Big Recruiting Weekend

In case you haven’t been paying attention over the last several years, June is when Pitt makes its money in recruiting.

Last year there was a record haul (10 commits in one week).  I was going to write a long and detailed article about it, but the good people at Pittsburgh Sports Now beat me to the punch.

From the PSN Article:

Pitt Commitments From June 16-23:

DT Calijah Kancey

DE Bryce Nelms

DE Deandre Jules 

QB Davis Beville 

DB Brandon Hill 

LB Brandon George 

RB Vincent Davis 

DE Bam Brima

LB Kyi Wright 

TE Jason Collier 

I’ll point out that one of these recruits was Pitt’s only Rivals four-star (QB Davis Beville) and another was one of their two 5.7 three-stars (Vincent Davis).  Here is a link to the class.

This year, Pitt has at least 22 guys doing official visits this weekend.  Ironically none of them appear to be from Pennsylvania.

Also from PSN (they’ve got 19 listed):

2019 June Official Visit State-by-State Breakdown:

Florida: 5

Ohio: 5

Georgia: 4

Michigan: 2

New York: 1

New Jersey: 1

Maryland: 1

Chris Peak put up a pretty interesting and free podcast about the weekend on Pantherlair.

The odds are against us getting another ten commits this week, but the odds are that we will pick up a few.

Also noteworthy…a four star WR de-committed from Miami and he happens to be visiting Pitt this weekend.  (Bryan Robinson)

Many of you say Narduzzi can’t recruit.  If he flips a four-star from Miami you may want to reconsider your position.

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Last but not least…I’ll point out that our best two DE’s were lowly two-stars.  At least one of them appears poised for a very big year…

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Hail to Pitt…

 

Michaelangelo Monteleone

 

Finally a Man on the Inside

Finally a Man on the Inside

Author’s note:  This is a controversial piece so I am adding a disclaimer.   I wrote this because I’m tired of writing the same old “Narduzzi missed out on a talented local therefore he sucks at recruiting” piece. I’m equally as tired of writing “hey this guy really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things Narduzzi has other options” piece (which is incidentally pretty close to what I believe). Instead I opted to try my hand at a bit of satire, mostly because it was fun for me to write. Now it may not have turned out great (or depending on your POV maybe it did), so whether or not you laugh, chuckle, smile or think it’s the worst thing you’ve ever read, you should take it with a giant grain of salt. Narduzzi will hit and miss on many more local recruits over the years, and there is plenty of time for the kind of writing you are used to.  Hail to Pitt.

Central Catholic DE AJ Beatty has committed to the enemy. Not West Virginia. Not Penn State. Not even Syracuse. Nope, Pittsburgh Central Catholic’s AJ Beatty has committed to UNC.

There can only be one reason that a white, (presumably) middle class, private school kid from Pittsburgh would want to go to UNC (and nevermind the football).

Is the world-class education? Nope.

Is it because UNC is the second-most-highly-regarded semi-elite white-bread school in the country? (Duke would be the first). Nope.

Is it because Mac Brown has bag-men all over Allegheny County? Nope.

It’s because AJ Beatty is secretly in cahoots with Pat Narduzzi.

“Wait. What!?” You say, “AJ Beatty hates Pat Narduzzi. And by the looks of the tweet below, Narduzzi apparently doesn’t love AJ Beatty.”

Yup. That’s exactly what they want us to think.

The truth of course is that AJ Beatty is Narduzzi’s secret weapon. It’s really the only way to explain it.

Look, Pat Narduzzi has had four tries to beat UNC fair-and-square, and he’s failed. Well, the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results, so credit to Pat because he’s changed things up.

I’m pretty sure this is how it went down: Continue reading “Finally a Man on the Inside”

POV PSA: Great Veterans Shopping Benefits

POV PSA: Great Veterans Shopping Benefits

A while back the Armed Forces Exchange Services (their shopping venues) opened up the ability for any person who was Honorably Discharged from any branch to shop at their online exchange.  This is regardless of how much time the beneficiary served – years, months or even days – as long as they had been awarded a honorable discharge.

It used to be allowed for only Active Duty members, military Retirees or Disabled Veterans but that has changed.

This is a huge benefit because the Exchange system is mandated by law to sell their wares at Cost + 5% overhead pricing.  Plus there is no tax levied on purchases no matter how big the sale is.  That right there saves a ton of money on large buys.

