How Some PA HS Coaches View Pitt Recruiting

Here are some excerpts from a PA recruiting article published by The Athletic magazine and website. It is a subscription service that covers every major sport but the college football coverage and writing is always excellent and interesting.  I have a subscription to The Athletic as I know some other readers on here do also.  By the way, I can share five (5) 30 day passes for the first five POVers who want to check The Athletic magazine/website out. If you are interested after reading this article and seeing the Athletics’ website (linked above) let me know…

The referenced article interviews four highly successful high school football coaches from the central and eastern parts of Pennsylvania. Here is what they had to say about Pat Narduzzi and his recruiting…

How would you describe the way Pitt recruits your players?

Coach 1: (Pat) Narduzzi is very stubborn when it comes to this side of the state. They will never get away from recruiting the local Pittsburgh market and a little bit of Ohio. They sit there and they’re complacent. They wait for whoever falls from Ohio State to go to Penn State. Whoever falls from Penn State and maybe Michigan is in that mix too, whoever falls from those programs, that’s who they take. … Their recruiter, he’s from Pittsburgh and he stays out there. They’ll call wanting our guys, but that’s it. There’s no relationship.

Ed Note: OK POVers, this is a clear indictment of a lack of aggression on Narduzzi’s part when it comes to targeting and heavily pursuing prime talent.  This kills me: “They wait for whoever falls from Ohio State to go to Penn State. Whoever falls from Penn State and maybe Michigan is in that mix too, whoever falls from those programs, that’s who they take. …”

Coach 2: They recruit them well. They’ve done a very good job when we’ve had guys that fit the criteria and were good enough. Sometimes we all think we have a guy (who is good enough). … It’s subjective. … I think their blueprint is also that they want Florida kids. Get a Florida kid and maybe a Maryland, DC, Virginia kid. They’re not getting to Texas, like Ohio State, or California or something like that. … They’ve done a good job. We just haven’t had a kid go to Pitt yet in my tenure here.

Ed Note: Not sure how we actually “recruit them well  (see graph below).  

Coach 3: Pitt does a great job. (Cory) Sanders, the DB coach there, recruits our area. Before COVID, he came to the school in the spring multiple times. He comes in the fall and stops by games. He’s present. They offer early and establish early relationships and they’re not shy about it.

Ed Note: Great job, I tell ya – Pitt is killing it with Cory Sanders in those areas (again, see graph below).

Coach 4: It’s different. I have not nearly as much contact with Pitt. … They came out to watch (our star player) after I called them. Actually, I feel like it’s pulling teeth with Pitt just to get feedback, to get responses. It’s not like it is at Penn State. I could pick up the phone and call Terry Smith at Penn State and he’ll answer on the first ring. Or I could call (offensive line coach) Andrew Aurich at Rutgers and he’ll pick up. … It seems like (Pitt) doesn’t want our people. 

Ed Note: Get that “…after I called them” part? Why in the world would Pitt want their players because as we all know Narduzzi is just flat out killing it recruiting elsewhere? I mean, his track record in recruiting is sterling and a shining example of how to…well… actually… to be afraid to compete with the Big Dog schools. 

Folks – all the above is super evident in the way Narduzzi has just conceded anywhere but western PA to Penn State.  Listed below are the recruits whom Narduzzi has gotten from east of Harrisburg since he’s been here and what they have done while trying to play football at Pitt. All of these recruits were three star rated and none did anything of note (as yet with the 2021 recruits) out on the field of play.

ABCDEFG

Narduzzi hasn’t completely dominated the local area that much in truth either. His best local Western PA commits have been defensive stars in DB Damar Hamlin and DB Paris Ford and they were very good players. Notice DB Jordan Whitehead isn’t listed there as he committed to Paul Chryst. Those other three kids were good ones and played exceptionally well for us. But where are the offensive recruits from the local area?

According to 247 Sports’ listings of the Top PA recruits over the years here is how Narduzzi has done in getting their 247 Top 25 PA kids to Pitt.

One in 2015: # 13 / 3* S Jay Stocker. (Note that #1 4* S Whitehead, #14 3* OL Paulina and #22 3* OL Pilato were all Paul Chryst commits in 2015’s recruiting class. Jay Stocker committed to Narduzzi.)

