Pitt Panthers: Return To Football Relevance Runs Through The WPIAL


Sep 27, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Tyler Boyd (23) carries the ball on an end around as Akron Zips linebacker Nick Rossi (44) defends during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Success is in those that work for it. Those that work for it reside in the WPIAL (Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League). The league can be the life-blood to a program and the longevity of its life at the top.

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For instance, in the past, the WPIAL has produced such players as: Dan Marino, Mike Ditka, Darrelle Revis, Tony Dorsett, and Curtis Martin to name a few.

Each of which went on to star at the University of Pittsburgh and their football legacy. Not only that, all but Revis are in the National Football League Hall of Fame. So the talent cannot be denied.

The above list of players goes to show that, as generations speak, the talent flows deep decade after decade.

Right in the backyard of the university, representing the WPIAL and Pittsburgh are team-fulls of players with limitless potential. For instance, in the class of 2016: Miles Sanders, Damar Hamlin, Tim and James Jackson, Paris Ford, and Aaron Matthews.

Every one of those players possess a mailbox filled with interest letters from teams all over the country. As of late, the rest of the country seemed more appealing than staying home to wear the “Pitt Script.”

That’s a shame.

Pitt needs to land these players, and they need to land them now. Under new coach Pat Narduzzi, he and his staff, most notably, linebackers coach Rob Harley are attacking the country for players second, and the WPIAL players first. A stark difference in comparison to the past. Not to discredit past regimes, but WPIAL players were viewed as just another prospect, now they are priority.

Being a priority, they can be seen as a hometown hero, someone that future recruits look up to and say, “He stayed home to play at Pitt and nationally recognized, why can’t I do that?”

Players like Tyler Boyd and Aaron Donald most recently and a near future player in Jordan White head can make that difference. A domino effect can ensue. One player commits, speaks to another, discovers a common bond, and stays as well.

I understand that it’s not just that easy to get a band of players to stick together. Id be a fool if I did.

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  • The burden falls heavily onto the university and what they can provide to the players that make them want to stay. Pitt has heard the call loud and clear under Narduzzi as massive upgrades are coming to the South Side facility on the Panthers side of the building. Equal to those of other major Division 1 schools. Penn State, Ohio State, and Clemson to name a few.

    It is going to be hard to forget about when you walk the halls that are lined with murals of Larry Fitzgerald, LeSean McCoy, Tyler Boyd, and Tony Dorsett.

    The renovations will speak loudly as they make the hometown players feel like they don’t have to go elsewhere to get the “VIP Treatment” at other schools. They can have that here, at home, as a Panther.

    Creating an aura of “home is where the heart is,” could play huge and the tools to do so are being taken out of their plastic to get use of immediately.

    Scott Barnes and the staff above Narduzzi and Narduzzi himself are putting in the proper work to make home look like the Las Vegas strip, but still it goes beyond selling them on the view and instead the vision of what they can expect to achieve while home at the University of Pittsburgh. It isn’t going to change overnight, we all know that, but damnit, Pat Narduzzi is making it feel like we are coming off winning the championship and I am all in as a fan.

    Let’s not forget what the campus and the top-notch education can do convince players that Pitt is the place to be.

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