Pitt Football: Pat Narduzzi Secures First Recruiting Class, Signs 14 On National Signing Day


New Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi and staff only had three weeks to try to retain the class left by Paul Chryst, as well as land more playmakers.

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Earlier this week, Pitt lost 3-star tight end Nick Bowers from Kittanning to Penn State, which is a blow, but does not cripple Pitt at that position.  With senior J.P. Holtz and junior Scott Orndoff, Pitt is fine at the tight end position, and Narduzzi can look for one for the Class of 2016.

More recently, Pitt lost 3-star linebacker Kevin Givens from Altoona to Penn State, which is more of a blow.  This was more disappointing, considering that Givens was committed to Pitt for a while, had recruited others to come to Pitt with him, and he was only offered a Penn State scholarship this week.  It is unfortunate, but Pitt must move on.

Coach Narduzzi and staff were able to sign the following eight players who were committed to Pitt before Chryst left to Wisconsin:

  • CB (Scout 21, 4*) (Rivals 6, 4*) (ESPN 11, 4*) Jordan Whitehead (Central Valley HS) Monaca, PA 5-10/170
  • RB (Scout 30, 4*) (Rivals 22, 4*) (ESPN 37, 4*) Darrin Hall (Fitch HS) Youngstown, OH 6-0/205
  • OT (Scout 84, 3*) (Rivals 39, 3*) (ESPN 50, 3*) Alex Paulina (Canon-McMillan SHS) Canonsburg, PA 6-5/295
  • CB (Scout 102, 3*) (Rivals 2*) (ESPN 58, 3*) Malik Henderson (Hallandale HS) Hallandale, FL 6-1/175
  • WR (Scout 73, 3*) (Rivals 75, 3*) (ESPN 99, 3*) Quadree Henderson (Alexis I. Dupont HS) Wilmington, DE 5-9/172
  • WR (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 136, 3*) Tre Tipton (Apollo-Ridge HS) Spring Church, PA 6-1/170
  • CB (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals 2*) (ESPN 133, 3*) Dane Jackson (Quaker Valley HS) Leetsdale, PA 6-0/170
  • OT (Scout 108, 3*) (Rivals 3*) (ESPN 107, 3*) Tony Pilato (Hempfield Area SHS) Greensburg, PA 6-7/295

The new staff hit the recruiting trail hard for the short time they had to work with, and they have secured six additional signings to make it a total of 14 players :

  • OLB (Scout 22, 4*) (Rivals 36, 3*) (ESPN 25, 4*) Anthony McKee (Marion-Franklin HS) Columbus, OH 6-1/195
  • S (Scout 53, 3*) (Rivals 36, 3*) (ESPN 33, 3*) Jazzee Stocker (Coatesville Area HS) Coatesville, PA 6-2/185
  • DE (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN 19, 3*) Allen Edwards (JUCO:Dean College) Miami, FL 6-4/235
  • OLB (Scout 70, 3*) (Rivals 49, 3*) (ESPN 31, 3*) Saleem Brightwell (Paramus Catholic HS) Paramus, NJ 6-1/206
  • QB (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN 27, 3*) Ben DiNucci (Pine Richland HS) Gibsonia, PA 6-3/195
  • WR (Scout NR, 2*) (Rivals NR, 2*) (ESPN 110, 3*) Gentry Ivery (Mansfield Legacy HS) Mansfield, TX 6-1/195

Pitt has also secured another quarterback in Nathan Peterman, who is a graduate transfer from the University of Tennessee who will have two years of eligibility.  He is 6’2, 220 pounds from Fruit Cove, Florida.  He was rated the No. 10 quarterback by Rivals in 2012.  Peterman will compete with Voytik for the starting job, and DiNucci and Bertke will compete and provide depth at the quarterback position.

Pitt did receive a verbal from 2-star linebacker Shawn Curtis from Doral, Florida, but today, he surprisingly decided to sign with Ole Miss, a school he had not even visited.

Pitt’s most prized recruit is Jordan Whitehead, who should thrive in Narduzzi’s defense.  He was Pennsylvania’s No. 1 overall prospect according to Rivals.  I expect him to be the next great Panther, and he likely will provide instant impact on Pitt’s struggling defense.

Pitt continues to land highly touted running backs, as Darrin Hall will continue the lineage and provide depth behind ACC Player of the Year James Conner, Chris James, Rasheed Ibrahim, and Quadree Ollison.

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  • When looking at the new players Narduzzi and staff recruited, it is clear that they are attempting to strengthen the defensive unit.  Anthony McKee and Saleem Brightwell are two talented linebackers, who can instantly compete with the loss of Todd Thomas and Anthony Gonzalez.  Junior college transfer Allen Edwards will instantly provide some much-needed pass rush to the defensive line.  Jay Stocker is a hard-hitting safety that could provide secondary depth and instantly compete with a unit that struggled.

    Pitt’s offensive line has become a stronghold and two newcomers Alex Paulina and Tony Pilato will continue to add to the large, powerful unit.  I like the direction of the offensive line.

    Though Pitt’s class is small, Narduzzi targeted areas where there were voids that needed to be filled.  Pitt provided depth with two quarterbacks, and the secondary gets a huge boost with Whitehead, Stocker, Jackson, and Henderson, and the linebacker corps improves with Brightwell and McKee.

    Three fast playmaking wide receivers in Henderson, Tipton, and Gentry will fill the void with the departures of Kevin Weatherspoon, Manasseh Garner, and Adonis Jennings.

    I like the direction of Pitt football, and next year should be very exciting with most of the offense returning and a stronger defensive unit.

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