None in 2016

None in 2017

Four in 2018: #15 / 3*OL Blake Zubovic, #20 / 3* OG Jake Kradel, #21 / 3* DT Devin Danielson, and #24 / 3* DE David Green

Three in 2019: #14 / 3* OLB Brandon George (From Reading, PA) #19 / 3* ATH Will Gipson, and #21 / 3* SDE Bam Brima

One in 2020: #3 / 4* SDE Dayon Hayes

Five in 2021: #6 / 4* ADL Elliot Donald, #10 / 4* EDGE Nahki Johnson, #13 / 3* DL Dorien Ford, #18 / 3* S Javon McIntyre (Philly) and #21 / 3* S Stephon Hall

One in 2022: #21 3* DL Sean Fitzsimmons. (Note this is an incomplete class.)

So Narduzzi has gotten 15 Top 25 PA players to commit to Pitt since he’s been here and you can see he’s getting better at securing the more talented PA kids as opposed to when he first arrived, which is to be expected as he gets to be more well known. Over the same time span Penn State’s HC James Franklin pulled in 39 or 24 more… which is also to be expected as he’s a much better recruiter. But that much of a huge discrepancy should not be happening.

But I firmly believe that to really bolster Pitt’s yearly roster with top shelf kids Narduzzi has to pay a lot more attention, and put a lot more effort into, the central and eastern parts of Pennsylvania. There is way too much talent drain out of PA to other schools then should be with Pitt being the second biggest football program in the state.

Take another look at those 247 Top 25 Pa players listings again – it isn’t like the best PA players are all going to PSU, OSU, ND, etc only – schools like Rutgers, Baylor, BC, Maryland, Minnesota, and many other similar-level programs as Pitt are getting better PA players than we are also. Even Rutgers has pulled in a bunch of higher ranked PA kids also. That just shouldn’t be happening.

Get more PA kids from all over the state and Pitt just get more wide spread alumni interest in our football program from those living in central and eastern PA areas. Couldn’t hurt…

I know Narduzzi has a fixation on southern U.S. high schools – I assume for the supposed speed every recruit is rumored to have down there. But all you have to do is look at the W/L records between Penn State and Pitt over the last five years to see what effects both HC’s recruiting has had on their success – or lack there of. Pitt is 34/29 during that time period and Penn State is 53/16. That tells me we need to be pushing Pitt all over PA and not just in out Tri-State area and we tend to do.

Getting only two Top 25 kids from outside WPA just won’t cut it any longer. There is way too much talent over there to be not just overlooked, but to be looked down Narduzzi’s nose upon.

69 thoughts on “How Some PA HS Coaches View Pitt Recruiting

  1. But do you think his boss is telling him that?

    Do you think a booster is telling him that?

    That is what is wrong with Pitt. Because other schools let their head coaches clearly know if they are falling short and then demand different results.

    Wpa only has one elite player this year in the top 14 of the state. And pitt lost him to penn state.

    Pitt is its own worst enemy.

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  2. PSU has had its own problems recruiting the eastern side. This year it is doing well, but am I supposed to be shocked by that? After how the Nits got destroyed last year in Philadelphia there was no way Franklin was going to be beaten like that again. I’m calling shenanigans by Franklin and PSU, and since Pitt’s administration wants nothing to do with being dirty I’ll accept how hard Narduzzi is recruiting Georgia and Florida harder than the eastern side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kids can make more money with NIL at penn state because their AD and coach believes in it unlike ours.

      Penn state is the premier brand in the northeast. Yes, even better than Notre Dame. You can’t pass up that cache.

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  3. I think it’s tougher to sell a kid from Georgia on Pitt than a kid from philly.

    For whatever reason, Florida kids like pitt. Ever since the Walt days

    Narduzzis recruiting is heavy on the D side. Offense wins you games

    And really I don’t see what any Texas kid sees in Pittsburgh. Has any Texas kid lasted longer than two years? Doubtful.

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      1. Ike,
        I have you on a technicality. AVP was born in Pittsburgh. There was already an established connection. He actually dated a girl a knew. I recall his 30 yard passes to the sidelines for a gain of three yards. Hackett was a genius.

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          1. Depends on my audience. I’ve lived in Texas now longer than PA. I’m more Indiana than Pittsburgh. More buffalo than Pittsburgh. But I do consider myself Pittsburgh. Especially when I hang with my cowboy friends.

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  4. Pitt definitely needs to hit Ohio harder but did well in Virginia last year. With Marion from the area that should continue. Ohio is so much deeper than PA in football. The 50th rated kid in Ohio goes D-1 and in Penn., most years once you get past 20 there is a steep drop-off. Those Philly kids will take an SEC moneybag over what Pitt offers every day of the year.

