kman..I hear you…I have been an advocate of the NFL developing a minor league system on their dime and we all go back to the “college game.”
    If you haven’t done so, go to the ARMY-NAVY game..100 %student athletes…it can be done..but won’t happen in D1 FB or BB


  24. The other issue compliance. In my model it would be eliminated.
    You either pass your classes or you don’t.
    No tutorial help, no special classes, just an advisor like everyone else.
    My guess is that would change the makeup of the game drastically in 5 years.


  25. Yes but the price would be 3,000 fans. Going to games on Bus like hockey and no national tv.
    I say bring it on. We will not hear any bitching about wanting to get paid.


    1. Yes until you write one and send it to me.

      But when I get back from Pittsburgh on Monday I’ll start a series of articles about the position units and whether they’re better or worse prospectively then last season’s.


  26. Reed, excellent work! Your chart really shows the dearth of impact players recruited by Narduzzi so far. I think if some of his guys don’t become difference makers this year the trend will be very clear to all but the most strident of fans. It also can’t just be KP and Paris Ford, if you don’t have a few all acc linemen and other positions sprinkled throughout the line-up we won’t be more than a 500 team for several more years.

    I wrote an article called Star Power a while back. This is what I was talking about. It doesn’t matter the number of stars when they arrive, it is what they achieve during their stay. So far Narduzzi recruits have achieved very little. That has to change this year and next year or the writing is on the wall.

    I also found your expose of the Florida kids to be compelling. We have done much better with New York and New Jersey. The myth of Florida 3 stars being PA 4 stars is just that.

    Regarding WPIAL kids, they will be the hardest to convince to come to Pitt because they know the most about the situation. Until Pitt changes the trends and becomes a solid winner again, the local stars will look elsewhere. This is less of a problem because there are fewer local stars right now, but it is never a good thing to not be worthy in your home town, but that is what Pitt faces. After Penn State, Heinz looks to be pretty empty this year, without a few miracles on the field.

    Overall, just like elite students pick the schools that give them the best chance for success academically, elite athletes will pick the schools that give them the best chance for success athletically.

    Yes, it is easier to recruit at football factory schools, but that makes a coaches ability to recruit even more essential at Pitt.


  27. Kman..also,student athlete would have to meet the same entrance requirements as the rest of the student body. The college scene would begin to change immediately. I am actually tired of a lot of the BS surrounding today’s game from coaches ‘s salaries to the recruiting process and the fact that a lot of players academic level does not meet the basic admittance requirements.


    1. While I agree with the sentiment, much like my feelings on an OCS, it will never happen. Just the opposite with the OCS, no money, changes to college football won’t be made because there is too much money involved. No one is going to kill the goose that is laying golden eggs.

      Unfortunately for Pitt, Football has never been and most probably never will be profitable. The ACC and Heinz Field gives Pitt a fighting chance to break even, but growth will always be slow.


  28. “Standing at a podium in a large hotel ballroom, wearing dark-rimmed glasses that made him look like a professor addressing his students, Narduzzi said, “If we all had great players, what fun would it be to coach?”


  29. Great article Reed as it explains it great detail the differences in the ratings. I’ve read it three times but don’t have the time to sit down and write out a longer comment. Couple things though: The difference between a 3* player from Florida and PA is that the Florida kids are committing to PITT. Also the subjective statement should be number 1 in everyone’s minds when trying to figure out if PITT got the good player over and another. The fact that we agree that it’s subjective proves there is little difference between a 5.7 and a 5,8 player. Although you did explain it in a way I can understand I still argue the difference is negligible.

    I said this all along, this is the year we can START judging Narduzzi’s recruiting and again, lets not put too much of an importance on who is starting but rather how many plays the player is actually playing. I got to roll… ike


  30. PSU has been 53 – 22 over the last five years with two bowl wins

    WVU has been 25-14 over the last three years with no bowl wins

    Pitt has been 34-30 over five years with one bowl win…

    Pretty tough competition for local players


  31. I see Chas is back from his summer vacation.

    Like to know what is happening with BBall.

    Who is on campus this summer, no word of a summer league.

    Capel seems to have cooled off, no big man yet.

    I guess there are some good pick-up games going on if the picture above is any indication.


    1. Capel is a relentless recruiter, he is everywhere on the recruiting trail. He’s putting in the hours, he will get some quality players. He relates very well to these players. Sure, he’s going to lose a lot of battles going against Ky, Duke and the like but he will still get some nice pieces. Next years class could be really good.


