For years, the Pitt football team has watched the top recruits in the state of Pennsylvania avoid the Panthers like the plague, in search of greener pastures elsewhere.
That was until Paul Chryst came to town.
It was always felt that Pitt would not start competing again on a consistent basis until they started to get the top recruits in the state to stay home and play instead of heading off to schools such as Ohio State, Alabama and even Penn State for that matter.
But Chryst is doing his best to change that.
For the second consecutive year Pennsylvania has produced a respectable depth chart when it comes to major-college football recruits and for a change, some of them have decided to continue their football careers right in their backyard.
The Panthers have landed three of the Top 15 ranked recruits in the state, in No. 4 Dorian Johnson, No. 8 Tyler Boyd and No. 13 Justin Moody and five of the Top 20 overall when you throw in the likes of No. 17 James Conner and No. 19 Shakir Soto.
Overall, Chryst has received verbals from 14 of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 recruits.
In terms of overall depth from this recruiting class, Chryst is cleaning up, especially in Western Pennsylvania, where he has a home-field advantage with WPIAL players.
But it is not just inside the WPIAL where Chryst has done a tremendous job.
Defensive lineman Moody and OT Jaryd Jones-Smith, are from the Philadelphia area, which gives the Panthers four guys from the southeast corner of the state. In addition to that, Chryst has nabbed Pitt one recruit each from Wilkes-Barre, Erie and Central Pennsylvania.
Overall, Chryst has landed close to 30 percent of the top recruit in the state, which is outstanding for a second-year coach at a program that has struggled for a long time now.
It also sends a clear message throughout the state that Pitt will now be in play for all of the top recruits in Pennsylvania.
Winning the recruiting battle in state was priority No. 1 that had to happen for the Panthers to eventually turn things around.
Chryst is well on his way to proving that Pitt can become a major player for the top players.
Step No. 2 is getting it done on the field. Hopefully Chryst has similar results there as well.