    If there is a Pitt coach who needs to recruit Philly harder it is Capel. Listen to a Pitt hoops snob and he or she will tell you the Jalen Bond issue from 10 years ago is still a roadblock.

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    1. I’d rather live in PA. Ohio sucks. Appalachia is where it’s at.

      I do like Texas. But we’re hicks down here, not rednecks.

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      1. I have made more money on 3 houses over 8 years than My Dad has in 20 years in PA. Pro Business makes a difference.

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  5. I moved from Western to Eastern, Pa. a little more than 20 yrs. ago. During those years, I’ve noticed the Pitt insignia on cars increasing. So, in my limited experience, Pitt is becoming more known in my area of the state – the Lehigh Valley. I even get to say H2P to my son’s friend’s sister, who attends Pitt. Also, a daughter of a friend of the family just visited Pitt and liked it. So, maybe there’s hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have cousins from philly. Phoenixville to be exact. Good people on that side of the state but they have no concept of hills. Wpa hills. I’m originally from a County named after Indians. Coal country. Deer country. Christmas trees.

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      1. I’m just a couple of miles south of the Poconos, Tex, some hills there. Yes, some good folks over here. You’d be surprised at how many Steeler insignias you’d see in the Lehigh Valley, which is about 60 miles north of Phila. Many more than you’d see Eagles insignias anywhere near Pittsburgh. Go Stillers.

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  6. This excellent article was a horrible indictment of Pitt recruiting in PA. This state is close enough to Pitt and other critical areas such as Western Ohio, NY, NJ and MD, that every assistant coach should have responsibility for some piece of PA. They should cover it like a blanket with Pitt coaches on a first name basis with most high school coaches in their little segment. There are advantages for players to stay in state that should be exploited, but if Pitt won’t even try it’s pretty sad. We’re talking going on 7 years now, so no excuses for Narduzzi.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 5-7 6-6 best this year. Yeah let’s keep ignoring WPA.

    Even I, a perennial second stringer,
    Got a letter from Pitt back in the day.

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  8. I think driving the turnpike from Pgh to Philly is something over $50 now. We just had ANOTHER rate hike. Turnpike Commission needs to be totally dismantled and rebuilt IMO.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Excellent point, Annie! But if the Parkway East is backed up, I’ll pay any price to drive the Turnpike to Route 28 and follow Fran to Red 5A!

      Liked by 4 people

  9. My brother Doug was all WPIAL OLineman a teammate and good friend of Wannstedt. He had offers from BC, PSU, and many others. Went on full scholie to Rutgers.

    Not even a phone call from Pitt. It was 1970. This is nothing new for Pitt.

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  10. Interesting article but I have to believe that recruiting is a very complicated process. I don’t think you just offer every top 25 PA prospect without concern for position of need, likely acceptance, established relationship, etc. Seems we have landed a couple of recruits who had PSU offers recently. Or am I thinking of basketball?

    Regarding Tex’s post in the previous article on the extension of Coach Jay Vidovich. Should this not be a time to commend Heather Lyke? In my opinion, hiring a splash/home run coach is an AD’s most important task. Retaining a successful coach is the second. Probably not as easy as it might seem.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Guilty as charged, Joe. I make no attempt to hide the fact that I like Heather and think she is doing a very good job. As someone who also has a very successful daughter, I know you probably cringe when you read some of the comments on here.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I have had a subscription to The Athletic for a few years. Its very good coverage of many sports. Can also get 5 free invites if needed.

    Would suggest that reading the whole article gives a better flavor for how all three schools – and not just Pitt – measure up (or don’t). And read the comments as well. There are a number of good (i.e. insightful) comments about Pitt by both Pitt fans and others.

    The thing to keep in mind is that this was written by a Penn State beat reporter for Penn State fans. The coaches she has selected obviously trust her, suggesting she has dealt with them in the past.

    What Reed doesn’t note in his article is that the same comment, “…after I called them” was also made about Penn State by one of the other Eastern coaches. I imagine one could find plenty of HS FB coaches saying that about plenty of college coaches.

    Coach 1… the guy who said Pitt was complacent….take in all of his remarks. I bet he’s a real joy to deal with if you arent from one of the top schools…and yet criticizes Temple for not even trying.