      1. He’s planting seeds and developing relationships right now that will bring fruit later when starts winning.


  32. The difference between a 3 star and a 4 star is often the cut off point. Who decides how many players get to be called 5 star or 4 star players? Also, ike is right that the biggest variable is often what is in the kid’s head. How do you measure that? Can you determine where his head is from watching film? How many phone calls and in person contacts does it take to determine dedication to craft, motor, character, etc.?


  33. gc, you’re right, but are we talking recruiting services or the coach recruiting the kid? The difference and you are right is that a coach has to do the heavy lifting there. This why maybe a 2* player gets an offer over a 3* player, could be that a coach did his due diligence in looking into the variables that may be serious factors. This is also a subjective aspect in recruiting and where the recruiters eye comes into play.

    I think about this Devonshire kid from Aliquippa and wonder why PITT was so late to offer him? It’s silly PITT didn’t know what they were doing with him. They waited for a reason we will probably never know about. It’s fun speculating, pontificating and debating but I must confess. I don’t know everything about PITT football or anything for that matter, even though barvo thinks I do. I try and defer to the coach who gets paid millions of dollars for millions of reason and I get bupkis for my thoughts. ike


  34. Moon Landing Day… what were you doing on this day in 1969 ?

    I watched Neil set foot on the lunar surface from the “ Red Rooster” between Laytrobe and Greensburg… either Tommy James and the Shondells or Jr Walker and the All Stars were there performing !


  35. well gc, maybe you should do some homework and realize that Reed provided a very select list of FL recruits above. He went back to 06 … and half of those years, Pitt didn’t even recruit FL. Partridge left in 08, the same year that Pederson cut the recruiting budget so FL was ignored for 2 years. Plus Chryst also ignored FL …. so half the time between 06 and now, FL was pretty much ignored.

    Meanwhile, when Partridge was previously with Pitt … here is a partial list of FL recruits: … Antonio Bryant, Torrie Cox, Gus Mustakas, HB Blades, Greg Lee, Clint Session, Shane Gordon, Claude Herriott, Greg Romeus and Jaball Sheard.

    You have to nuts not to recruit an area like FL when you have Partridge on your staff. For goodness sake!


    1. I don’t think I said not to recruit Florida. But you can miss on players from there as well as anywhere.
      Being from FL doesn’t guarantee any more than anywhere else.


  36. Been buying Phil Steele’s college annual for over 10 yr. His data system is like using stock screening systems.,factual and in good computer models. I reported some of his previously quoted stats on here 2 weeks ago after my first review. 9 0f the teams we play are ranked above us in his Power Poll ( Strength of each team relative to others). 7 of his 2018 Top 60 ranked are Pitt’s opponents. Pitt does not even make the top 60 while Temple, Toledo La. Tech, Troy USF and others do.In his 1 page summary narrative of the team his forecast is closed out by the “anywhere from 4-8 to 10-2”. I figure if you just use the power poll we end up 3-9, or the rankings 5-7 so I ain’t holdin ma breath. Anything above that is gravy. Phil ‘s big problem are all the ??? on the Pitt team as many of us have noted. This may be a year to see what the coaches can do with this lot.


  37. I’d like to see a list of schools like TCU that went from the lowest in football circles to respectability or better. How did they do it? How did UCF do it? What do they have that Pitt doesn’t?


    1. their ‘BOT’ recognized the importance of sports. They hired the right AD who was an impetus of change. They re-invested in their on campus stadiums and didnt tear her down. Real simple things.


  38. BigB, I caught the Laytrobe reference and the “Red Rooster” famous. Interesting times back then and I have a story about Tommy James as well. I know the drummer who played on Hanky Panky real well or use to, haven’t seen him in years. Lives up on that ridge you come down off of coming into Youngstown to the Tin Lizzy. You’re talking my turf big guy.. ike


    1. A guy I used to do business with circa 1980 was a good friend with some of the Shondells. Although one of them had been retired for years, he unexpectedly started to receive checks from a record company. Turns out that he was co-author of ‘Crimson and Clover’ and benefited from the Joan Jett remake


  39. One question I have. I keep hearing how Duzz cant recruit. Can someone tell me how many of his recruits, not grad transfers, has actually played at least 1 full season?

