It’s hard to quantify the overall impact that the hiring of Pat Narduzzi has had on the Pitt football program.
Plain and simple, Narduzzi has made Pitt football relevant again. “Duzz” and his staff have turned Pitt into a place that can attract elite football recruits. If you can do that, you have a chance to be really good.
From day one, Narduzzi has been aggressive in everything he’s done. From recruiting, to marketing the team, to the way he coached, he went after things full speed.
During this recruiting season, Pitt went after the top talent in the country and didn’t apologize for it. Were they successful all the time? Of course not, but they are likely to finish with a Top 25 recruiting class.
As I said yesterday, a year ago there’s no chance at all that Damar Hamlin was even considering Pitt. None. The Pitt coaches changed the way he viewed Pitt.
That’s the first step, now his task is to get more elite talent from around the country to view Pitt the way Hamlin does. Can he do that? I wouldn’t bet against him.
Since we’re on the eve of National Signing Day, I reached out to all of Pitt’s current commits and asked them their feelings about Narduzzi. As I hear back from the players, I’ll add to this.
Brandon Ford, OL, Upper St. Clair- “Coach Narduzzi and I have had a great relationship throughout his entire time at Pitt. The first time I met him I could tell he was a really honest guy and a straight shooter. I have always felt comfortable being around him and just chatting or talking football. The same can be said for the entire staff really but Coach Peterson is another guy I feel extremely comfortable with. He’s a laid back guy but can definitely get going when he needs to. But like I said, the entire staff is fantastic and I am extremely comfortable with them all.”
Zack Gilbert, DE, Charlotte (NC)- “Coach Narduzzi is a great coach and has a way with words. Also, a staff member that stood out to me were Mark Diethorn and Coach Kabala. They are great with the players and are able to connect.”
Rashad Wheeler, DT, Central Catholic- “My relationship with Coach is great. The coaches were the biggest reason I picked Pitt. I think Coach Narduzzi looks at us as more than just football players. You can tell he cares. Coach Sims also stands out to me too because he’s a great coach and makes playing football fun. Also, Anna Zilinskas helped me out in a major way during the recruiting process.”
More to come
UPDATE (9:44 PM)-
Bryce Hargrove, DT, Ohio- “I love all the coaches!! The 3 that stick out to me the most are Coach Sims, Coach Peterson and Coach Narduzzi. They talk to me the most but all the coaches just make me feel like family and like Pitt is already my home.”