    Fickell gets high marks from more than one of the 4. I think that’s very interesting considering its a PA oriented aritcle. Also, the belief that Schiano will be a force for Penn State to reckon with in the war for Eastern PA talent.

    Not really a large enough sample size of coaches – IMO – from that article… like pulling crabmeat from walking legs.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. Pitt has likely found that they really can’t compete with PSU for the top Central and Eastern PA football recruits. Not all of them, but the elite ones. Plenty of reasons for that. Pitt thinks they can do better in Florida – shame on Pitt.

    Looking at those players who we’ve gotten from Central and Eastern PA, what does that tell you?

    Seems like Coach Marion’s recruiting approach is to go after the track stars…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. As far as this article goes, well done pointing out how 4 high school coaches feel about Narduzzi. Can’t wait for the next article when we break down Narduzzi’s recruitment of South-Western New Mexico when we interview 3 former asst coaches now recruiting in Ciudad Juarez.

    Look Narduzzi is a hybrid recruiter, he goes most places without much rhyme or reason other than the fact the area has good recruits. I think PN’s recruiting about C+ — B. It’s fluid.

    It looks like the “ED” has lots of faith in the four wise-men from Nazareth Pa with the 1st and 4th comment. 2nd and 3rd not so much. BTW How much is it really going to matter when these kids bounce around like a red rubber ball?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Right you are, Ike. And I’ll say that this transfer business may be the straw that ruins my interest in Pitt sports. I used to support and defend any kid who played for Pitt because, regardless of their accomplishments, they represented MY university. Now it is hard to view them as anything more than mercenaries. Not so much Pitt football yet but certainly Pitt basketball.

      And the phenomenon is not limited to college. I recently read an article in the Greensburg Trib about the Jeannette Jayhawks football team. That team won the WPIAL Class A Championship last season and finished as the PA State runner up. They have one starter returning. Some graduated but the rest transferred to other schools, including other public schools. Their coach is in his 13th year as Head Coach. So I doubt he is the problem. I just sense that the team mentality has been replaced with a “me” mentality. Sad.

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    2. Ike loved your above comments. Frankly, as you so well state, the “ED” makes the HS coaches say what he wants to believe. I also agree on the transfer system changing the whole thing. Like Turner came in played well for the season and left. Does anybody have any long memories of the young man? Where is he now? Farmers, as you say below, its hard to feel loyalty with all the “revolving door” players, especially the basketball team

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  14. “Hi Coach Stick up his a$$ from central bucks west here. Pitt? Hell the last guy they came after hard was Piccotti and (heheh) what I didn’t tell them was that the boy sure had some concussion problems, so sure I was like hey Dustin Pitt is the school for YOU. Now excuse me while I go back and put the ‘if God isn’t a penn state fan then why is the sky blue’ magnet back on the side of my car”

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  15. Duzz should not be recruiting central and eastern PA. Focus on the ACC footprint. I like what he’s doing as far as a recruiting map. MD, VA, GA and FL have more potential without the negative press of losing a player to Penn State. He has the same record as his predecessors who recruited central and eastern PA along with NJ so it’s hard to argue the results. Regardless, they’re getting the same caliber of athletes and competing at an almost identical level. Stay out of Big Ten country.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The proof is in the pudding. Pitt had one good recruiting year in PA since the arrival of Nardstop and that was last year. Too early to tell how the classes wash out. AS far as complaints go about work ethic, Pitt gets out worked and out hustled. Pitt wilts under the competition of recruiting because Pitt is weak mentally and are comfortable with mediocrity. It’s our sweet spot and we have found it. Pitt is afraid of competition, ask Duquesne.

    I don’t pay much attention to the subjective nature of the quotes. I do pay attention to the results. Mediocre, mediocre and mediocre.

    I do expect them to win many games this year because they finally scheduled right. Unfortunately, they scheduled wrong for the following two seasons because they aren’t smart. Pitt will never build a strong brand with mediocre years. You need a full cycle (4 years) of 8 and 9 win regular season years to break out of mediocrity.

    There is no such thing as being dirty. Kids can get paid as much as they can from whomever they can. Spin the Wheel of Excuses and see where we land today. Spinning…..and we land on bad weather. Let the excuses begin.