    I really dont understand where you all make the assumptions about these kids, other than the rankings.

    And seriously, because Steele predicts Pitt to win a certain amount of games, uts a fact? He is guessing like we do on this board. We dont no a thing until the season starts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because none of his recruits could beat out the average at best defenders left over from PC. If he could recruit well we wouldn’t be seeing guys like Zeise and others still playing.

      If his kids were good we’d see some full seasons play out of them after three years.


  40. Mr Anonymous, my old friend’s first name is ironically enough Tommy. Tommy James came to the Greensburg/Latrobe area and hired a band already established from here. He then went back to New York with them in tow trying to re-kick start his career, which he did.


  41. I am not one of those who consider Pitt playing at Heinz Field to be detrimental to recruiting. It may be detrimental financially though. I went to the Clemson game and have been to games at other schools Pitt have played. One large revenue source that Pitt is missing is the parking fees. On the plus side of the ledger are the capital and maintenance costs of a stadium which Pitt does not have to incur. Perhaps a reader of this blog know if the financials are detrimental to Pitt. Pitt’s practice facilities being co-located with the Steelers can only be seen as a huge plus for recruiting. Stop using Heinz as the reason for the poor recruiting.

    From a fan’s perspective Heinz Field is a fantastic facility compared to the dump that is Beaver Stadium with its 10″ wide section of aluminum bench per person. The concession stands, lines of sight, and river/city view are also way superior. If you are into tailgating that is also not a problem at Heinz. Access to and from the game is much better than most college stadium venues. The worst thing about having no OCS is the detrimental effect it has for our track team which is basically homeless. A better use of athletic capital funds at this point than an OCS would be in the complete replacement of the Fitzgerald Field House as proposed by the A.D. Pitt also needs to create more revenue producing parking areas on the hill as well. They are going to need it for The Pete in the coming years.

    By the way, I unfortunately am old enough to remember not one but two stadiums in Oakland. I would much rather have a larger academic footprint in the area for Pitt than all the wasted precious space to be used less than very few days per year.


    1. Heinz may be great from a fans perspective with all the amenities, but it is a true detriment from a recruits perspective. Pitt has averaged 45k since Pitt started playing in Heinz back in 2001. That means a recruit sees roughly 25,000 screaming yellow seats. Heinz is at 65% capacity at the very most. At old Pitt ‘bleacher and piss trough’ Stadium, 45k would be 85% capacity. Thats a huge difference in perception.

      Pitt does receive money from parking and concessions. It saves with the maintenance costs. It loses out over naming rights and licenses.

      I know. CompLit and I were former Blathers that championed the cause. My comments can be found in the Pitt News and the University at Buffalo (SUNY). I’m also a grad from UB. Giggle me…I mean Google me.


      1. Money quote from the article: “The Bears now owe at least $18 million per year in interest-only payments on the stadium debt, and that number will balloon to at least $26 million per year in 2032 when Berkeley starts paying off the principal stadium cost.”


        1. And then this: “Payments will increase until they peak at $37 million per year in 2039, then subside again in 2051 before Berkeley will owe $81 million in 2053. After that, the school is on the hook for $75 million more and will have six decades to pay it off. The stadium might not get paid off until 2113, by which time, who knows, an earthquake could send the stadium back into the earth or football as we know it might be dead.”


    2. and I agree Beaver is a dump but those wiley Pedos know it and are investing millions upon millions in improving it while Pitt is content to playing in their own Rooneys Ketchup dump.


    3. Parking is a loser financially unless land is cheap. That is why government requires developers to include adequate parking. If it was profitable parking lots would be popping up everywhere.

      A track would never be included in a new stadium.

      Pitt should lease the track at Schenley and pay for some improvements. Open it to the public and lock it up at night.


  42. Schools like TCU and UCF were bad for years even though they were in good recruiting areas. It did help though when they decided to turn things around. But I’m wondering what was the deciding factor that made them want to improve and compete? Pitt needs to find that same formula.


    1. VOR- they got sic and tired of losing. Its that simple. TCU was a punchline for a football joke around these parts. When you start to take sports seriously, things change. Ask my bud UPitt. He’d agree.