Here is the website with the detailed information:

https://www.shopmyexchange.com/veterans

I hope readers share this info with anyone you know who served honorably no matter what the age. It is a fantastic benefit to have – but note it applies only to online shopping, not the brick and mortar Exchanges on the military bases.

I’m posting this because in my work with veterans I have found almost no one knows about this even though it was put into place back in 2017.  Here is a letter explaining this.

Thanks guys and HTP!

Reed

Athlon ACC Jeopardy

Athlon ACC Jeopardy

Athlon published their ACC predictions earlier this week.  Pitt got exactly two sentences.

Pitt also had one unit ranked as top-seven in the league.  It was the Defensive Line.  They were ranked #6.

Athlon picked Pitt to go 4-4 in the ACC, and 6-6 overall.  That would be good for 4th in the coastal, by Athlon’s reckoning.

Last but not least, Athlon picked players, coaches and team for 14 different ACC superlatives.  Given Athlon’s total lack of Pitt coverage, I think we should go with  ACC superlatives for $1000 Alex…

Feel free to post your answers, and don’t forget to phrase them as a question.

Offensive POY

This rising Sophomore quarterback threw for 3200 yards and 30 TD’s last season, against just four interceptions.  Some might say, “He caught a Tiger by the tail”.

Defensive POY

The “safe” bet for Clemson was to convert this rising Junior to linebacker last year.  They were rewarded with 97 tackles (9.5 for loss), three forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown.  

Coach of the Year

This former walk-on Wide Receiver currently holds three national championship rings, one of them as a player at the University of Alabama.  

Coach on the Hot Seat

This Italian-American football coach is known for his “ground and pound” offensive style.  It’s earned him a .500 record over his six ACC seasons, but just a .375 winning percentage in ACC play.

Top Freshman

This four-star quarterback announced his final college decision using two ball caps, a coke bottle and a mystery box.  Some think that his first ACC win will come against the Pittsburgh Panthers.  What team does he play for?

Top Newcomer

This former four-star quarterback waited his turn at Ohio State before transferring to the Miami Hurricanes and becoming immediately eligible .  He went 6 of 10 for 154 yards and two touchdowns in Miami’s 2019 spring game.  

Sleeper Team

These three teams finished in a three-way tie for the “sleeper team” award.  One is from Virginia and made a habit out of giving up long touchdown runs last season.  One is from the Northeast and won ten games last year.  The third is famous for its “turnover backpack”

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Key Position to Watch

This Team’s Offensive Line did not have blocking “in the bag”, as they were rated as the worst offensive line in the state of Florida last year by Football Outsiders. Sadly, their peer group included both Florida Atlantic and Florida International.  

Best Coordinator Hire

This offensive mastermind was part of the Baylor coaching staff from 2008 – 2016, and he has not coached for more than one year at any team since leaving Waco.

Hardest Team to Evaluate

In another three-way tie, two of the three teams are in Florida, and the other team just hired a head coach that will “flat-out” bring major changes the way the team plays.

Must See Game

These two teams battled it out in Death Valley last year.  If the outcome had been different, Pitt’s football season might been different too.

Breakout Player

This Clemson Defensive End was called “The Best Backup in College Football” by The Greenville News in 2018.  He shares a first name with Pitt’s best basketball player.

Comeback Player

This rising-Junior quarterback hails from Oakhurst, new Jersey, and threw for just 8 yards against the ACC champion Clemson Tigers last season.  (j/k!!!  I just wanted to throw all you kool-aid drinkers a bone.  Hail2Pitt!)

The actual answers can be found here 

Michaelangelo Monteleone

 

Pitt Athletics adds some Hart to its Fundraising Department

Pitt Athletics adds some Hart to its Fundraising Department

Now if they could just add some Verve and Charisma they’d really have something cooking…Heyoo!

In all seriousness though, I and many others on this blog have long railed against Pitt’s seeming ineptitude in the fundraising department.  As evidenced by this:

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Well someone in the Athletic department is either reading this blog, or they’ve finally come around to realizing that nothing is going to change if they don’t change something, and so action has been taken.

The result of this action was the hiring of Brady Hart as the “Senior Associate AD for Development”.  In other words, we now (finally) have a dude on the staff who is getting paid to convince important and wealthy people to give Pitt money.  Hopefully a lot of it.

