Pat Narduzzi and staff have hit the road this week diligently working to solidify their 2017 recruiting class. Montclair (NJ) center / guard prospect Owen Drexel (6-foot-4 inches, 285 pounds) is a player that doesn’t need to be sold on the Panthers’ program. The rugged lineman committed to Pitt in June and he’s never looked back. Drexel may be the most underrated prospect in the class of 2017. Considered the top center prospect in New Jersey, he was recently selected to the Blue/Grey All American Bowl in Dallas, TX. He’s a player with an exceptional work ethic on and off the field.
Drexel met with Coach Narduzzi and offensive line coach John Peterson last month. “The meeting went great. It was more of just a revisit to everything we’ve already talked about. I’ve talked about it so much there’s nothing really else to find out,” he said. “It was more just talking with them. They’re such great guys. My mom finally got to meet them. That was a big part of it, too.”
“The visit gave me a chance to catch up with them. We discussed my official visit as well. I’ll be going on the weekend of December 9th. I believe there’s a lot of my class heading in that weekend. They should have a group of uncommitted guys coming as well.”
Montclair High School finished the season with a 7-4 record. “We lost in the semi-finals of the playoffs,” he said. “(The season) didn’t get to where we wanted to be, but you know, we had a great running game. We had a great running back and a great quarterback. I feel like we did well, but we definitely didn’t get to where we wanted to be.”
When asked about his thoughts on the Panthers’ season, he stated, “Yeah. The offense is clearly incredible. Coach Canada does a great job. The offensive line is insane. Nine sacks the whole season. Single digit sacks, that’s pretty amazing. Also, they stepped up in the big games. You can tell. Penn State and Clemson. Pretty great.”
When Pittsburgh Sports Now interviewed Pro E.D.G.E. co-founder Sameeh McDonald about Drexel, he consistently described him as a ‘student of the game.’ Drexel enjoyed watching the Panthers compete in the ACC, but he paid very close attention to the play of the offensive line. “I definitely paid close attention to the line play. That’s really one of the only things I watch. That and when the camera zooms past the little receiver guy, I have to watch then. Yeah, pretty much just watch the offensive line.”
Drexel is incredibly excited to join the Panther football program. He quickly interjected, “For me, it’s just doing whatever I can for the team. I want to be the best Owen I can be for the team. So, whatever they need me to be, I’ll be.” He will continue to work with the experts at Pro E.D.G.E. (Elevating Development to Gain Excellence) to hone his skills.
Drexel stands 6-foot-4 inches tall, weighs 285 pounds and is diligently working on his conditioning. “I’m trying to come in at around 285 to 295 pounds; between those two. That’s my goal,” he said. “A healthy 285 to 295 pounds. I don’t want to be chubby or anything.”
Drexel was the first Garden State lineman to join the Panthers. The second happened to be his close friend Wayne (NJ) Passaic County Technical Institute offensive tackle Carter Warren (6-foot-7 inches, 320 pounds). “It’s awesome. I’ve only played against him, so it’s going to be great to play with him for once,” he said. “He’s like a brother to me. It’s going to be great to play with him instead of against him. Block with him, instead of blocking him. You know what I mean?”
The official visit weekend of December 9th – 11th will be a critical one for Pitt football. Pitt commits Owen Drexel, Kenny Pickett and Kyle Nunn will be mixed in with uncommitted prospects, Washington (DC) Woodson HS DT Jaylen Twyman and Lakeland (FL) cornerback Damarri Mathis. We are attempting to confirm if Mathis’ teammate, four-star running back Anthony Davis will be visiting the same weekend. The list will expand within the next week.
Harry G. Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru
Header image: Owen Drexel at Pitt, photo courtesy of Joshua Fedd-Jackson