  43. Kind of a response to PITT28 and others. When a recruiting service puts a cap on how many players are allowed to be 5* players I call phooey. That’s plain bullschit plain and simple. It defeats their own premise for existing….. ike


  44. I’m with you, TX. I guess it really isn’t that complicated. Someone should point that out to the BoT..


  45. Used to love old Pitt Stadium however its’ original capacity was 60 or 61,000 and after modifications about 55,000 and that was with a seat space marked with 2 lines that was so small I used to buy 3 seats for 2 butts and that left nothing to spare. With all that the final years with Gottfried and then Harris there were memorable, with a lot of good victories, capping off decent to good seasons. Moments included freezing cold night wins against Penn State in November and the last game in Pitt Stadium with a victory over Notre Dame that required the county mounted police to stop the fans from tearing up the astro turf for souveniers because Pitt had to practice on it for the upcoming WV game. Beaver Stadium has about the same butt room as Pitt Stadium had.


    1. The “old” old Pitt stadium was the best. Loved those warped, weathered wooden bleachers. Nothing jolted you out of your pregame drunkened stooper better than sliding your ass down those seats to make room for one more buddy in the Pitt Student section only to be rewarded with a pencil sized splinter in your thigh.


  46. With exception of Pickett, basic question: are the kids coming up better than the ones who left? If so , great. If not, ………………….?


    1. My prediction, Paris Ford, upgrade over either Maddox or Whitehead. Maybe the next Revis type DB for the Panthers.


  47. Also, the big Erector Set is a dump. They can put a lot of lipstick on that pig, but in 10 yrs they’ll be building a new palace, and guess who will ge the bill?!?!


  48. FWIW, I agree with the thought that the issue with playing at Heinz is that it is just way too large for Pitt, capacity wise. Plus, the empty yellow seats just seem to stand out too much on TV.

    If Pitt played at another off-site facility that was handy to downtown, with navy blue seats with a capacity of 47K … it would be perfect. Maybe we should team with the Pirates and fund a 10k addition.

    But seriously … the Pirates had it right. They right-sized their stadium. They could have built a 50-55k facility but knew it was too big for them.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. avg baseball attendance nationwide is around 26k. Pirates built theirs about 35% above average. 35k max seating.

      Pitt has averaged 45k. No reason why their stadium should be larger than 58k yet they play in a 68k yellow seat stadium

      and its actually too large for the Steelers as well for most games since they have 92% capacity


  49. Another guy from the Shondell’s lives in the Scottdale PA area, Eddie Zaretsky. One of my son’s went to HS with his granddaughter. A band of former Shondells is scheduled to play at the Palace Theater in Greensburg in the near future. I used to go to the Red Rooster in the late 70’s in my platform shoes when it was Hardie’s, lol.


  50. Lastrow n Iek… going to be doing a drive-by next week .. don’t shoot!!! dropping off a couple of pounds of NC shrimp to you retirees… took a lot of crickets and 4 days to catch’em!!!


  51. Parking garages will be dinosaurs in 10-15 years. Think about it. As autonomous vehicles become common place (and they will). Fans will be picked up and dropped off by autonomous vehicle, (similar to uber, but without drivers). Parking will not be as big of an issue as many think. Therefore, much less space needed.

    An OCS Stadium will take 10 years to plan and build. If Pitt isn’t looking at how to construct a high tech fan centric stadium, they are missing the boat. Pitt can be a leader in the space instead of a laughingstock. Pitt could put interactive classrooms in there as well and require Freshman students to take classes in the stadium so they get used to going there and creating memories there. Pitt could develop recreational facilities there as well which draws students to that area. Pitt needs to get 10k-15k students at every game.

    Once that is done, the rest of the tickets become a must have for fans and it drives demand. That was my 5 minute thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the game will be viewed and played differently 10-15 years from now
      the design of these college stadiums will be relics
      its real time technology, fan centric atmospheres, creating a better experience than one can achieve at home (and thats pretty damn tough to do these days) thats driving the change
      Pitt is really missing out on rec or wellness centers (need this before an OCS)


  52. easily reconfigurable multi purpose stadiums are making a comeback
    the technology is there to expand or contract; moreover shape/morph the stadium to the sport
    one venue can support multiple teams


  53. I recently heard a Lou Holtz quote that went something like this: “You can’t win without good players….but you can lose with them. That’s where coaching comes in.”

    Interpret that as you wish….


