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Pitt is getting a huge asset in defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, who the school announced has accepted the vacant spot on the coaching staff on Tuesday.
It doesn’t have all that much to do with Partridge’s ability to coach defensive linemen, although he has brought along notable NFLers Jabaal Sheard and J.J. Watt, amongst others. No, it has far more to do with Partridge’s deserved reputation as stud recruiter in the State of Florida that should have Pitt fans excited by the news.
Partridge was the head coach at Florida Atlantic the last three seasons, and as such, wasn’t able to take the same type of hands-on approach to recruiting that made him so successful at Pitt, Wisconsin and Arkansas. Now back with the Panthers, he’ll be able to get right back into the business of landing some of the best the Sunshine State has to offer.
“I am looking forward to that,” Partridge said. “The biggest difference with recruiting as a head coach is the rules that restrict you. You’re only allowed one of the six contacts during the December to January contact period. You only get one time. You’re not allowed out in the spring. So, the relationship is really built by the players you get on your campus.
“You don’t get that opportunity to be in the home five or six times and you can’t help but build a strong bond with everyone in that young man’s family unit. I missed that. I really did miss that and I’m looking forward to go out in the spring, start the evaluation pieces as well as the opportunity to build that relationship in person week after week. It’s something that I’ve missed.”
Partridge is going to be heading back out into a lot of the same areas that he’s been recruiting the last few years, as well, taking over the South Florida area for the Panthers. That’s an area that’s been kind to Pitt over the last couple seasons. Florida Atlantic is in Boca Raton, and that’s right in the middle of an area that’s been highly recruited by Narduzzi and company.
“The fact that they have been recruiting in Florida is icing on the cake,” Partridge said. “Thankfully, Pitt has maintained and really thrived with those relationships. Some of the kids they signed this past year, I know those young men. They were on our campus at Florida Atlantic quite a bit and those young men are going to be good college football players, I’m confident in that.”
Partridge’s success recruiting in Florida goes way beyond his days at FAU, though. He recruited the state well at each of his other stops, too, and it’s been that longevity that he attributes to his achievements.
“I was blessed with the opportunity to recruit South Florida [for many different schools]. Over time, those relationships [with high school coaches] deepened. There’s trust,” Partridge said. “I’ve worked hard to maintain trust with the coaches down here, which carries weight. I think that’s really led to a lot of it. Recruiting is work because you have to work at relationships to build trust. I’ve had the opportunity through all these years to have a strong, direct connection with this area and that’s been a big part of it.”