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  17. Oooo I had a long post and then it got lost in the WordPress. Dagnabit well actually I used the wrong email address so maybe my eyes aren’t what they used to be…

    In all seriousness the last Pitt coach that “won” in eastern PA was wanny and he had a very, shall we say, “permissive”… AD. Narduzzi has no such luxury. AND HE KNOWS IT

    The last guy to hit eastern PA hard was Paul Chryst – and that is literally because he couldn’t financially afford to recruit anywhere else. So he gave his Philly boy John Parlemo $50 do drive on down the turnpike and try to turn lead into gold.

    Here’s how it worked out:

    Aaron Reese
    Jaryd Jones Smith
    Matt Galambos
    Shakir Soto
    Pat Amara
    Hez Trahan (who?)
    Jay Stocker

    Reese was a nothing burger
    Jones Smith was a diamond in the rough and got drafted
    Galambos was solid and unspectacular- almost maddenly so
    Soto sucked as a DE and only thrived when Narduzzi moved him inside to DT
    Amara Transferred
    Trahan washed out
    Stocker was a career backup (although he probably starts if Chryst stays and has a middling career)

    Yea let’s focus in eastern PA. GREAT idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Soto wasn’t redshirted along with Tyrique Jarrett and both had wasted seasons in 2013. Once Soto was finally put together his career was over. You’d think Pitt would hire smart coaches who’d just redshirt kids to build up the program. Donald wasn’t coming off the field in 2013 and Jarrett barely played after the New Mexico State game.

      JJ-Smith had that hard-luck injury before 2015, and along with Conner getting hurt in the first game versus YSU, put Narduzzi in the hole before he’d finished coaching his game. Still managed to go 8-5 due to landing Peterman.

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      1. Shortsighted. Maybe Soto and Jarret were promised Playing time as part of the recruiting pitch. Maybe not. But if yes then shortsighted by both the coaching staff and the player.

        I also think that Chryst / House probably woulsnt have moved Soto inside. Was pretty slow for a DE if I remember correctly.

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        1. Was sort of an amazing transformation when Soto moved inside. All of a sudden he was a play-maker…

          Go Pitt.

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  18. Not sure Jones Smith was drafted, maybe a free agent. He bounced around a few teams on practice squads and has a big chance this year for the Vegas Raiders if he can make the squad. Hopefully he takes advantage of this opportunity. If he does, he will get a big payday.

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    1. You are right Huff. Only further proves my point.

      Houston Texans Edit
      Jones-Smith signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft on May 11, 2020.[1] He was waived during final roster cuts on September 1, 2018.[2]

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  19. Recognizing that good players can come from anywhere, PA is still an important recruiting area, for political and territorial reasons more so than other areas. For starters, Pitt “should” have excellent intelligence on who the good players coming up are, and should be able to target them more easily than, say, potential recruits in Texas or out West.

    Secondly, coaches need to practically drive through central and eastern PA to get to MD, NJ and eastern NY, so it makes sense to include all of PA in their recruiting efforts. And third, there are certain benefits to both the players and Pitt (close family, political, financial, etc.) that make it an obvious strategy to recruit in all areas of the state. Good players may have friends and family that go to, or graduated from, Pitt due to cheaper in-state tuition, for example.

    And any good player that goes to Pitt will deny Pedo that player and could create future relationships with family and HS coach that help recruiting in the future. If Narduzzi is backing away from PA players out of fear that he will be out recruited by Pedo, than shame on him. ike, these are some reasons why Pitt should focus on all areas of PA.

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  20. I see Coach Solich is retiring after a 55- year coaching career. He’s 76 and is reportedly retiring because of a cardio condition…

    Go Pitt.

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    1. Solid coach and a good man. Was a winner for the Husker nation but Stevie P had a better idea, Moral of the story, “Never replace something that works with a good idea.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My quote was by Thomas Sowell….google him if you have time….a brilliant mind !!! He should be required reading for all in-coming PITT freshmen.
        Congrats to Jimbo !!! Boy, if we could only recruit one or two like him every 3-4 years.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

          😉

          Also Attributed to Thomas Sowell.

          Of course I’m strictly applying this to the topic Pitt Football 🙂

          Liked by 4 people

  21. Solich’s first home game as coach of the Bobcats was a memorable one, as Peden Stadium brought in its largest crowd ever. 24,545 fans were in attendance on September 9, 2005, to watch the Bobcats defeat the Pittsburgh Panthers, 16–10. The Pittsburgh–Ohio game was among the top 15 most viewed regular season college football games ever on ESPN2.[3]

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  22. OT —Tex, I’m heading to San Antonio today to attend my son’s wedding. This is my son who went to Rice and was stationed twice in San Antonio while an AF JAG. So we’ve spent a good bit of time visiting him in Texas.

