If you haven’t been paying attention, National Early Signing Day is Thursday, and it’s an opportunity for Pitt to lock in around 15 – 17 commitments (depending on how things go over the next couple of days).  Rivals has Pitt’s current class ranked 46th, which about what you’d expect from a Pat Narduzzi class.

If you adjust for quality over quantity however, and sort the rankings by average stars, Pitt ranks around 26th (I had to manually count so I might be off by one or two).  That puts Pitt ahead of such notable programs as Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Tech and USC (Southern Cal not South Carolina).

In fairness, both Wisconsin and West Virginia are actually just right behind Pitt (3.12 stars per player, Pitt is 3.13)  The Hoos and (surprisingly) USC are close (3.08 / 3.0).  The biggest surprise however, is Virginia Tech.  They’ve got 11 commits, with zero four stars, seven three stars and four (count ’em) two-star players.  That’s good for an average of 2.64.  Ouch.  The Hokie faithful better hope Fuente has some serious scouting and player development chops.  Gobble gobble.

Pitt, meanwhile has landed a very Pat Narduzzi-esque total of two four-star players, and has reeled-in three more 5.7’s (which are just a hair away from being rated four-stars).  That’s 30-33% of the total class, which is pretty typical of Narduzzi.

By comparison (since coach Narduzzi has guaranteed that Pitt will win the ACC within the “next couple of years“) Clemson has landed 22 commits to Pitt’s 15.  Just four Clemson commits are three star players.  So to drive home my point, Pitt has two four star players in this class.  Clemson has twenty.  Given Clemson also has one of the finest coaching staffs that money can buy, and Pitt, well has a more…value-oriented…coaching staff, well…the Panther faithful better hope Narduzzi has some serious scouting and development chops.

That’s what Narduzzi does? Right?  Scout and develop? Because that’s what we optimists have been selling ourselves on for the better part of five years now.  Lets open up the Crootin’ Time Capsule to find out.

We’ll do Pat’s first two full classes.  Impact players in BOLD.  (Spoiler alert – there are more of them on defense than on offense).

Pat Narduzzi’s Pitt 2016 Class

  • Commits:  24
  • Rivals Rank:   29
  • Four stars:  5
  • Percent 5.7 or Higher:  29%

Damar Hamlin – 5.9 – Two year starter and arguably one of the top safeties in the ACC, even if he was snubbed for all ACC Honors.  71 tackles and nine passes defended in 2019.  Will graduate this year and play in the NFL.

Ruben Flowers – 5.8 – WR –  Washed out

Kaezon Pugh – 5.8 – LB – Washed out

George Hill – 5.8 – RB (ATH) – Medical condition prevented from playing

Amir Watts – 5.8 – DT – Two year starter.  All ACC Honorable Mention as a senior.  May project as a late round pick or free agent in the NFL.  (Yes yes Reed, we know that all ACC HM is a bone thrown to teams by the sportswriters, but it still means they thought a player good enough to be in the top 1/4 of the league, and that counts for something.  With that being said, you’d think a four star would develop into first or second team , hence Watts is not labeled as an “impact player”)

Therran Coleman – 5.7 – DB – Career backup.  Entered transfer portal as a grad transfer this year.

Keyshon Camp – 5.7 – DT – Injured two years in a row as starter.

Thomas MacVittie – 5.6 – QB – Transferred to community college.  Now backup QB for Kansas.

Chawntez Moss – 5.6 – RB – Played two years from Pitt before leaving team.  Averaged 5.4 YPC as a freshman, 2.8 YPC as a sophomore.  Did not play college football after Pitt.

Chase Pine – 5.6 – Linebacker – Rotational player at Linebacker for last two years.  18 total tackles, four TFL, 0.5 sacks as a Junior this year playing behind Florida transfer Kylan Johnson.

Maurice Ffrench – 5.6 – WR – Two year starter.  Caught 84 balls as a senior (but just 8.2 YPC).  Named third-team all-ACC.  Missed last three games with a broken jaw or probably would have totaled close to 100 receptions.  Will probably get a chance in an NFL camp as a kick returner and possibly slot receiver.  

