Note: I published this a day early so we could have a place to talk recruiting leading up to signing day on Weds.

Approximately 20 young men will sign a National Letter of Intent to play football for the University of Pittsburgh in the next 48 hours.  That is no small decision  Let’s welcome them into the fold!

150 thoughts on “Pitt Football: Early Signing Day Open Thread

  1. Here is the first gnashing.. Ok I will be the one. 🙂
    My only comment is that it looks it will be another average class. Let’s just hope the Duzz can mold some of them into above average players and maybe catch lightning in a bottle with one or two.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. BTW,.. we have a fan committee meeting on Thursday at The Pete, and will take in the bball game afterwards. I will update you with any important info, that is not confidential of course.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. You never know??? This could be the class that sends PITT over the top. First freshman 4* QB for PITT in a long while not including Voytik. Keep an eye on the Kancy kid and this Liam Dick OT looks to be a mean one Mr Grinch!

    Richman, you never spill the beans but I did hear that the colors are going to change just a little to darker shades? PITT will also try and re-incorporate the logo with the panther running over the block PITT???

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    1. Ike, our current (non-retro) colors are bad, especially the light tan color, so a change to retros is badly needed. BUT, if they are going slightly darker (than the current Retros), and I am reading you correctly, I would say that would be a very smart move. Especially the bright neon yellows I think would be a mistake, especially as a long term decision and final commitment. Interesting. I hope I read you right.

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  4. We will have at least one commit who will wait until the later date to sign, whether at Pitt or elsewhere. Jucos sign deadline is md January. This staff has closed well in early Feb the past few years; I don’t see how this new process should affect that.

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  5. Enthusiasm for Pitt DE Recruit Brandon Mack MIGHT have been a bit premature.

    Mack came up LAME (Literally and Figuratively) at Alabama vs Mississippi All-Star Practice!

    Who gets hurt at an All-Star Practice?

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  6. Rich, thanks to you for participating on the Fan Committee.
    You can wave to me and Scooter from the presidents box at the hoop game. Haha.

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  7. Pitt’s recruiting is flat over the past 4 years. Hopefully Pitt can land some more playmakers in this class.

    Rivals Avg Stars
    2016: 3.08
    2017: 3.04
    2018: 3.05
    2019: 3.05

    For comparison, Va Tech and Miami consistently average around 3.4 stars. Those teams land more playmakers.

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    1. TX – go back and look at the previous 4 years for Pitt prior to Duzz – average below 3.

      Regarding Va Tech – not 3.4 stars this year (yet) – right at 3.05

      Miami is at 3.4 this year – correct.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chryst was around 2.8
        He was not a very good recruiter
        Tech generally gets around a 3.3 average every year
        Miami generally gets plenty of 4 star talent
        Miami took a hit this year since half their class decommitted once Diaz left for Temple

        Its playmakers at certain positions that matter – QB, RB, WR, edge rusher, OLB, CB
        I cant really name one Pitt player that can take over a game…thats why talent and development are key
        Pitt needs to identify 3 playmakers on each side and then build a solid team around them

        QB is the one major thing holding back the offense (Note: an experienced and healthy line helps much)
        I like how the D is slowly coming together. Just disappointed that its taken so long and my expectations were very high (Mich St had a top 10 D with Narduzzi)

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        1. I’m not a Chryst fan, though I was thankful for the job he did here in his short tenure, but his recruiting was pretty good in my opinion, I suspect you’re going by stars but they are often wrong. What Chryst did was find really good developmental offensive linemen, and ran the ball very well as a result.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. Hey Tx and not being a smart ass and with all respect but what O-lineman did Chryst recruit that wasn’t a local kid that was highly regarded? Any 4 or 5 star lineman from out of town? I ask.

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  8. Hoping for the best but not expecting too much. The beat downs vs. Miami and Clemson seem to have hurt a little, plus telling Koontz he would be a blocking tight end was honest but dumb.

    The loss of N’Dir really hurts the Bball teams chances to win any ACC games. Probably their best all-around player right now, most experienced, best defender, solid ball handler, who gets to the hoop and can shoot a little. Kham Davis likely to get a few more minutes, and McGowen’s will be your second point guard. Pretty big drop off in both areas. Wilson-Frame likely to get more minutes which could be good or bad.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m hoping we land 5 solid, developmental offensive linemen, including a few OT’s. Man do we need it.

