National Letter of Intent Day isn’t until February but this week Pitt officially added five members to their team from the upcoming Class of 2017.
Five players, Deslin Alexandre, Max Browne, Kirk Christodoulou, Jerry Drake and Kenny Pickett, are officially members of the team after enrolling into the University of Pittsburgh early and today all five were introduced to the local media over at the Pitt football complex.
It’s an interesting mix of backgrounds that these players are coming from: Drake and Alexandre from sunny Florida, Browne from the West Coast (Los Angeles) and Christodoulou all the way from Australia. Only Pickett, coming from New Jersey, is used to the Northeast’s weather conditions.
While they come to Pittsburgh from different backgrounds, the newest Panthers arrive with one thing in mind and that is to get accustomed to the Pitt football program.
“It will be a chance to get a head start on my career,” said Pickett. “Learning the program, learning the playbook, the new OC is going to be here soon so that’s really exciting to me. Also, getting ahead on my academics was also a huge part too.”
“By the time the freshman get here in the summer, I feel like I’ll be ahead and then I can try and lead in the classroom, the weight room and help guys out and point them in the right direction to make sure we’re headed in the right direction for the season.”
Pickett has the look and feel of someone that’s a future leader of this team but until then, he’s taking advice from his fellow teammates in the quarterback room.
“I’m hanging out with Thomas MacVittie and Max. They’re really good guys. I’m learning from them, hanging around them in the weight room and in the team meeting room. I’m looking to see how they conduct themselves. It’s something I’m really paying attention to because that’s how I want to conduct myself,” said Pickett.
The weather we’ve experienced this week is something that the two players from the Sunshine State are unaccustomed to while also dealing with being on their own in a new city for the first time. Alexandre is thankful for the friendliness of the people in our city.
“The people in this town are amazing and so eager to help,” said Alexandre. “On my first day, I got lost and so many people were there to show me around. My new teammates and coaches have been great. Pittsburgh is just a great atmosphere. It’s a little cold but I’ll get used to it.”
Although Drake is 20 hours away from home, he knows he’s here to get an education and to try and play D-1 football.
“I’m here eight months before the season, so I get a jump on the other freshman. It’s just going to be beneficial to myself. The coaches are just trying to get me used to the process and getting my body ready for the offseason training,” said Drake.
None of the other early enrollees are going through what Christodoulou is, which is arriving in Pittsburgh from another country. Melbourne, Australia is a long way away from Pittsburgh, but luckily for Christodoulou he has some support in town and actually in the same building — Steeler punter and fellow Australian Jordan Berry.
He’s only been here since Monday but Christodoulou has already called upon Berry’s help. Christodoulou told me on his first night in town he texted Berry because he wasn’t properly prepared for the weather and needed Berry to take him out for sheets and proper clothing.
“It’s great to have Jordan around, someone that knows what I’m trying to adjust from and to be here to help me out. To have a fellow Australian that’s already done what I’m trying to do and be here to guide me, is great,” said Christodoulou.
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