Bryce Hargrove – 5.6 – OG – Converted D-Lineman.  Started two games in 2018.  Started every game in 2019.  Named third team all-ACC.  I’m naming him an Impact Player, but would he start at Clemson?

Zack Gilbert – 5.6 – DE – Medical condition prevented from playing

Phil Campbell – 5.6 – LB (ATH, converted Safety) – played well in a platoon with Cam Bright at Star Linebacker.  52 tackles, 6 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FF.  Fast Forward to Cam Bright to see why Campbell is highlighted as an Impact Player.  

Henry Miller – 5.6 – DB – Transferred prior to 2019 season.

Aaron Matthews – 5.6 – WR – High School QB who flipped from Penn State because PSU wanted him to play defense and the Duzz promised him a shot at Receiver.  To his credit, Matthews has stuck with it, and he has turned into one of the best blocking WR’s in the ACC (if not the FBS), but… his pass catching skills never seemed to blossom.  Nonetheless, Matthews will go down in college football history as the man who thew the “Pitt Special” touchdown pass to break Central Florida’s 27 game regular season winning streak.  That technically doesn’t qualify him as an impact player, but I ask you, would Pitt have had a guy that could have thrown that pass if Matthews has been playing for Penn State?

Brandon Ford – 5.5 – OL – Career backup who left the team in 2019.

Bricen Garner – 5.5 – DB – Career back up who has actually played less as he’s gotten older.

Rashad Wheeler – 5.5 – DT – Backup defensive tackle who was switched to the offensive line this past off-season.  Ended up as the starting fullback.  While it’s probably unfair to compare him to George Aston, he’s no George Aston.

Zack Williams – 5.5 – OL – No longer on the team.

Justin Morgan – 5.5. – OL – No longer on the team either.

Patrick Jones – 5.4 – DE – Had breakout season in 2019 as a Junior.  41 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 1 PD, 4 forced fumbles.  Voted second team all-ACC.  

Rashad Weaver – 5.4 – DE – Had breakout season in 2018 as a Sophomore.  Injured during camp.  Expected to be one of the top pass rushing DE’s in the ACC in 2020 if he comes back at 100%.

Elias Reynolds – 5.3 – LB – Surprisingly productive as a Sophomore, notching 49 tackles and 3.5 TFL in a platoon situation.  Saw his playing time and productivity reduced in 2019, as he totaled just eight tackles in three games.  He and Pitt “mutually parted ways” about four games into the season.

Pat Narduzzi’s Pitt 2017 Class

  • Commits:  24
  • Rivals Rank:   36
  • Four stars:  3
  • Percent 5.7 or Higher:  25%

Paris Ford – 6 – Safety – Statistically the top defensive back in the NCAA in 2019, and was somehow snubbed for the Jim Thorpe Award (Side note I grew up in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and as a Pitt fan I would like to say that the town of Jim Thorpe has absolutely nothing to do with the Jim Thorpe Award, other than sharing the name).  79 tackles, 3 int, 1 TD, 9 PD, 3 FF.  Will play in the NFL, either this year or next. 

Charles Reeves – 5.9 – TE – Will forever be stuck in Pitt fans’ mind as “the one who got away”.  Transferred from Pitt prior to the 2018 season.  Was it because he wasn’t good enough or was it because he saw the writing on the wall as far as Tight End usage in Shawn Watson’s offense?  Probably the former because he played in only three games at Youngstown State last season and did not register a stat.

AJ Davis – 5.8 – RB – Started at running back in 2019 and seemed to play better as the season went on.  Solid runner, but production was a bit underwhelming for a four-star guy out of Florida, even if he was playing in Mark Whipple’s pass heavy attack and running behind a suspect offensive line.  126/532/4.2/4.  Did catch 22 balls for 264 yards so that is something.

Kyle Nunn – 5.6 – LB – Nicknamed the “Sewer Rat” a couple of offseasons ago by Pat Narduzzi.  May have seen the field on special teams this year.

