Sep 5, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; The Pittsburgh Panthers cheerleaders cheer during the second half at Alumni Stadium. Pitt won 30-20 over Boston College. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
The Pitt football staff is filled with some hard-nosed recruiters, and linebackers coach Rob Harley is arguably the “closer.” I am not sure if he sleeps, but he is certainly worth a follow on Twitter (@robharley34), along with the rest of the staff.
More from Pitt Panthers
- Pitt Basketball: Justin Champagnie Needs to Get Back on Track
- Pitt QB Kenny Pickett Must Improve in Week 14
- Pitt Exposed as a Pretender After Ugly Loss to Virginia Tech
- Pitt’s Gerald Drumgoole Jr. Is Vital to Offensive Improvement
- Pitt Must Be Careful of Potential Trap Game in Week 12
The staff continues to hunt and are looking for athletes interested in joining the 412 Crew.
As of now, Pitt currently has 8 players committed to joining their program in 2016, and this number should grow quickly.
The first commitment for Pat Narduzzi’s recruiting class is 6-foot-2 safety Tony Butler from St. Edward HS, Ohio. Currently a 3-star on Scout.com, Butler also had offers from schools such as Arizona State, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Purdue, Rutgers, and Syracuse. He is ranked the No. 1 safety in Ohio, and there have been rumblings that he may be heavily considering Michigan. Time will tell, but he is currently committed to Pitt, and he could be a legit playmaker for the defense.
Local 6-foot-5 offensive tackle Brandon Ford from Upper St. Clair committed to Pitt. Ford wanted to play at home, despite offers from Maryland, Akron, and Bowling Green. He is ranked the No. 2 offensive tackle in Pennsylvania, and he will join a large, tough offensive line that was built by the previous staff.
Unlike the previous staff, Narduzzi and company are heavily recruiting quarterbacks from across the United States. I’ve been screaming for years that the quarterback position is the difference between winning bowl games and winning championship games. The first QB committed to Pitt is 3-star 6-foot-4 quarterback Thomas MacVittie from Moeller HS, Ohio. MacVittie, the No. 4 quarterback in Ohio, had offers from Cincinnati and Miami, Ohio, and he may be considered a steal at this point with good size and a very strong arm.
The staff continues to target the local playmakers as well, as safety Bricen Garner committed to Pitt on KDKA television a few weeks ago. At 6-foot-3 and the No. 2 safety in Pennsylvania, the Central Catholic 3-star could become a hometown star for Pitt. Hopefully he can help persuade some of his teammates to join the movement. I am very excited to have Butler and Garner coming into the secondary, which will feature Central Valley’s Jordan Whitehead next season.
With the First Pick
Pitt then landed 3-star runningback Chawntez Moss from Bedford High School in Ohio. Last year he compiled over 2000 yards on the ground with 32 touchdowns. The lineage of strong running backs will certainly continue at Pitt, as Moss pledged to join the 412 Crew.
The next pledge to Pitt was Williamsburg, Virginia (Lafayette HS) outside linebacker Chase Pine who is a heavy hitter with size at 6-foot-3. Pine, currently a 3-star, was the No. 1 outside linebacker in Virginia, and he chose the Panthers over California, Georgia, NC State, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia.
The next commitment was RB/DB Maurice Ffrench from New Brunswick High School in New Jersey. He was recruited as an athlete who can play on either side of the ball, and the Pitt staff says that he was a huge steal, currently overlooked by other programs. He ran a 10.5 100 in a track meet this year, so he is an explosive player.
The latest commitment was 4-star wide receiver Ruben Flowers from Lima High School in Ohio. At 6-foot-4, he is ranked the No. 3 wideout in Ohio, and a MacVittie to Flowers duo may be in the future. Flowers had offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa and Kentucky.
I am looking forward to future commitments to Pitt, and if you do not follow head coach Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) on Twitter, I suggest you do, so you can wait for the Pat commitment signal, “Pitt is it.”
In other news, redshirt sophomore lineman Jaryd Jones-Smith will miss the 2015 season due to a knee injury. At 6-foot-7, 335 pounds, Jones-Smith was likely going to be a starter this season, with the departures of TJ Clemmings and Matt Rotheram to graduation, so this is an early blow to Pitt. Luckily, the offensive line has depth so many others will get the opportunity to immediately contribute on the line.