  54. I am not a Paul Chryst hater. But someone please tell me what he did WHILE AT PITT, that makes anyone think he’s better than Pat Narduzzi? Overall his recruiting was weaker, and certainly less balanced (he couldn’t/didn’t recruit defense). He never won a single game of consequence. He lost some stinkers. His recruiting benefitted from the PSU sanctions period. He played a weaker schedule. The jury is still out on HCPN, but count me as one who was not enamored of Coach Chryst. He did nothing to lead me to believe that he was a program builder. He inherited a finely oiled machine when he was hired by Wisky. I give him credit for stabilizing a rudderless ship when hired at Pitt, but he might have gone 6-6 forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you WLAT. I’m glad PC showed up when he did, but I’ll take Narduzzi every day over Chryst here at PITT. He’s a grinder. I believe he’s doing the best he can with the resources available to him. Chryst is OK, but has much more support in Madison.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Foge Fazio inherited a finely oiled machine at Pitt in the early 80’s.

      The big difference between Pitt and Wisconsin is top admin support.

      The difference between Foge and Sleepy, not much besides D minded vs O.


    3. He recruited offensive linemen better than Narduzzi, that is it.

      Chryst had much worse losses while playing easier schedules. He was a stability guy, but as you said at the cost of going 6-6. Not sure why people would be happy going 6-6 and letting Chryst do his thing for as long as he wanted at Pitt, but Narduzzi better win nine, 10 games a season or he should be fired.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Ugh, Chryst again.

      Not sure what you consider a game of consequence to be. He did coach Pitt to a convincing win in Miami in 2014 to make Pitt bowl eligible. It hurts me to state this in so many ways, but he also coached Pitt to their last bowl victory with a backup QB (RS FR Voytik) leading the way. The good thing was that game made Conner a budding star.

      Other than Dorian Johnson, who could have gone almost anywhere else but landed at Pitt, what other players are you certain landed at Pitt due to PSU sanctions and thereby obviously benefited Chryst? PSU sanctions started in July 2012 and ended in September 2014.

      As noted, Chryst took over during a tumultuous time in the program. Wannstedt had been fired one year prior and Fraud was gone after one year. Wannstedt’s style was straight pro game offense and mostly four man rush. Fraud’s was tempo offense and blitzing. Neither was much for recruiting solid offensive lineman although true Pitt man Biz did technically commit to Fraud. It’s not much wonder Sunseri, Savage and Voytik spent a lot of time under pressure during the Chryst years. Pederson was gone by the time Narduzzi arrived. Narduzzi inherited a competent, young pro style offensive group from Chryst with capable skill players. According to the 2018 media guide Narduzzi enters fall camp with plans to start 11 Chryst recruits in season four, pretty evenly split between offense and defense.

      Somehow Chryst is 34-7 at Wisconsin including 3-0 in bowl games and 2 close losses in Big 10 Championships. Please don’t insult us both claiming it’s due to their schedule (Narduzzi is 0-3 against the Big 10 West) or Barry Alvarez (who retired as full time head coach in 2005).


  55. My guess is Chryst and Narduzzi are mirror images, one emphasizing offense, the other emphasizing defense with the end result being about the same. I suspect that Joe Rudolph may be a better 2nd in command than Narduzzi has had especially for our area.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Reed and Kman (in response to your comments above) – I was vacationing on Table Rock Lake about 3/4 of mile from where the Duck Boat sank. Was swimming with my boys off of our resort’s dock when me and another guy who’s kids were also swimming noticed this crazy looking black cloud quickly moving in. We got everyone out of the water and headed up the hill to the cabins. The storm kicked in before we could get inside and the wind gusts were incredible. The storm lasted for about 15 minutes with intense wind. It was over as quick as it started. There were lots of bass tracker and water ski type boats out on the water at the time as it was a beautiful evening…Very sad situation.


  57. Interesting comment about the autonomous cars. They definitely will change things, but still have to be parked somewhere when not in use. Really see the advantage of using them in the city. Interested in how the overall transition takes place and how willing the public will be to give up their vehicles. For many, the car is more than transportation, it is a status symbol, and a way of life. The change won’t happen overnight.

    The Lou Holtz quote was a good one. I would say that Narduzzi will only be as good as the kids he recruits.
    So far the verdict is not in. We got a little evidence last year and the transition did not go well. This year we will get more evidence, and next year we will have enough for a verdict. His recruits need to step up.