    I agree Gordon, the N’Dir loss is big. He’s been up and down a little, but certainly one of our better players on a team that is lacking depth. And this leaves us without a good backup at PG, which is a real bummer. Fortunately, by the time January comes around, it will already be 3 weeks out for him. I sure hope McGowen improves, we could really use him.

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  10. Not sure if more or fewer recruits are signing by the early date this year. Narduzzi made a big deal of getting the signatures by the Dec signing date last year, but if fewer recruits are signing early then he may be losing kids by pressuring them to sign now. We haven’t heard of PN flipping any recruits either. The Miami and Clemson losses my have been more damaging than previously thought given the Coastal title boost.

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  11. Couple things:

    Liam Dick is in fact a real person and I believe from Canada so I’m thinking he is an under the radar type player. I watched his highlights and he looks like the real deal and nasty too.

    1618, Yeah, I believe the colors for next year will be retro with deeper shades of yellow and blue. and they will be the full-time uni’s.

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    1. If we can get Dick and Mahogany Birds will at least have something to work with. Need to get at least one. Getting both would be ideal.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Love is a Raleigh kid who snubbed the local Big 3- Heels, Pack and the Dookies….hope we get a surprise from a local kid – meaning that in the positive sense of the word.

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    1. Not really BigB when you consider how one dimensional our offense was this past season. The only offensive position that should have been easy for us to recruit was for RB. And we seem to have down well there. But IMO our offense this year has hurt us dramatically on the recruitment for offensive talent. WR’s and TE’s(with our non pass O) and OLmen that only need to run block are not what most potential recruits are looking for if they want a chance at the NFL.

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  13. I don’t think there is much shame in losing an eastern player to Stanford. Like the TE verbal from New England (Symonds) <sp) who had verbal-ed to PITT and then changed his mind? You know the player, the one that everyone got up in arms about because he was a lowly two star and then complained when he de-committed? Similar to losing out to ND and other bigger name schools. The young man’s heart is set on it and no changing his mind.

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  14. Tight end is a dying position. Not a big deal … as long as the offense adapts to it. If all we’re using the TE for is additional blockers they can convert all the left over DE’s we’ve been collecting.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thus the caveat “as long as the offense adapts to it”. I hate the pro-style offense. If the death of the tight end is the catalyst for change, I’m all for it. Haha. Good riddance.

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    1. There was a very long thread on the Lair about Liam that Peak eventually deleted. It does lend itself to a little bit of adolescent joking that I did find both amusing and disturbing at the same time. But this young man is no joke.

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  15. In order for Duzz’s defense to work the 4 man front has to get pressure. The failure of the defense all starts there. Leaving the corners on an island is contingent upon the QB having to get rid of the ball before the WR’s can get into their routes. Once the ball is in the air early, the safeties can be ball hawks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, I think many know what it takes to be really successful with a Narduzzi/Bartes defense. But how are you going to convince the 4 and 5 star defensive lineman that Clemson and Miami trotted out to come to Pitt before going elsewhere? So Narduzzi and Bates will have to get a lot lucky with his 3 star DL and LB recruits in order to establish that pressure. How I would love to watch our opposition QB’s be under the same pressure that I watched Pickett endure for much of the past season.

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  16. ^^ …………. and TT, that’s exactly what happened to PITT a few years ago when they had Ejaun Price rushing the QB. The old hike and heave and it worked against PITT. Of course the constant pushing offs by their opposition that were never called didn’t help the matter at all. btw, Weaver and Jones the second will be in the backfield all of next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wait until February signing for the Pat signals. All the horses but one are in the barn for tomorrow’s signing – fingers crossed.

      No surprises and Mack will wait until February.

      Tough to play without my 7 and 9 irons…

      H2P!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I watched part of espns mock draft show earlier this week and they have Clemson’s DE and DT both going not just in the 1st round, but in the top 5 overall picks.

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  18. Took a look at our southern ACC “equals” and saw several signing lineman from Pitt’s backyard.

    Virginia with two 4* lineman – OH and PA
    Duke – one lineman each from OH, PA and NJ
    North Carolina – one lineman from PA
    Miami – one from NY
    NC State – one from NJ
    W_F – one from NJ

    Pitt has one from NY and one from WV – hoping for two more tomorrow on the offensive side of the line.

