Pitt landed a Quarterback commit in April. Regardless of stars or potential, when is the last time you could say that?
You’d have to go back five years to Thomas MacVitte (lately of the Kansas Jayhawks), who committed on March 26th, 2015.
Nate Yarnell hails from Texas, and the earliness of his commitment, make his something of a rarity for Pitt. Defensive back Erick Hallet is the only other Texan on the roster.
But pipelines don’t really matter when recruiting QB’s. This one was all Whipple, and he’s doing exactly what he was brought in to do: Build up the quarterback room.
So yes, Yarnell is a three-star 5.5, and yes, he’s only played six games in his high school career. But as a fan, you’ve got to think Whipple is pretty selective when it comes to QB’s. After all, he passed on all the second-and-third tier high school guys that were available to Pitt last season, then make Kenny Pickett throw the ball 400 times on a bad shoulder just so he could have a selling point (I’m kidding here…he needed Kenny to throw it 400 times because well…the running game). Then, of course, he ended up grabbing transfer Joey Yellen out of Arizona State.
What did Whipple see in Yarnell? Well I’m no expert, but looking at his highlight video I see…
- Prototypical size (6’6″ 200)
- A big arm
- Nice pocket presence (yes I know they aren’t going to show the sacks…, but I’ve seen other QB’s panic all too often in similar situations)
- The ability to look one way and then the other
- Some escapability when needed
- Playing big in big games (took over at the end of the season for an injured started and went 6-0 including 3-0 on the playoffs)
Is this guy going to come in and be the next Dan Marino? Heck no. But he also doesn’t need too. Pitt has one more year of Pickett (he’ll be better this year, I promise), then two more years of either Yellen or Beville (or maybe a combination of both, but I doubt it…I suppose Nick Patti is in the mix as well but I suspect he’ll be the next playoff-caliber QB at JMU before long.) That gives Yarnell a solid three years to develop and ideally take the reins as a redshirt sophomore in 2023 (or is it 2024?)…assuming he’s the real deal and develops on-schedule.
Either way, you have to like the fact the Pitt locked up a QB of their choice early. Stars be damned.
Here is Yarnell’s rivals bio and offer analysis:
- Houston (Well hello there Dana Holgorson)
- Missouri State (The Coastal Carolina of the Midwest)
- Nevada (Their second-most recent starting QB was this guy, a two-star who spent the last two seasons averaging for 25 TD’s vs 12 picks. If Pickett had done that last season, we’d have won 10 games.)
- Texas State (meh)
- Tulsa (I heard Penni Graham has family there)
- UAB (I’ll always remember the time Pitt beat them at Heinz to go to the Tangerine Bowl. People were throwing tangerines.)
- Utah (The Pitt of the Pac-12)
- Pitt (Hail to)
So yes, have at it folks. Not exactly an impressive offer list. But six games of experience. And say what you want about Whipple, I guarantee you he’s the best QB evaluator on that list. The bigger question (and yes I’m saying it right now) is after Yarnell blows up during his senior season, is Pitt going to be able to hold onto him? He is apparently enrolling early, so that will help, but only time will tell…
Here is Chris Peak’s interview with Yarnell (insider subs I think…I have the subscription so I don’t see the paywall anymore)
On top of the Yarnell commitment, Pitt also got someone to protect him. Marco Fugar is a two-star (booooo) – Note that i’m being sarcastic here if you are Fugar or a friend or family member – offensive guard with five offers (what???). However he’s a little undersized (6’3″ 275) and he hails from football powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. What I can tell you is that if you look at his highlight reel, four things jump out.
- He’s strong. The first several minutes are simply plays where he puts somebody on the ground. Fun to watch if you like football.
- He’s physical. The first two plays are not really highlights, but more examples of how is goes out of his way to hit someone.
- He moves a lot better than a lot of the guys Pitt is trotting out there today (probably bbecause he weighs about 50 lbs less…)
- He’s raw. I’m no expert, but he just looks like he’s playing on pure aggression and he doesn’t quite have the polished form that a higher rated lineman might.
- Despite his rawness, he plays with pretty good leverage and balance…which is why he’s able to put soo many people on their A$$ (and also the mark of a good athlete)
Pitt has had success developing these types of guys on the defensive side of the ball (undersized, underrated and athletic). Can coach Borbs do the same for the O-Line? We’ll have to stick around at least three years to find out. Hopefully the result is worth the wait.
Rivals Insiders article (I think) on Fugar. Has some good stuff that I’ve not repeated here. On quarantine the subscription is definitely worth it.
Here is his Rivals profile and offer analysis
- App State (Well they beat Michigan a few years back, so he’s probably better than Nolan Ulizio)
- Coastal Carolina (Man Pitt sure seems to be beating them out for a lot of guys lately…)
- Colorado State (You want to know the last two-star the Pitt beat Colorado State out for? Jester Weah. He actually turned out to be pretty good.)
- Maryland (I think we’ve beat them for like 75% of our recruiting class at this point. and I’d like to say they all have made the right choice. Coach Borbley is uniquely positioned to agree.)
Hail to Pitt