Kenny Pickett – 5.5 – QB – Did a yeoman’s work under center (and out of the shotgun…) in 2019, his second full year as a starter.  Finished 14th in passing attempts and 96th in passer rating.  Threw 10 TD’s against nine interceptions.  At the same time he led three game winning drives and played through an injured shoulder for most of the season, as well as catching the aforementioned game winning TD pass against Central Florida.  His stats would have been a tick better if Pitt’s receivers didn’t drop an average of 2.7 passes per game, but he can’t be considered an impact player unless he vastly improves upon his meagre 117 passer rating.

Cam Bright – 5.5 – LB – played well in a platoon with Phil Campbell at Star Linebacker.  56 tackles, 9 TFL, .5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF, one very long scoop-and-run fumble recovery that helped us avoid an embarrassing loss against Georgia Tech.  

Side Note:  Cam Bright + Phil Campbell combined production out of the Star Linebacker Spot:  108 tackles, 15 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 3 FF, one very long scoop-and-run fumble recovery that helped us avoid an embarrassing loss against Georgia Tech.   That’s first-team All-ACC / borderline All-American production folks.  

Darian Street – 5.5. – WR – Transferred

Todd Sibley – 5.7 – RB – Played well in a couple of games. Played poorly in others.  Seemed to be hurt more often than not.  Seems to have all the tools but needs to work on his patience and vision.

Carson Van Lynn – 5. 5 – OT – Backup tackle in 2019.  Blocking TE in 2018.  OL Coach Dave Borbley spoke highly of him during the offseason but he couldn’t seem to unseat grad transfer Nolan Ulizio at right tackle, and Ulizio was not exactly stellar.

Albert Tucker – 5.5 – DB / LB – Special Teams

Dontavius Butler-Jenkins – 5.5 – WR – Played a little but was surpassed on the depth chart by true Freshman Jared Wayne.

Gabe Houey – 5.5 – OL – Starting right Guard in 2019.  Did not play particularly well early in the season but seemed to improve as the season went on.  Solid if unspectacular at this point in his career.

Tyler Sear – 5.5 – TE – The other one who got away.  If he’d kept a cooler head in 2018 he might have actually been able to catch some passes for Pitt this year.  Instead he played in one game for Temple in 2019 and did not register a stat, so was he really the one who got away?

Grant Carrigan – 5.5 – TE – A workmanlike blocker who never complains.  Was a redshirt sophomore in 2019.  Now weighs in at 6-7, 280 so everyone thinks he’ll eventually move to Tackle a’la Brian O’Neil.  Pitt probably has to add a few more quality Tight Ends first.

Side note: Pitt picked up two TE commits on Monday.  Florida Grad Transfer (and former JUCO) Lucas Krull, and JUCO Daniel Moraga.   Moraga is may not be quite talented enough for a FBS roster (but we’ll see) and Krull,if you read between the lines on this PSN article, has all the talent you need, but seems to lack discipline and/or dedication.  Both are no more than band-aids to help cover a gaping hole in the roster, but if Pitt can land an actual freshman TE recruit they should help bridge the gap until some homegrown talent is ready. And no, do not pin your hopes on converted linebacker and redshirt freshman Kyi Wright.  Yes he’s talented, but it’s highly unlikely he’s developed the necessary skill set to make an impact at Tight End in just one year.   

Carter Warren – 5.7 – OT – Started at Left Tackle for Pitt in 2019 and it showed.  Wasn’t bad at times, but was pretty bad at others.  Will probably be serviceable next season after a year of experience and another offseason of development.

Jerry Drake – 5.5 – OT – Backup offensive lineman

Damarri Mathis – 5.7 – DB – Pro Football Focus will tell you that overall he’s statistically one of the best corners in the ACC and likely top 30 in the NCAA.  Did not receive any all-ACC honors.  Had a few lapses in a few games but for the most part played really solid in pass coverage.  2 INT, 11 passes defended.  

Jason Pinnock – 5.5 – DB – Another very solid performer at corner.  Tweaked his hammy against UCF and wasn’t quite the same after that, but when healthy looked a lot like a lockdown corner to me.  1 INT, 7 PD.  

Side Note:  Assuming that Mathis and Pinnock split time opposite of Dane Jackson, overall production was pretty damn good.  35 tackles, 3 INT, 18 PD.  18 Passes Defended would be tops in the country if it was attributed to one single player.  Without actual snap count data it’s hard to tell if this is an apples to apples comparison though.