    I’m bullish on the five Olineman Pitt has on it’s roster from the WPIAL – would Lyke to see a WPIAL flip from ND tomorrow.

    H2P!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. if you want to look at it like that, then the majority of Pitt signings is from the South … including a 4* from FL and one from SC

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    2. I don’t think the WV guy is committing tomorrow. I saw an PSN headline but it’s insider stuff so not sure the details behind it. So yes we may only have one o-line in this class which would be an issue

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  19. Using the average Rivals stars to judge a recruiting class can be a bit misleading. The Rivals scores is a superior measurement as it provides a bit more granularity. As an example from the 2018 recruit class…

    ……..Avg…….Avg
    ……..Stars…..Score
    VT….3.31……5.66
    Pitt…3.05……5.64

    Note that VT appeared to have a noticeable edge in stars, but when looking at the average score the programs are essentially the same. In other words, B- vs C+ isn’t that big of a difference, but saying a class is a “B” and an other is a “C” paints a different picture. Choose the brush of your choice, but I’ll avoid the broad one.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pitt had ten 5.7 rated recruits in that class
      A 5.8 rating is a 4 star and Tech had 9 of them

      so I would think 2018 should be a good recruiting year for Pitt
      But we’ll know in 4 years for a comparison
      There must have been some reason that Rivals didnt bump these Pitt players to a 4 star (just needed 0.1 more points). Tech had three such players that year.

      Now look to this year and Pitt only has 2 recruits rated 5.7
      and if you look at the offers of all recruits this year compared to 2018’s class, its not real impressive.

      Narduzzi has slipped with this 2019 class
      But he’s got maybe 6 scholies left to give and might close well.

      If this 4 star QB is the next Marino, its the best class in 40 years

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  20. The Boca Raton Bowl pitting UAB vs UNI begins in in a few minutes (7) on ESPN. At halftime, they will crown the nation’s best fullback …. and yes, Legend Aston is among the finalists

    Liked by 1 person

  21. — Never good to get an injury, but I’d rather see N’Dir out the first half of the ACC schedule than later. Seems to me our schedule is very tough early on and the more winnable games are later in the season when he should be back…

    — We definitely need a TE and a OC ready, willing and able to use him in the passing game… Only have to go back to Orndoff; he had a big, positive impact.

    — Tough to evaluate Olinemen. We have on the roster some guys who were highly recruited, so we shall see what that means. I suspect the new line will do okay next season after a couple games of getting mistakes corrected…

    Go Pitt!

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  22. IMO, today we are in a much better position than we were at this time last year. And I think next year the arrow is pointing up for PITT. It’s all part of the process. I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise tomorrow. I don’t know what that might be because there’s been no real buzz, but I’m hopeful for some football bounty. H2P

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  23. FWIW, both Rivals and 247 are predicting 3* OL Christian Mahogany of NJ to Pitt. But since this is Pitt and he is an OL, I’m predicting Rutgers

    This is like the BB team getting a Center

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  24. 14th ranked undefeated just beat Cuse at the Dome by 12. They have this guy Massinburg who scored 25, he had something like 40 when they won at EVU in November. While I don’t think they a Final 4 threat, they have a good team and coach

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      1. Buffalo was 10 for 33 from 3; the Orange were 6 for 22.

        Orange were 5 for 13 on foul shots.

        Maybe we got a shot against the Orange…

        Go Pitt.

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        1. Buffalo also crushed former Pitt great Sean Miller’s Arizona Wildcats in last year’s NCAA tournament … they have a very good basketball program as of late.

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    1. note that neither Brandon Mack or Nick Malone is included in Pantherlair list of expected signees. Mack has stated he will wait until Feb to sign while it was reported yesterday that Malone was not signing, but I don’t know why

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      1. Pitt likely told Malone he was no longer a take. His offer sheet is so underwhelming. I hope Pitt told him during the season that there won’t be a spot for him so Nick could look around.

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  25. Both 4-stars (Carter & Beville) have signed

    all but 4 expected commits have signed, and Brima, DE from Williamsport, stated that he will sign later this afternoon. Thus, the only expected suspense is what Liam Dick will do (since I guess that Mohogany’s offer has been pulled)

    Liked by 1 person

  26. LOL Ike…after the Fiesta Bowl beatdown by Utah in 2005 me and Scooter stop at a rib joint to ease the pain and as we walk in that’s what we heard playing at the bar. We had to laugh…

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  27. Pitt currently has 11 OL on the roster for next year. Twelve with the new recruit. That is two deep at each position plus two. If defections and injury occur, which normally do, they may not have a two deep. What is this staff thinking? You must have several OL each class as they do with the DL.