  58. Just a thought regarding the comments about the cap on the number of 4 and 5 stars. Perhaps there really are not as many as everyone thinks, meaning in a given year perhaps there are say only 10-20 true 5 star kids. That would mean a 5.8 as well as a 5.7 may not be that elite. The evidence suggests that not all 4 and 5 stars are all that….


  59. This years recruiting needs a big bump from the offense perspective. We need several recruits who can make plays from the OL position and the WR position. TE position is going to be thin again this year. RB’s are going to be a work in progress, maybe we can get a surprise from one of the younger RB’s. Then again Narduzzi loves Hall.

    We all know Narduzzi likes his defensive recruits but without a offense, its not going to matter in the end.

    Random thought of the day. It will be interesting to see how our new Australian punter does this year.


  60. Can’t wait for the drive by Bernie. Shoot me a text when you’re leaving… guessing Thursday)…My wife had her ACL surgery yesterday and I’m back to home care nursing. Haha. What do me and Ike owe you for the crickets?


    1. Fran — Best wishes to Mrs. Lastrow for a good, smooth recovery.

      And now that you’re retired, I imagine you’re knocking shots off your score every round! Ha-ha!

      Go Pitt!


  61. First off Fran, best wishes to Mrs Fran and a full and speedy recovery. 3 full knee surgeries including a total knee 18 years ago with 3 or 4 minor ones later and I don’t have to tell you how important going hard with therapy and rehabbing.

    They don’t have a better mold than the one they made Bernie, Fran and my POV friends with. Great people with big big hearts. ike


  62. BTW, that list includes Reed at the top as well….. with Jim, Mark, Rick, Eric, John, Joe Mark Jay and here I go, the list goes on and on.


  63. Call me crazy, I’m optomistic about the coming season. Defense is on the upswing with more of Nard’s recruits. Offense has major question marks at the O line but a good array of skill player potential. All the teams on the schedule are dealing with turnover and new starting personnel, Pitt is no different. We can’t predict the outcome of the coming season solely on what were last season’s results. Narduzzi’s teams have a history of pulling a big upset on more than one occasion and hopefully this season will produce one or two of those. As long as the TEAM plays with maximum effort for sixty minutes they will be successful most weeks. Hail to Pitt.


    1. I’m optimistic about every Pitt FB season. — can’t seem to help myself.

      Would be great to see the return of some fairly consistent 3-and-outs by the Pitt defense. Been a long while…

      Go Pitt!


    2. Exactly! Wild cards, Pickett, Ford, Davis, with known entities Aston & Wriginis coming back from injury, I see more wins than loses as long as we don’t have key injuries to essential personel.


  64. You’re too kind Iek…and agree there are many quality people on the POV. Thanks Mark and John, the golf game is coming along nicely.


  65. Fran – can’t wait for you to bring that golf game to Central PA. I hope Mrs. Lastrow makes a full recovery.

    As for the Pitt O – there is much negativity and very little speculation. Who on this site ever thought the 2016 O would produce the #’s it did and the shining stars to boot? Who predicted Q. Henderson would be an All-American, or N. Peterman an NFL draft pick, or that Jester Weah would catch a pass, let alone 10 TD’s, or that B. O’Neill would become an NFL OLman or that George Aston would become “The Animal” with 10 TD’s himself?



  66. The 2018 edition of the Pitt O includes Kenny Pickett at QB, four 4* RB’s, WR Aaron Mathews at 6’5”, RaRa Lopes returning as the 2017 leading receiver, P.Ford & Shocky Jacques-Louis as electric, do everything type players and George Aston returning to punish opposing D’s with his knock-out run blocking skills.



  67. Careful EE, positive upbeat comments about Pitt Football’s upcoming season are not endorsed by most POV posters.


        1. I’d rather expect to win 6 games and then be surprised if Pitt wins 8 plus a bowl. Expecting anything more than 6 this year would place me borderline delusional.


  68. Here’s hoping that ike and Erie Express are smiling like butcher’s dogs during and after this season of the Fightin’ Panthers!

    Go Pitt!

    Liked by 1 person

  69. Okay, so I read the star system explanation in the link posted above and then re-read the article by Reed at the beginning of this thread. Maybe I’m dense, but as I read them, it looked to me that in each instance the articles explain what one could expect from a player at a given ranking…but not really the criteria used to arrive at the numeric rating by the Scouting service. So for me I am back at the question of is there a vast difference between a 5.7 and a 5.8 rated player or is it merely a matter of a level 0.1 difference based on the scores accumulated? Think gymnastics or figure skating judging. As another analogy, a student whose tests scores averages a 90% gets and A and a student whose scores average 89% gets a B. but the difference between them is no greater that the difference between a student who got an 85% and and 86%. Let the slings and arrows begin!


