In his first year on the job, it became very clear that Pat Narduzzi wasn’t afraid to “fight with the big boys.” By that I mean, unlike other coaches in the past, Pitt was going to go after the best prospects in the country regardless of what “star” recruit they were.
Narduzzi and his staff weren’t going to be afraid of going up against Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida State for a recruit. Yes, the odds were against them but Pitt was willing to battle.
Today, I have another example of that.
Deonte Johnson (Sacramento, California) is one the top defensive ends in the entire country. Johnson has offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA, USC, etc and today Pitt entered the recruiting battle for him.
“It was Coach Sims that offered me today. It wasn’t a surprise because I had talked to him before and he said that I am a #1 priority for them”, said Johnson.
I asked Johnson what he knows about the Pitt football program to which he replied, “It’s a program big on family.”
Being a recruit from California and with so many big offers, is Johnson going to really consider Pitt?
“Yes, I’m going to consider them. Distance isn’t a problem for me. The family atmosphere is what I like”, said Johnson. “I’m going to narrow my list based on whether or not the teams that are recruiting me are selling me on a dream or are they actually being real with me. I’m going to be looking for a program that is a family and that loves competing.”
Last season for Burbank HS, Johnson recorded 87 tackles, 32 of them for a loss and also collected 14.5 sacks.
Johnson told me, “the strength in my game is my freak athleticism and my non-stop motor. Plus of course, I really love the game of football.”