Michael Smith – 5.6 – WR – A much ballyhooed recruit who has not yet contributed.

Kam Carter – 5.6 – DT – Turns out that Pitt actually was the last chance for this former PSU recruit who came to Oakland via Last Chance U.

Jaylen Twyman – 5.6 – DT – 2nd team All American twice over.  38 tackles, 12 TFL, 10.5 sacks, 1 pass defended.  When fresh he is outstanding, but clearly gets winded after three plays in a row.  Needs to work on his conditioning to truly be counted among the all time great Pitt defensive linemen (and that holds whether or not he decides to leave early for the NFL)

Owen Drexel – 5.4 – C – Backup Center

Kirk Christoudoulu – 5.3 – Punter – Wildly inconsistent punter who is very good when he’s good and maddeningly bad when he’s not.  Placekicker Alex Kessman took over his punting duties midway through the season and Pitt recruited a punter in the 2020 class.  Will the Aussie be around next season?

The windup (and I’ll keep this short because it’s late and I’m tired) is that that Duz’s 29th ranked 2016 class generated just five impact players.  His 36th ranked 2017 class generated six.  Seven if you count walk-on all-ACC center Jimmy Morrissey (who is not included above)  That’s thirteen impact players in total (and four of them platooned across two positions…)  Of the thirteen, just three were on offense (Ffrench, Hargrove and Morissey).

Of course this surprise anyone.  It just proves what we already know.  The Duzz can evaluate and attract talent to his defense … and as far as the defense is concerned, stars kind of don’t matter.  Most of the “impact players” above were three stars or less. (Although Paris Ford is every bit as good as his 6.0 rating and Duz would take more of him if he could get him).

Sadly, Pat has not shown the ability to do any of the above (evaluate or attract) talent on  offense (at least not in the 2016 or 2017 classes).  Perhaps it’s because of OC turnover, or maybe he just sucks at recruiting (although that’s probably to true because then his defense would be bad too).  Or maybe it’s just plain bad luck.  Regardless of the reason, the Duzz better figure it out fast, or that promise of an ACC championship will feel just as hollow as an upset loss to a 5-6 BC squad at home.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

PS – if you are into recruiting  you should gift yourself a subscription to pantherlair.com this holiday season.  You get 25% of and a $75 Nike gift card, so basically your subscription is free.  Here is the link if you are interested.  The forums are a tremendously good source of recruiting information.

PS 2 – there are many more conclusions to be drawn from the above data.  Please feel free to dive in.

 

 

74 thoughts on “Crootin’ Time Capsule

  1. Great read & write up, You are behind in the recruiting news but does show the fluidity of recruiting. This morning, I checked rival’s & they have added our new TE – Daniel Morago as a 5.4 2 star. As the 16’th recruit he upped our ranking to #44 but lowered Pitt’s avg. star rating to 3.06.

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    1. Thanks Richard. Yes he wasn’t listed in the rivals commit list at 11 pm last night. Well I guess we are being out recurred by Potato Paul and WVU yet again.

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  2. Good article MM.

    A couple thoughts…

    No matter what Narduzzi states, Pitt may make the ACC championship game again, but they will never win it as long as Clemson is Clemson of today. Therefore we can’t and never should compare the Pitt program to Clemson. Compare us to Virgina, Syracuse, BC, UNC, Duke, etc.

    I disagree about the one TE recruit not being counted on. I believe he is the #1 TE in California Juco and will have two years to develop. I assume he can be here for spring ball. The longer he is with Dave Andrews the better.

    I thought Warren played well for a first time starter at blind side tackle. He and Kradel/Houey will make the same jump Hargrove did from year one to two.

    I keep saying this and I may be full of crap, but the offense is a year behind the D in development. Especially the OL. Next year, four returning starters on the OL. If they aren’t good next year, they never will be under Narduzzi. His development philosophy worked on D, time will tell on offense.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Couple thoughts…

    Would not surprise me in the least if an NFL team either drafted or signed Matthews to develop as a TE. Good blocking skills, reliable receiver, is 6′ 4″….but he probably needs to add 20lbs.

