Chris Peak has recently put up a couple of nice 3-2-1 columns where he looks back at a recruiting class and recaps that classes success (or lack thereof). I figured I’d do the same but with my own spin to get some discussion going. We’ll start with the 2015 class because there are still some 2015 players on the roster. Peak calls 2015 a “Transition Class”, meaning that it was a class that was recruited through a coaching transition. Peak also points out that Transition Classes are generally a little bit less productive after it’s all said and done, for obvious reasons. If you were to look at the class below, I think you would agree.
Still, there are a few players that have made it through to year five, and I’ll highlight them below.
The four players from the class that are still on the team (the “Super Seniors” if you will) are as follows:
CB – Dane Jackson
DB (Safety) – Jay Stocker
LB – Saleem Brightwell
WR – Tre Tipton
Of the four, I believe just one is a “Narduzzi guy” (Brightwell). I’m pretty sure the rest of them gave their verbals to Paul Chryst.
All of them should be expected to contribute this year.
Jackson (Two-Stars, 5.4) was good-to-very good last season. He broke up 14 passes, forced four fumbles and was named All-ACC Honorable Mention. I also saw a stat on Twitter that he had the best run-stopping % of any ACC corner, so there is that. This offseason, Jackson was named third-team preseason all-ACC by Athlon. Jackson has clearly outplayed his star ranking, and this is the kind of stuff you want to see from a fifth-year player.
Brightwell (Three-Stars, 5.6) has seen action for the last three years, and while he’s never really posted huge stats he’s proven to be smart and versatile. He switched to MLB from Money in 2016 and posted 73 tackles. He switched back to the Money last season and his production dropped off. Still, Brightwell has come up big in a big game at least once, and that’s the kind of thing that just can’t be coached.
Jay “Jazzee” Stocker (Three-stars, 5.7) will likely be the first safety off the bench this year, as long as Narduzzi holds true to his promise to make Paris Ford a starter. Stocker did better than you think last year (43 tackles, four pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble) and while you’d like to see a fifth year assert himself a little bit more (although you have to admit that Paris Ford justified the hype in the Spring Game), it’s a nice luxury to have Stocker’s level of production coming off of the bench. This really speaks to the depth that Narduzzi has developed in the secondary.
Tipton (Three-stars, 5.5) seems like the guy that gets talked about every offseason and then ends up hurt. This is disappointing because the consensus is that that he is a talented dude. Well, he’s being talked about again and so far no injuries, so that’s good. Tipton is also an exemplary human being who has poured his off-the-field energies into creating a student-driven support network for Pitt student athletes. You have to hope that Karma is going to do him right this season and he’ll finally post a breakout year. Keep your fingers crossed Pitt fans, and knock on a little wood while you are at it.
Alright that’s it for 2015. Have fun talking about these guys (and a few others that left their mark, like Henderson, Hall and Lopes!), I’ll post 2016 later this week.
Hail to Pitt