    1. although they dont disclose the secret sauce, I’m sure its both quantitative and subjective. There are of course misses but these recruiting agencies generally get things right over the long term. And schools win more with higher stars. Hence, mediocre recruiting produces mediocre results.

      For me, its always the eye test. How does he play against big time competition and in big games. Does the kid make an impact on the game? Does he also do work that goes unnoticed but allows others to shine?

      You get this by watching film or being at the game. And then of course talking with the kid, his coaches, parents and friends

      I bet some of these 5.7 kids are 4 stars but some are legit 3 stars. And some 5.8 kids are more like 3 stars.

      Last year Pitt had many high 3’s (5.7’s). This year not so much. Pitt will probably end up ranked in the 40’s when all is done unless they can reel in some 4 stars towards the end. Narduzzi should not be having this difficult of a time recruiting but his recruiting is still better than Chryst when he was at Pitt. That aint saying much.

      Liked by 1 person

  70. I get it and understand that there is a lot of work done by a lot of people gathering, exchanging and sharing information on a particular player with these recruiting services. They no doubt offer a great starting point for coaches before they set out on the recruiting trail. I also believe that most head coaches rely on their own asst coaches to find the right players that fit the type of player that would be the best fit for their school and football team.

    That said, PITT, generally speaking has to be looking for a different type of player than Alabama would. Not saying PITT shouldn’t or can’t recruit 4 and 5 star players but the likely hood of getting one of those types of players from outside the area are slim to none. If there isn’t a 4 star player from WPA they will struggle to get a player of that caliber. Thanks to the coaching instability lately it’s also tough to even land the local stars. This why I feel Narduzzi will be given at least 3 more years to create more continuity no matter what their final record says. imo . . . .. . .. ike


  71. If Pickett is the real deal, Pitt will win. Simple as that. A great QB makes the whole team better, if you dont have great players at every position.

    The big difference I see is that the team itself is shaping up to be more balanced together on both sides of the ball. That has been a huge problem. While Chyst teams may have had better o-linemen, thats all they had other than Boyd and Conner. Those 2 guys were just great college players. Most of those linemen was back last year and was awlful.

    Im really not sure why most of these posters are so crtical on a Pitt coach who has had only losing season in his first3. Especially since was widely predicted that last year would be bad with all the young players starting. And that isnt an excuse, its a simple fact.

    We will all see just how good of a coach and recruiter Duzz is after tgis year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Orndoff, Holtz, Donald, Price, Aston, Savage and Devin Street, etc…would beg to differ. They all played on Chryst teams.

      I’m critical of Narduzzi’s recruiting, not of his actual coaching. Other fans are critical of that but not so much from my point of view. But his reliance on transfers over roster players and his lack of ability to land early impact kids is a problem imo and will keep being one over the next few seasons.

      I think he’s lost games he should have won…but he’s also won games he should have lost so that washes out like with 99%of other HCs. But you can’t argue that he did better with Chryst recruits than Chryst himself did.

      But this season’s 22 starting players are going to have a tough go of it especially on offense and I think we have a lot less depth in the two deep than most fans believe also.

      To me, if we get two or three kids to really breakout and have star seasons we’ll beat .500 ball but I’m not sure who that will be …Because I think Pickett will do well but not superstar level as some fans are predicting.

      Liked by 1 person

  72. Reed and all the wonderful Povers,
    I was out of the country for the past week (Costa Rica) and really enjoyed reading the articles and all of the comments! It’s great having the POV, my home away from home!


    1. this was a Dixon formula for padding wins
      for an inexperienced team, its perfect
      for a more experienced team, it would hurt come selection time and these early games and tournies are a good test
      cuts both ways but right now given where Pitt stands, it cuts like a knife


  73. I see it as 11 wins in the oocTex based on that list of competition.

    College sports and recruiting is so about perception. I think it is most interesting that we are only a few months away from opening the season and that the schedule was just recently completed. See, you can make changes late into a year without much difficulty.