    Christodoulu needs to quick hanging out with Jordan Berry. Both have been inconsistent. What is it with these Aussies?

    Interesting analysis Maestro – enjoyed it as always.

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  4. Mike – thanks for another excellent write up. I’m not real hot on * ratings, since someone on here said the NFL is made up of a considerable % of 3*s.

    I just wish we could have a really productive O to complement our terrific D; I just wish we could have a shutdown D to complement our prolific O – instead of alternating the 2 .

    BTW, what the heck is a Crootin’? Something you put on top of a salad??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The nfl is made up of more two and three stars than anything else. Only because there are thousands of them whereas there are less than 400 four and five stars each year. The right way to look at it is by percentages. Last I checked, nearly half of all five stars make it to the pros. Less than 5 percent of two stars however.

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        1. there are only about 50 five stars each year. Literally thousands of 2 stars or un-ranked recruits. Its a plain numbers game.

          The elites are so successful because 70% or more of their rosters are comprised of 4 and 5 stars. No BCS team in the past 5 years has achieved under 60%. There was a recent article on this. Proves that stars do matter if you want to win championships…or have a good shot at making it to the NFL.

          All Pitt needs to do is compete in the Coastal. That shouldn’t be too difficult but Pitt does need to step up its game. Its being passed by NC and Ga Tech.

          The most important position is QB. When and if Pitt finds that person, Pitt will be successful unless the defense falls apart.

          I dont view a 7 win season as a success.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. BTW Tx, you also answered your own question of why PITT doesn’t get more 4 and 5* players. There just isn’t that many to get, especially after the big boys take their pick.

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        1. What I’m saying is that Pitt needs to out-recruit its division foes. Pitt may never out-recruit Miami but it needs to hang with Va Tech, NC and Ga Tech. To hang, you’re probably looking at half your class rated 5.7 stars and above. Pitt sits at 30% right now. So there is work to do unless Narduzzi thinks he can out-develop and out-coach rival schools which is highly debatable.

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          1. Pitt is doing fine on defense. We basically have a three star defense (with two four star guys) that finished top 15 in the country. I’ll take that year in and year out.

            What they need to do is to start out recruiting people on offense , or at least find a guy that can evaluate talent offensive talent like pat can evaluate defensive talent. Clearly they have come up short in that area. Way short

            Liked by 1 person

        2. I’ve made that argument in the past. That said, we need to get some – perhaps 4 per year- in order to have the talent to consistently challenge for the Coastal every year.

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  5. Another great article Michaelangelo and thank you.

    I give Narduzzi and his staff more credit than some for last years O-Line. Dintino and Herden were not his recruits but Narduzzi was the head coach when it was decided to move them both to the O-Line. Morrissey of course was an infamous walk-on who now is one of the top centers in the ACC. His staff also were the coaches that decided Brian O’Neil should be moved as well.

    It could be argued that this latest recruiting class has as many as 4 or 5, 4* recruits. Abanikanda is rated in some circles to be higher ranked than Parrish (a 4). Hennyham was a 4 recruit but since he committed to PITT.. well? He was dropped down 1 point. Royal is a Rivals 4*. Hayes is a Rivals 4*. Barden I believe may be rated 4* by a service or two?

    BTW, I thought Jerry Drake was a 4*

    From what I’ve seen on tape from Margara, he look like a swell pickup. Certainly not a 2* and same goes for Krull. Yes I know they are highlights but they look very athletic.

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  6. Greg Schiano and Ron Hafley will dent our New Jersey recruiting pipeline. Maybe eliminate it. Narduzzi will need to find one or two super recruiters (like Hafley) otherwise he will need to seriously be looking for another job.

    16 recruits for next year? Are you kidding me!!!!

    Forget football for awhile. I will be counting on our academic rankings for my future PITT pride

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  7. Very good in depth write up. Recruiting is all relative.

    How Pitt compares with other coastal teams is relevant. Historically, Miami and Va Tech our recruit Pitt. North Carolina has a fine class this year. And watch out for Ga Tech.

    So Pitt needs to step up their game. Just 30 percent of the class is rated 5.7 stars and above. Pitt really needs to hit 50 percent to be more than just mediocre in this division. That would mean an extra 2-3 high end talent recruits in this class.