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        1. We’ll see where we end up ranking-wise, we may or not change, but frankly regardless of the ranking (which can be very misleading), I’m not thrilled with this class for the simple reason that I don’t feel we’ve addressed our needs with good looking prospects, namely the OL & TE position. It will help a lot if we get Liam Dick, but even then our numbers/quality are short. On the defensive side of the ball, I really like Kancey & Nelms but we are really lacking in LBs. So who knows, I was thinking from earlier posts we’d wind up at 35 and that now looks accurate, but I’m more concerned with quality/distribution thus far.

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      1. Can’t imagine many on this board(me included) who would have thought Pitt could win the Coastal or go to any bowl after losing to NC. So despite ending this regular season rather badly at Miami and against Clemson most will probably save any wet dreams until next season.—I think Pitt will surprise many and beat Stanford come 12/31.

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  28. Just to clear up any question about the importance of Tight Ends and the peril of Narduzzi’s apparent inability to recruit and hold on to GOOD ones.

    Contrary to some reports (Fake Posts)… the use of Tight Ends is actually trending UPWARD!

    The following from ESPN.

    xxxxx

    “In 2012, Power 5 teams averaged 491 offensive snaps per season using at least one tight end. In 2016, that number was up to 500”

    xxxxx

    Problem is… Tight Ends continue to be a RARE Breed. That puts a PREMIUM on High School Kids who fit the bill… basically BIG Kids who can run and play both out in the SLOT and INSIDE as an additional Tackle.

    However, more and more… it appears TEs are being called upon to also fulfill the role of Fullback which is the REAL Recruited Position now in decline.

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  29. BTW, after checking on rivals they do not have Carter as signed but he has signed. << You know, the 4* running back from Florida. Vincent Davis is also listed in some circles as a 4* running back from Florida.

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  30. Solid Class. Time will tell how they develop individually. Average 3 stars is not terrible at all.

    For 2020, it would be great if Coach Johnson can convince his OL son Paris, to join him at Pitt. It takes an early, highly ranked national recruit, to get other highly ranked kids to follow, making a class special.

    Also, I do not agree with Pitt not offering the Woody High TE who is already ranked as a 3 star as a junior. Typically, they don’t rank em this early in the process. I would expect that it means the kid may escalate to a 4 star. Offer now.

    With respect to OL Malone, my sense is that if Liam Dick signs, they will completely rescind the offer. If Liam Dick does not sign, perhaps he is the insurance policy. I am fine with that strategy and have voiced that often here.

    Maybe Thrift and Devonshire too?

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  31. I don’t get it, even if they are successful with signing LD, I would think we could use 2 more OL on top of that, or at least one more (not that I’d sign Malone anyway, I think I’d go JUCO before him).

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  32. lol. Googled that quote about TE usage and the very next paragraph …

    “The result, in some offenses, is that the tight end has become basically a big receiver who plays in the slot and doesn’t block as often as 20th century tight ends did. Speed is now more in demand at the position. In 2007, the average NFL scouting combine 40-yard dash times for drafted tight ends was 4.75 seconds. In 2017, that time was all the way down to 4.62 seconds.”

    Like I said … a dying position. The TE is just a big slot receiver now. Pitt is recruiting for a dual threat TE (blocking and receiving) … they are a unicorn now … because the pro-style offense is dying.

    Switch to a spread and you’ll have access to those 6’5″ 230 lb WR’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. You need the right QB to run the spread. Not sure Pickett would be very effective with the spread considering that he seldom goes off his primary receiver on any pass play.

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  34. Some good offers for LD, good pickup for us, at a position of great need. Still would like 2 more OL, wondering if we plan on going JUCO, or if we think we can get more in the Spring?

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    1. You have to think they are saving a spot for a grad transfer or two. But they do have a lot of RS frosh depth at OL, so they can get by with two signees this year plus that big tight end who can convert to OT. That’s 3 developmental OL prospects and if you do that every year you consistently have around 15 guys which is 3 deep.