    Oh, and this is my son who is a huge Pitt fan, even though he attended Rice and Vandy. I brainwashed him…
    😊

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. OK folks – what I didn’t include in my article was the conversations I have had with WPA HS coaches during the DW, PC and PN years. Here goes some of it –

    There is a different attitude toward PA HS coaches now than there has been in the past. That’s fine if PN would be killing it in other states – but he’s not. Not in the recruit rankings (save for one Top 25 ranking last class) nor is he killing it with superb talent on the roster with very few exceptions.

    Fans tend to ignore the 360 degrees of CFB when they follow a local school. If we Pitt fans want to buy into the smokescreen this staff has created about who and where they are going to find the best “fit” for their team needs go right ahead. But that’s a load of baloney.

    First off star HS football players are 1) excellent athletes and usually play numerous positions in their HS time – and they mostly play along both sides of the ball. Saying ‘We need an speedy OLB from Florida’ is ridiculous because very few true FR play full time – most redshirt anyway – so you take a speed kid, maybe even a RB, from anywhere, put him in the weight room and practice squad – fill him full of calories at the training table for a full season and boom – you have your speedy OLB. It is done all the time and very successfully (even here at Pitt sometimes).

    2) A HC better be aware of if his program and team are hitting it on all cylinders with the admin, fans, alumni and local media. Narduzzi isn’t doing that. Why not – well, I can tell you that fan and alumni excitement level isn’t just limited to a 8 win season vice a 7 win season.

    It is very much dependent on emotional and financial buy-in by those fans and alumni – and good HCs ensure that by making sure the local and state is represented on the roster and out on the field. How do you get that representation? From reaching into the geographical areas those fans and alumni are from and for Pitt that is Western PA and then PA as a whole.

    I showed in the article above how PSU has owned the Top 25 PA kids for years. Why do they concentrate on that? Because they represent PA and their fans and everyone associated with their football program know it and love those PA kids.

    Franklin isn’t a championship coach by any means, is he? Granted he wins more than Narduzzi does but why does Franklin have the impact as PSU’s HC that PN is missing at Pitt?

    Well, for starters the 2020 Penn State roster had 43 (yes, 43!) kids from Pennsylvania on it. BTW – among those 43 were 17 from west of Harrisburg. Pitt had, I think 25 or so.

    That shows me the one part of the crazy following that PSU has, not to mention the huge outpouring of alumni and fan donations, is because those donors feel vested in the school, program and team because they see kids from their area, HSs and are fiends/family to players on the roster and playing the games.

    Would getting more PA kids automatically turn PN and our program’s success (or lack of it) around right away – no, but it would be a start and a way for Pitt to say – “We say we are a ‘Pitt Family’ and this proves that we take that seriously.”

    Back to those local coaches (and I’ll throw in local recruits and their families). I have heard many times that the Pitt recruiting staff just seemed to “not call anymore” when they did a visit and were told the recruit wasn’t 100% sold on Pitt and not ready to commit yet. Not kidding here – been told that Pitt just sort of disappears when going up against the bigger programs. Actually, been told the door shuts pretty quickly like PN’s saying ‘We are doing you a favor even asking you to play for us’.

    That dovetails with what that HS coach referenced in the Athletic article above said –

    “They will never get away from recruiting the local Pittsburgh market and a little bit of Ohio. They sit there and they’re complacent. They wait for whoever falls from Ohio State to go to Penn State. Whoever falls from Penn State and maybe Michigan is in that mix too, whoever falls from those programs, that’s who they take. … Their recruiter, he’s from Pittsburgh and he stays out there. They’ll call wanting our guys, but that’s it. There’s no relationship.”

    That isn’t limited to only eastern PA either. Just look at the kids we were recruiting down south – how many have strong offers from, and more importantly, taken visits to, bigger programs like Miami, FSU, Georgia, USF, etc…. Hardly any. Again – and I keep saying this…don’t look at what schools are listed as ‘offered’ a recruit on any recruiting website – many times that’s fantasy land because the schools themselves are prohibited by the NCAA in discussing recruits publicly before LOI Day. I know for a fact that recruits (and parents) have been know to bolster supposed offers to make the kid look more desirable to the HCs of school the kid wants to attend (both WPA and MD coaches have told me that same thing).