Per Pitt’s Press release:

Hart, who spent the previous two years as an Associate Athletics Director at UCF, will be instrumental in the major gift strategy, staff development and initiatives for Pitt Athletics while also serving in a leadership role for an array of department-wide fundraising efforts.

Hart comes to Pitt by way of UCF and the University of Buffalo.  And whilst UCF kicked Pitt’s a** all over the field last season, the move to Pitt is ostensibly a step up in class.  Based on the job description above, Hart’s new role certainly seems like a step up in scope, and as fans we can only hope that Hart is up to the task.

Per Pitt’s AAD for Philanthropy and Engagement (i.e. Hart’s new boss), Chris McFarlane:

[Brady’s] development alongside some of the best athletics administrators in the country has turned Brady into one of the brightest rising stars in our industry.  I’m incredibly excited to add someone of Brady’s caliber to our team in such an important capacity.  I look forward to incorporating his passion and expertise as we continue to elevate the student-athlete experience and transform the competitive landscape for Pitt Athletics.

So do we.

Chris goes on:

Hart utilized his relationship building and revenue-generating background to build the Premium Sales division for UCF Athletics. He developed and led one of the most creative and innovative programs in college athletics, adding nearly $700,000 in new annual revenue for the Knights. 

Considering that UCF’s average attendance in 2018 was just north of 42,000 fans, and that was up from 36,000 in 2016 and 2017, Hart should be gunning for at least a million at Pitt.  Of course it will help if Narduzzi can figure out how to rattle off 25 straights wins and beat Auburn in a BCS bowl.  Nonetheless, Hart should have something to work with considering that our home attendance was up 15% last year, averaging just north of 44,000.  (Even though we won just a paltry 7 games…)

Hart brings some impressive credentials to Pitt:

  • Associate Athletic Director Job at G5 School, with track record of Success.  Check.
  • Five years at MAC school (Buffalo) with increasing responsibilities.  Check.
  • Graduate Assistantship at Ohio University for nearly two years.  Check.
  • Development assistant role at Cal State University.  Check.
  • Ivy League Education and Football Experience.  Check.
  • Hails from State College, PA.  Wait What???

As an inherent optimist, I’m going to be required to take the position of “Well maybe he grew up hating Penn State, since he was surrounded by it”, but I can tell you that I feel dirty doing it.  Real dirty.  I grew up in rural Pennsylvania.  I know how it is.  And if this guy ain’t Catholic (i.e. a Notre Dame fan…and this is the ONLY religious discussion I will tolerate on this board), then his mom probably has bumper sticker on her car that says “If God isn’t a Penn State Fan then why is the Sky Blue?”

God, I hate that bumper sticker.

But lets hope that I’m wrong.  Lets hope Hart becomes a Pitt Man and fills Pitt’s coffers to the brim.  And lets hope he sticks around for a while, because Pittsburgh is a hell of a town.  And lets hope that deep down he really does hate Penn State, if only because Joe Pa wouldn’t let him walk on.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

PS – I have no idea if Joe Pa would have let him walk on or not, nor do I have any idea if Hart even wanted to walk on, but I thought that closing statement had a hell of a ring to it.  If any of you happen to be contacted by Mr. Hart for premium seating, or a donation, or anything else, feel free to ask him about it.  I’m sure he’s got some stories to tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All-ACC Analysis

All-ACC Analysis

Athlon released it’s annual preseason All-ACC list about a week ago, and as you might expect, Pitt did not have many names on it.

Meanwhile at the newly-minted Those Guys You Know Pitt sports blog, a couple of young whippersnappers…er budding writers have had the chutzuph to name Kenny Pickett an All-ACC candidate.  Looking back at Pitt’s QB history, thaaat could be a stretch. Yes, most of us are optimistic about Kenny’s opportunity to develop into a productive starter in 2019, but all-ACC? You’ve got to be a pretty heavy kool-aid drinks to buy into that.

 Editor’s note:  In all seriousness though, do check out this blog, these guys write with a good energy and they are entertaining.  They remind me a lot of myself when I was that age….except I didn’t have blog and I had to write for one of those old-timey newspaper things that people actually had to pick up and read.  

Nonetheless, all this all-ACC talk got me thinking.  Primarily it got me thinking about Athlon’s track record of predicting Pitt’s all-ACC performers.  Then it got me thinking about how many all-ACC guys Pitt has had ice time m.  The next thing you know I had a couple of laptops in front of me and I’d fired up Excel.  Here are the results: Continue reading “All-ACC Analysis”