      Liked by 3 people

  35. TEs allow the O to attack the 8-10 yard zone in the middle of the field…Orndorf was capable at 12-15 yds+…they can delay with blocking and slip into a cleared zone..use height advantage against a LB..goal line situations where they slip behind the D line of scrimmage…great football to watch and pretty darn elementary except at PITT….and totally missing…makes the our schizo O easier to defend.. I love a TE-remeber Joel Klimek bailing Dave Havern and John Hogan’s arses out a a few occassions…wonder if Gronk was a TE recruit…do you think they)Watson) would involve him in the passing game ???

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  36. Jason Collier TE up to 292 lbs Narduzzi said in his PC today. I don’t think he’ll be playing much TE at Pitt. But then again maybe Watson will never call a pass play were he doesn’t have to go beyond 5 yards past the line of scrimmage.

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  37. Kaleb Boateng signs with Clemson… we quit recruiting him – wonder if that was the reason or if just another DUH moment like Koontz’s recruitment….

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  38. I’m guessing that Onye Ezeakudo was a walk on, or partial scholarship for this year since Pitt had one available. It appears he is a slightly above average PG that scores about 12-13 points per game. Can’t seem to find if he has played any ball since high school.

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  39. Maybe Salem went to visit Boateng and said, hey kid, come to Pitt! We do not believe in emphasizing the offensive line or blocking at all. You will be successful here.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. —I suspect the Temple kid is going to end up playing TE instead of DE. He just moves more like an offensive player — plus we have a ton — literally — of DEs on the roster…

    — I like the RB Vincent Davis. Looks like he has big-time acceleration. And he’s somewhat shifty but still needs to work on planting the foot… For a smaller guy, he runs tough.

    Go Pitt.

    Like

    1. How about Temple at outside linebacker with his speed? Was Curtis Bray the last tall linebacker with size and speed to play at Pitt? Sure seems like it.

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  41. Just saw Governor Wolf is considering beginning the process to discuss potential legalization of recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania…this could change our tailgates in a major way. 😎
    I can see it now…a six pack and 3 tables of brownies.

    Liked by 5 people

  42. We’ve already ID’d the brownie cooks –

    My optimism has diminished since the miami and clemson beat downs. I was brought up to honor my father and mother – I carry that same mentality with the university that provided me with a great education. So I reframe from too much negative commenting –

    True story: I woke up yesterday and Pitt FB had 19 recruits with verbal commitments and they were ranked 36th on Rivals.

    When I woke up this morning, the same Pitt FB team has 20 committed recruits and is ranked# 39 on Rivals.

    For both ESPN and 247Sports, Pitt FB is ranked 45th nationally in recruiting and on 247Sports, we are ranked 9th in the ACC.

    Hmmm…

    Liked by 1 person

  43. All things considered, seeing how schizo this past season was for Pitt football, I’ll take a mid 30 to mid 40 recruiting class ranking this year. Considering the politics of the recruiting site business, that is not at all bad.

    Of coarse it means the coaching staff MUST be up to snuff in coaching these kids up – the talent is there, most 3 stars need to be coached well in the fundamentals to use it properly and improve…but improving a 3 star is WAYYYY easier then coaching up a 2 star recruit.

    Duzz and his staff have their tutoring work cut out for his 5th year of tenure – it’s time to show they can cut the bait. No excuses allowed anymore. I’m confident they can step up to the plate. If not, snipe away.

    H2P

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This morning Pitt recruiting is ranked 50th with 247Sports, 47th with ESPN (Mack’s de-committ is not recorded yet, so that # will get worse) and 43rd for Rivals.

      Folks, there are (64) P5 college football teams. Pitt football has dropped to the bottom half of the rankings. Yes, I know we won the Coastal Division, but I believe the recruiting rankings of the current, collective roster was closer to 32, not 50.

      The trend is downward and that greatly concerns me.

      As a business owner, I receive a “dashboard” of key indicators every morning from my Accounting Mgr that help me make leadership decisions for the company. Recruiting rankings has to be a key indicator for future success in CFB. Someone at Pitt needs to turn the lights on.

      Maybe coach Salem is the coach that gets the axe this offseason – some have said he is the best recruiter Pitt has – if you believe that, just read the articles about his approach to TE recruiting. He could use a good night’s sleep anyways.

      I’m toeing the line right now with being negative, critical, whatever you want to call it, so I’ll take a break and head off to work.

      H2P!

      Like

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