    Pitt gets, for the most part, out-of-state recruits who are being ignored, or lets say not being strongly pursued, by the Top 25 programs and that shows in the team’s roster strength, which always sits in the lower half of the P5 schools (in my opinion). That is how PN is comfortable recruiting – his deal is that he feels he can’t really compete one-on-one with the big programs so he doesn’t even really try. He sends a flyer out, maybe an in-home visit, then fades away when the kid shows more interest in the other, more winning, programs. If that is going to be the case it would be better to have those same talent-level kids come from PA.

    Believe what you want – but I wasn’t surprised one bit by the article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Would getting more PA kids automatically turn PN and our program’s success (or lack of it) around right away – no, but it would be a start and a way for Pitt to say – “We say we are a ‘Pitt Family’ and this proves that we take that seriously.”

      Wannstedt emphasized this and in the end, he got canned because he recruited too many PA kids who weren’t P5 players. I like that Narduzzi is hitting Georgia and Florida harder than taking on a fringe kid from PA.

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  24. Reed, sounds like PITT needs to try harder recruiting in the eastern half of the state..It is great when the kids stay home but when Franklin can come in and gets one it’s a kick in the “nads” for the Panther faithful. I understand not everyone near-by not wanting to be at PITT but it would great if every once and a while Narduzzi could return the favor.,,but I don’t see it happening.

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  25. The guy needs fired.
    3 part job
    coaching
    recruiting
    building fan support
    Grades above c minus
    D
    F

    Raising money F
    4 part job

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Capel loses all his best and most experienced players from last year’s team, should Capel be fired as well?

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    1. If they stink again this season, you’d have to strongly begin considering cutting your losses and moving on. But I’d be hesitant given the hiring process at Pitt. It is flawed and prone to produce some bad and costly decisions.

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  27. How do you sell an elite player on pitt?

    It would help if pitt played an exciting brand of football

    It would help if the game day atmosphere was better

    It would help if you had some top 25 rankings and bowl wins

    It would help if your recruiters could sell Pitt. Part of being good at sales is having confidence and hustling. Is Pitt hungry enough?

    It would help if the administration took sports seriously in words and actions

    Elite recruits want to be part of something exclusive and special.

    What makes the program and coaching staff special?

    I personally think Pitt is being adversely selected when they chose not to recruit hard in the state. But Pitt has just rolled over like a French soldier and conceded the eastern half of the state to penn state and the big 10.

    That’s unfortunate.

    I still think Pitt would be far more attractive to a kid from philly than a kid from Atlanta.

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  28. Let’s talk about Capel. The man goes after top 4 star and 5 star talent, even cancelling on campus visits (see Jalen Hood-Schifino) when the situation requires it. He has been criticized for going after the best players, at the same time when Narduzzi is criticized for going after lower talent. So which is better? I like the fact that Capel sets his sites high. Sooner or later he will start getting the top players in, and good players over good coaching will make a team successful.

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  29. Read an article about William Jeffress from the Pitt News. This quote caught my eye:

    “The new guys coming in — we have gelled very well,” Jeffress said. “Love the guys on the team that are around me right now.”

    What caught my attention was the last sentence. Hummm…

    Also, he’s a 4.0 student! Saw some video where he seemed to be working hard to get stronger. He’s already 18 years old — time flies…😊

    Go Pitt.

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  30. Huh, I get what you mean about PC’s EPA recruiting…but let’s not look down our noses at the last Pitt coach who knew how to, and did, recruit offensive stars.

    In his first full recruiting class he landed Boyd, Orndoff, Weah and 5* Dorian Johnson…that is how you build an offense.

    This guy thinks offense is a minor part of playing a football game.

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  31. PN’s recruiting needs to stay top 25ish every year. Doesn’t matter where the kids come from.

    Pitt needs to invest more $$ in football if they want better results.

    Stop comparing Pitt to PSU until the football budgets are comparable.

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  32. I just finished reading the whole recruiting article in The Athletic (I recommend it to get the full flavor). What stood out to me most was not so much Pitt’s struggles in recruiting (real or perceived) but it’s virtual irrelevance. If you look at the entire Q&A, Pitt’s name almost never come up unless the question is phrased in such a way that it demands an assessment of Pitt. Part of it is probably related to the fact that three of the coaches are from the Philly area, but even accounting for that, it’s not a good sign.

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