    Wins help perception, which helps recruiting. Nary a recruit looks at strength of schedule. They want to be a part of taking a team to newer heights, something our football scheduler has failed to understand.

    Would be nice to land Aundre Wright, especially since he re-classified. Decision date 8-7. Do we have room for one more in this class?


  74. Ouch!

    From David Hale.

    Against P5 opponents last year, Pitt had just 3 touchdown passes on throws of 10 yards or more — only Florida was worse (2).

    Pitt’s defense allowed 17 such touchdowns. Only Oregon State’s defense was worse (19).


    1. C’mon Ike – in sports you look back because sometimes you’ll have the same players the next season.

      That won’t matter on the offensive side of this issue because almost anything is a step up from the 2017 QB play.

      But our defensive backfield has lost it’s two best players and who knows what quality level we’ll have as replacements – fans like to think Ford will be a good one but I wonder if he’ll play to Whitehead’s level right off the bat.

      Sorry – but when you were 105th in passing defense (254 ypg) and 88th in Passing Efficiency defense (136.5)… among with that horrid stat above AND you lose your two best guys then red lights start flashing.

      You sure do have to look back if your going to project out how well returning players are going to do… We’ll be a bit better I think but let’s hope someone comes out of nowhere on the DL (or two players on the DL) to really get pressure on the QB because that hasn’t happened yet with the defense Narduzzi has been locked into.


      1. In fairness I believe Pitt was ranked #16 and #37 in sacks in seasons 1 and 2 of Narduzzi. It certainly helped that Ejuan Price was the main man those years. Last year’s team had nobody quite like him. As you stated, hopefully a couple of guys rise up this year.


  75. Starting on the separate [position unit seasons comparisons today; you know the “Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw” – could use some help if anyone wants to chip in… but get in touch with me first please.


  76. So here I go repeating myself but I have a minute. … but first and I know I do put myself out there and like to share with my POV family. We had a great weekend and rallied the whole family for my oldest grand child birthday who turns 8 years old. Having the entire family over put a smile on my face that could rival Fran’s and Richman’s smiles. Well… maybe not that broad but a good time was had by all. but anyway..

    So I’ve said in the past that PITT has been relegated to recruiting mostly 3* players at this time. When you recruit 3* players you get pot luck… sort of. It’s agreed that these type of players are not as starting ready as a higher rated player will be. I think that makes sense? Thus a few transfers here and there. I don’t get the big fuss about Narduzzi bringing in older players as they are more physically mature and most likely more field ready. Its says right on the 3* resume that it will take time to reach the field. I’m guessing in a few years we will see far less of a reliance on transfers of any kind.

    As far as looking back, that’s just bad business. That’s why stats don’t carry over. This coming year’s PITT defense won’t look anything like last years and naturally neither will the offense. These are still growing young men and they will improve and get better. Funny how looking back is so selective around these parts. Don’t bring that guy up but look at what happened last year with this guy. … ike


  77. Those who fail to learn the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them in the future. This means you must look back to succeed——– but do not dwell on the past.Just eliminate those mistakes going forward. That’s what good coaches and AD’s are supposed to do. Lots of good contributors on here lots of good comments and it is much more enjoyable when it isn’t down and dirty personal.H2P


  78. Replacing Browne and DiNucci with Pickett is a good start for the Pitt offense looking ahead IMO. A “healthy Pickett” for the entire season will have Pitt’s offense looking more like it’s 2016 campaign offensively.


  79. The pessimist in me sees 5 wins
    The realist in me sees 6 wins plus a bowl win
    The optimist in me sees 8 wins plus a bowl win (that would be me on Drugs)


    1. Tx — Thanks for the clarification (about the drugs).

      I had to go back and read “The optimist in me…” a couple of times as my brain was not prepared to comprehend that line in one of your posts…😊

      But I like the sound of it…

      Go Pitt.


  80. For those basketballers that missed the Zoo Crew bball game on espn3 over the weekend, if you google the basketball tournament, it will bring you to a listing of games. Click on Zoo Crew and then watch. Good to Levance and Gilbert, Biggs and McGhee out there. IT’s about an hour and 10 minute watch. Enjoy.


  81. Conner Heyward, son of Pitt great Ironhead is a SO at Mich State and is listed as the back-up RB.

    Conner was recruited as an Athlete and had many credible P5 offers, including Pitt.

    Just finishing a golf vacation and am catching up on POV – stumbled on to this bit of info…


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