Pitt’s Recruiting & Geographical Targeting

Pitt’s Recruiting & Geographical Targeting

As all college fans do after LOI Day has come and gone we are parsing each bit of info we can to either praise a recruiting class or, on the other hand, wonder why it isn’t better. Obviously you can count me, and many other Pitt fans in that latter camp.  While I do not think this is a bad class… I have to say that I’m disappointed in it.

One of the reasons listed by Pitt fans over and over again for the drop in recruiting is that the lower quantity of high school talent in the local area has hindered getting quality recruits out of Pitt’s historical recruiting footprint of WPA.  That may well be true. What the fans don’t talk much about is that Penn State and other schools have been kicking our ass so heavily in getting WPA recruits it’s like we are looking at the caboose of a departing recruitment train.

As follows that we read comments all the time that say head coach Pat Narduzzi needs to expand his recruiting efforts southward, into SEC territory mostly, to maximize the talent pools available there.  I’ll agree with that also.

What most Pitt fans don’t realize though is that he’s been doing just that already and at a large pace – the problem is that he’s just not doing as well as we need him to at getting those southern recruits onto campus for their official visits and hence their verbal commitments.  Here is some very interesting info in regards to this subject that I crunched from the Pitt Offers Sheet we have been looking at over the last week.

In looking at offers to Southern states I included NC, SC, TN, MS, AL, GA, and FL in that listing and created a chart (below) to show how many 4* and 5* offers we had out in total and then to those southern states’ recruits… along with the total and southern 3* offer numbers also.

What came out is very interesting to me – Narduzzi has been recruiting the hell out of the South – it has been a large percentage (a total of 32%) of our scholarship offers over the last three years considering it is a relatively small area as opposed to the rest of our recruiting areas east of the Mississippi.

Southern Offers

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Narduzzi Gets a Birdie on Last Hole

Narduzzi Gets a Birdie on Last Hole

This decent 2018 recruiting class ended on a nice up note with the verbal commitment and signing of 4* ATH/Running Back Mychale Salahuddin.  We needed that to happen for a few reasons – first because we need a good, possible, star RB on our roster.  He tried faking Pitt out though – from the Post Gazette.

But perhaps more importantly grabbing a last-minute 4* recruit kept this class from becoming the first recruiting class in 15 years to not have any 4* or 5* recruits in it.  That may sound minor to you but it really isn’t.  In recruiting perception is everything – and the best recruits want to play next to the other best recruits.

So we end up with 20 new Panthers and with a 36th ranked class. As much as I try I can’t get very excited about this. We got some nice recruits – the aforementioned Salahuddin above is the gem. We’ll have some solid future starters out of it I’m sure.  We’ll even have a kid or two who will get post-season honors.  That happens every year at Pitt.

But the bald truth is that successful Pitt football teams run on stardom power, not on the backs of 3* recruits. Look back over the last 15 years and see what the better seasons had in common.  In those early years we had Big Name stars carrying the teams. To name a few past years

In 2003 we had Rutherford throwing for 3700 yards and 37 TDs to get eight wins and All-American Larry Fitzgerald being the star receiver he was;

In 2004 Tyler Palko came on the scene and tossed for over 3000 yards and 27 TDs and we won eight games.

2008 we won nine  games when LeSean McCoy ran for 1488 yards and 21 TDs.  You catch the drift here; the better the star power the better we play as a team and win more games.

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LOI Day Thread…Fingers Crossed

LOI Day Thread…Fingers Crossed


Signing day is upon us. As of 8:30 pm we have 18 3* recruits.  Nice and consistent.  The race isn’t over until tomorrow evening as, with other LOI Days the faxes stop in early evening.

Be aware though that even though the NCAA allows recruits to wait until April 1st as the final deadline,  rarely do any ranked kids wait past the Feb LOI Day because just about every college’s quota is filled by then.  Every so often a big 5* recruit will string a couple schools along on an ego trip.

Let’s keep our eyes on two uncommitted recruits:

MYCHALE. SALAHUDDIN, a 4* RB from Washington, DC,. and rated the #5 RB nationally.

HABAKKUK  BALDONADO, a 3* DE from Florida. Unranked but took an official visit.
These two commits need to sign today:
ERICK HALLETT, a late verbal who is a 3* CB out of Texas and apparently a result of our new DC Randy Bates and:
KAYMAR MIMES, a Floridian who plays DE and who is also a 3* recruit with the 2nd most interesting name behind our new WR Shocky Jacques-Louise.
Baldonado will be making his announcement  at 10:00 am. Salahuddin will follow suit at 11:00 and as said above we need these two kids, Salahuddin especially if for no other reason that we need to show we can land at least one 4* recruit.
Other than those two the only other name being bandied about is the Preferred walk-on HS QB from Missouri Derek Green. He is unranked and unrated but Rivals gave him a page anyway. That doesn’t mean we won’t see a newcomer or two on the last minute scene.
All are welcome to the pre-event festivities at Bettie Grill. If I don’t slide down a mountainside while  driving the Turnpike I should be there at 4-4:30.
Let’s hope we close this class out with a bang!!


An In-Depth Look at Recruiting

An In-Depth Look at Recruiting

A trend with college football fans is to go into semi-serious addiction withdrawal when we are smack in the middle of the off-season. Aside from recruiting, and our school’s LOI Day Signing event,  there isn’t a whole lot of timely news to discuss so we usually default to football recruiting.  Because almost any other football news that makes headlines during the off-season is usually bad news (i.e.;  injuries, transfers, firings and dismissals), and because our basketball team truly sucks, we welcome recruiting talk at this point.

And it is always interesting to converse about how hard it is to find that needle in the haystack that great recruiters do.


That isn’t to say we should diminish the importance of recruiting one bit – it is at least half of the resources needed to get a winning football program out on the field.  So here is another and more in-depth look at the business of recruiting (and of course later developing) high school football players. The thing about a subject as big and broad as this is that one really has to chop it up into smaller pieces to even begin to understand the big picture.

All that said I’d like to clarify my stance on recruiting because I admit it can be confusing and even torque some fans off.   My look at HS recruiting is this: 95% of recruiting is the down in the trenches fighting during the long and drawn-out process of one coaching staff competing against 10-30 other good schools’ staffs to get the recruit (and his parents) to verbally agree to come to Pitt on scholarship.

That sounds rather simple however it is anything but that.  It takes a lot of time, energy and, last but certainly not least, money to field an effective recruiting team.  Blue-chip kids are targeted as early as their freshman year in high school so a school has to maintain steady and convincing contact with him for a long time to get that signed Letter of Intent.

Because of that I give that hard recruiting work credit where it is due. I look at when a recruit committed to Pitt to determine who actually ‘recruited’ that player. I fully understand it is also vitally important to keep the recruit onboard in case of a coaching change or if the recruit’s interest in Pitt wanes the closer they get to LOI signing day – but truly that is small potatoes compared to the extremely hard and long work a staff does to get that verbal commitment in the first place.

Why do I do that? Because it paints a much clearer picture when we fans start discussing how good an individual head coach (and his staff) are at getting those initial commitments, especially if we are comparing different HC’s work in this area. Also, I have held this stance for all the years I have been on the POV and The Pitt Blather before that going back to Wannstedt’s years. So this isn’t something I just decided to do to screw Pat Narduzzi (as I’m sure some of you will think).

So please keep that in mind…

Continue reading “An In-Depth Look at Recruiting”