    Quarterback is the most important position. And having a very good offensive line. Those positions need greater focus in recruiting.

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  8. If Camp and Weaver stay healthy does Twyman get the reps to shine this season?

    Recruiting is a crap shoot I guess if you have more 4 stars the probability is higher that they can succeed versus 3 stars.

    Agree they need more talent and narduzzi needs an influx especially on the offensive side of the ball.

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  9. Krull will be the TE come next season. He’s a good athlete and has the size and speed to be a factor in the Whipple offense. But the big question on him will be whether or not he can actually catch a Pickett pass. I’m not too excited about our new 2 star TE that didn’t seem to be on anybodies recruit list but ours.—-Oh yes! Another great write up MM.

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  10. I like this class so far. I am hesitant on the latest tight end commitments. Can anyone sell me on them being more than busts like all our other tight end transfers?

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    1. A post on Krull at the Lair said his brother was pretty positive on him at Florida. But the sophomore that leaped over him at TE was outstanding and is expected to be a high draft choice as a junior come next season.

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  11. Good article, MM.

    The lack of impact players on the offense is why it was a good move for Coach Duzz to hire Coach Whipple. Huh?

    Here’s how I see it: It is difficult to recruit to Pitt. It just is. There’s a reason why the classes tend to get better the farther south the school is located…

    So how can you attract impact players to a school that doesn’t have the game atmosphere or weather recruits are looking for? The answer: you give them “stats.”

    Players love stats – offensive skill players especially love stats.

    Enter Coach Whipple who has gotten eye-popping stats for WRs and TEs that Pitt can show recruits. Is it a coincidence that we have 3 or 4 high-rated WRs in this class?

    Maybe wishful thinking, but I see this happening…

    Go Pitt.

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    1. MajorMajors, I pay attention to your posts ever since i read your bio recently. Obviously recruiting top – 4-5 star recruits has been a problem for PITT since the Wannstedt era. Now with the new Rutgers and Boston College guys our problems got worse.

      Whipple’s open offense does help. Maybe we get an overlooked QB and some wide receivers. Someone has to remember big running backs which Narduzzi emphasizes. And of course linemen offensive and defensive; easier to recruit

      Liked by 1 person

  12. From Dokish: PITT de-commit Tee Denson ends up at Kansas State… wow he must be a “ prime time” player- kidding

    Salahuddin down here inNC at A&T…makes me wonder if PITT was too challenging academically – it was for me! Oh well, hope it works out for both the f those boyz

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  13. Good data Maestro, Thanks. And the signing period does begin tomorrow, JoeL

    There are a lot of starters and experienced players that will return next year, and the defense should be another good one. In fact, the DL should be even better. If Ford returns, it (the defense) may even end up in the top 10. We can only hope that the OL can get stronger and quicker

    The focus is now on the new recruiting class …. and I believe it has more promise on offense than any of the previous 4 classes …. provided of course, they all sign on. WRs Jordan Addison and Jaylen Barden had good senior years, and wouldn’t be surprised at all if Barden sees a lot of PT next year. And speaking of real good years, the NY RB Israel Abanikanda looks like a real keeper.

    The class contains 2 OLs who began the senior season as 5.6 3-stars. One of them, Branson Taylor, was elevated to 247 Composite 4-star..

    And don’t forget the 2nd signing period begins the 1st week of Feb …. and if you care to take a look at all the productive players that have committed in the final 2 weeks over the past 4 years, I believe you would be pleasantly surprised.

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  14. I’m not sure we know just who is going to return next year on the Pitt defense. If Ford leaves along with Hamilton then Pitt may return to the position was several years ago with some less than great safety play.

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  15. Tepper just paid $325M for a MLS franchise in Charlotte.

    Does this multi billionaire and Pitt alumnus have any money left for a down payment for an on campus MPC?

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      1. I could convince him by saying the venue would be used for Final 4’s, international soccer friendlies and qualifiers, Frozen 4 hockey, and be state of art…a facility that will still be modern 60 years from now.

        Engineers and architects would make pilgrimage to view her. Artists would weep in appreciation upon seeing her. Fans would rapture in enjoyment.

