Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi is in the process of rebuilding the Panthers’ defense. With senior defensive tackles Shakir Soto and Tyrique Jarrett graduating after the 2016 season, the coaching staff looks to add a pair of impact replacements. Perhaps the top defensive tackle prospect on their ‘hot board’ is 6-foot-2 inch, 300 pound Washington, D.C., H.D. Woodson High School Jaylen Twyman.
“My season is going really well. Our team is 3-1 right now. We’re coming off a 54 to 8 win,” said Twyman. “We’re doing pretty good and hoping to keep it going.”
Tywman has taken two previous visits to Pitt campus. The Panthers continue to attempt to crack the DC area and the addition of the stout defensive tackle would be a great start. When asked about Pitt, he stated, “I talk to Coach Narduzzi every single week. I talk with coach (Tom) Simms every single week. I think I talk to coach (Andre) Powell every day. We are always touching base,” he said. “We’re still trying to decide when I’m coming for an official visit. The majority of the time, we’re talking about after the season. My high school team has a very, very busy schedule and it makes it hard to schedule anything.”
“I love Pitt. It’s hard to explain. I love it. Coach Narduzzi has made them a defensive football team. The love that I get from them is like, wow,” he said. “The way they treat me from the fans, to the coaches to the team, it’s like one big family there.”
Twyman has accrued at least a dozen P5 scholarship offers including Pitt, Florida, Indiana, Tennessee, Maryland, Iowa State, Louisville, Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina and Temple. The stout lineman has tremendous natural strength and a surprisingly fast first step. Although Jalyen doesn’t officially have a top 5 list of schools, he stated, “I can guarantee you Pitt will be in my top 5”.
When asked about his strengths at the defensive tackle position, he stated, “My ‘get off’ (the line), my…everything; I just have that ‘it’ factor,” he stated. “I have a tribe to feed, not just a family.”
Twyman likes Pittsburgh’s close proximity to the Washington, D.C. area. “I like that my mom and family can get to see me play. I don’t mind a little bit of distance, but I want to be considerate to them. They want to come see me play. Getting to Pittsburgh is pretty easy.”
Twyman is a true student of the game. He watches the NFL and attempts to replicate what he witnesses from top defensive players. One player in particular, stands out to him. The name will be very familiar to Pitt fans. “I’m my own man, but Aaron Donald is my favorite player in the entire NFL. Everything he does, my get off and his get off is the same. I might be just a few pounds more than he weights. We play just alike.”
Disruptive defensive linemen can change the fortunes of a football game. Twyman is the quintessential battering ram that Pitt’s covets. Look for the Panthers to make an aggressive move to land this blue-chip prospect after his senior season.
Harry G. Psaros can be found on twitter at @PittGuru