        But Pitt does not think like a Texan. That is why they fail. You need to believe and then make it happen.

        I plan on writing Tepper and Cuban during my off time this holiday season.

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    1. Maybe, one of the Pittsburgh writers mentioned Per the NFL he is a bit raw and too instinctive that leads him at times to be out of position.

      They also mentioned he will not be in the top 3 rounds, but you never know with the draft.

      If he goes I wish him the best.

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  16. ^^ Is that a gut feeling K-Man? I’m sure if he has a large enough body of work, not to mention that his body needs to get larger. Also, he has had a fairly rocky past at times.

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    1. I’m guessin’ Ford is gone too, ike. He’s shown enough to get a nice pay check. I don’t think these guys really want to have to go to classes and pass tests if they have a decent alternative…

      Just too bad it took Ford a couple years to “get it”…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Two OLs is definitely not enough, even if only one OL leaves this year. And they still need to pick up a QB to allow for the potential of a transfer. This class still has some major deficiencies, such as no power RB or FB. As I look at the class, I just don’t see how their red zone offense gets any better. Two TEs, if they are better than the current group, will help. But Pickett’s answer is to score from farther out, which every team would like to do but is not realistic.

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  18. It’s all about the Benjamin’s. None of the draft eligible underclass men are ready. They’d all benefit from another year and most likely make more next year, HOWEVER, Ford has never been on the deans list, and sure could use some money, as could Twyman. Easy for me to say stay in school, but if forced to pick, I’d say they both go. Mistake in my view, but they will go .

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  19. Sad that Ford can’t see the benefits of a college degree. If one more year could lock down the degree he would be foolish to go. But some of these kids all they see is dollar signs and someone telling them they are ready.

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  20. Really think having so many changes at oc has hurt this offense and recruiting specifically. The defense has Narduzzi’s identity and we have successfully recruited some stars and diamonds in the rough that fit well.

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  21. Good post JoeK, I agree, for some football players/athletes, college just isn’t their bag. Economics factor in as well. A couple hundred thousand $ sounds pretty sweet right now. BUT, Ford is a first round talent if he stays.

    Also, I’m not sure if high school was his bag? I will say, I like his attitude as a teammate.

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  22. Note that Ford and Jones have decided to follow the NFL draft protocol, and Twyman has yet to do so. Ultimately, the NFL scouts will evaluate them and then provide its findings as to the approx. round they will be drafted in. The players stay eligible for college as long as they stay in school and don’t sign with an agent.

    This may change but there is no guarantee that any of them will leave.

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  23. VoR – You can always go back to school. The risk of injury vs immediate dollars earned makes it almost a no-brainer to enter the NFL if draftable.

    Additionally, a college degree is only valuable if you intend to use it. If his plan is to play football professionally, I’m not sure how the degree is very valuable.

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  24. Was listening to Dane Jackson interview about who would be a leader on the team next year. Paris Ford was the first player he mentioned without hesitation and not with any caveats such as “if he hangs around.” I don’t think this means he is definitely coming back but I think it means that any information either way is pure speculation except the fact he is asking the NFL for an evaluation.

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  25. ^^ Now you see Tossing Thabeets you make very valid points that are true but not so fast my friend. I think you and I had this discussion last year as well.

    Sure Ford, as one example, can turn pro, it’s not the NBA and he would probably bring home to his family a lot more money (not NBA money) than I ever did in one fell swoop. It’s just this injury point that has me concerned. If Ford isn’t at least a second round projection he won’t get the big money he could if he waited a year and then “may” be a high first round pick. He can just as easily be injured in a NFL camp or season as in college.

    Question for all, is there still such a thing as Lloyd of London insurance?

    BTW, I hope Ford grades out as high as possible and he does cash in.

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    1. Reading all the posts, it sounds like many feel we need more offensive recruits and a good qb to replace Pickett. Well…can’t argue with that at all, but look at who is coming in this recruiting class- 3 highly ranked wide receivers and a nasty looking running back. We also have 4 star Beville waiting in the wings. And for what it’s worth, I see the o-line improving after a year of experience and Pickett easily having his best year (can’t possibly be worse) with the improved protection. We also have some decent oline recruits coming in and possibly another in Chris Bleich from Florida. Here’s to being hopeful for a brighter future. The end of this season killed me.

      Liked by 3 people

  26. Maestro,

    I spent several nights in Jim Thorpe in a previous life and yes, got the full story about how they “acquired” the name.

    Good memories!

    Thanks for the continued great contributions and let’s hope for some new found talent or perhaps just some dumb luck….

    HTP!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It appears he has the wanderlust. He commits to PSU; he decommits to PSU. He commits to UCLA and he decommits to UCLA. He commits to FLA and now decommits from FLA.

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      1. Yeah, we’ve seen this number before and it did not go well…

        But if he started for Florida, you’d think he certainly could start for Pitt…

        Go Pitt.

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    2. Eight starts this season before going to the bench. I’ll take my chances with a kid good enough to earn a starting job in the SEC as a redshirt freshman. He needs to pull a Justin Fields and claim there was an incident to get immediate eligibility. An attorney should be able to get creative and make up that something happened,

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  27. @Ike – There are several insurance options that the university is able to purchase for its elite athletes. The kicker is that Pitt pays the bill and it is all above board. This is one of those benefits that are available, that typically isn’t calculated when the athletes pushed to be paid to play.

    How it works is simple. The athlete requests an evaluation by the nfl for a draft grade. The draft grade is then translated/slotted against last year’s draft position and what was paid for that position. It is a guesstimate (i.e. bfl says you will be drafted between pick 11-20, etc.).

    That information is then given to lloyd’s brokers and submitted to lloyd’s underwriters for loss of value insurance. If you are not projected in the top 3 rounds, you can’t get the insurance. The second kicker is that the university tells the player how much they will pay/contribute to the insurance premium for the insurance. If Pitt goes cheap, that screws the player. The player can then approach the markets on their own to get more insurance. When this happens, it brings in “the handlers” who arrange for the payment (outside of the university), which typically leads to agent interaction.

    The whole idea of the ncaa allowing this to happen is to protect the athlete and the university from “bad influences”. So that is for loss of value. There is a second type of insurance that pays for medical loss. This covers medical issues that are either related to the sport or medical injury regardless of how it occurred. For example, James Conner had cancer. If the cancer would have prevented him from playing football again, he would be eligible to receive loss of value AND permanent and total loss due to medical condition. The key to those policies are that you need to be permanently and totally disabled (for the most part). I spent a lot of time in London this football year…you know, when you all accused me of not participating in conversations because of the win streak. Lloyd’s syndicates are really awesome and understanding this is amazing. If you google loss of value insurance, there are lots of examples of athletes not collecting. Pitt needs to understand the ins and outs in order to understand and support their athletes. Pitt thinks they understand but there is just no way as it is too nuanced. I am sure they use a vendor to help, but the vendors are also predatory because most AD’s, not just ours doesn’t understand how this system works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ostensibly Mack is a replacement for Tee Denson who ended up at … Kansas State. Looking at highlight films, Denson appears to have better instincts and more athleticism, but Mack appears to be more physical and is a better tackler. Not sure Denson would have cut it as a safety, which is what Pitt needs right now.

      Here is Denson’s reel for comparison: https://www.hudl.com/profile/7966589/Tee-Denson

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      1. Mack’s best offers (outside of Pitt) were WVU, Indiana, Temple and Memphis. Navy also offered so you’ve got to think he checks the high-character box as well.

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    2. Mack plays at Byrnes High. In the same South Carolina H.S. conference as the big school (Gaffney) in my county. That conference is the SEC of the state. Conference is biggest class – 5A.

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    1. Next year dan is really going to be our year. Or is it the year after that?? Maybe some year pn will either coach em up or recruit well enough to win more that 8 games.

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  28. Was DE Jones, DT Twyman, C Morrissey, CB Jackson, DE Weaver and many others not coached up Tx? You seem to have tunnel vision when it comes to any subject regarding Narduzzi and the Pitt coaching staff.
    Now if you said not enough on the team were coached up then I’d agree with you. But that’s not what you ever say. Giving some credit to Narduzzi and the Pitt coaching staff seems to be off the table for you almost always.

    Like

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