Tight ends have been a priority for the Pitt coaching staff this year. The Pitt coaching staff was cognizant they needed to land two, potentially three, tight ends in the 2017 recruiting class as the Panthers didn’t have a single tight end with freshman eligibility. One of the three prospects that added to the class was New Castle (PA) Neshannock High School’s Tyler Sear (6-foot-5 inches, 245 pounds).
Sear is a blue-collar, throw-back tight end that primarily known as a standout run blocker prior to his senior season. His combination of size, strength and athletic ability translated to dominance over most opponents. A student of the game, Sear continued to work on his craft and improved exponentially catching the ball. He entered his senior season a blocking tight end and left a well-rounded one. A number of schools took notice. Southeastern Conference power LSU recently offered a scholarship. Sear, a young man true to his word, politely turned them down.
Sear and his family had an in-home visit with Coach Narduzzi last week. He was asked to discuss the visit.
“It was a great night in general. It started off with Coach Narduzzi coming to my school and meeting my coach. We sat and talked and had a great conversation,” said Sear. “Coach then came down to New Castle. He came over my house and we had a nice dinner. It was great to have him over and have a normal conversation with my family. We didn’t talk about football that much, just normal, everyday stuff. Coach came to my basketball practice after that.”
“My parents are very happy. They like that Coach Narduzzi is down to earth and you can have a normal conversation with him. Not everything is high maintenance.”
Narduzzi followed Sear to his basketball practice after their dinner. His teammates were a bit shocked to see their unannounced visitor. “Coach Narduzzi came to my practice. All of my teammates and coaches were simply starstruck to see him walk in,” he said. “Everybody walked up to speak with him.”
Sear was asked to discuss his senior season. Was he satisfied or leave opportunity on the table? “I had a great senior year and we went to the WPIAL championship and it didn’t end the way we wanted to but it’s the first time in school history we made it that far, so I can’t complain. We went 12-2 for the season,” he said.
He was asked to assess his play for the season and he quickly replied, “I feel like I improved. I mean coming into this year I only caught about, I want to say roughly 20 balls through my career and this year I had alone, I think 30 to 35 catches for about 600 yards. I feel like I grew a lot as a receiver this year. I have always had confidence in my blocking skills.”
Sear focused heavily on the play of the Panthers’ tight ends this season. He learned a tremendous amount of observing Scott Orndoff and Jaymar Parrish. “I probably watched a little more of Jaymar Parrish than Scott Orndoff. Jaymar, he’s more of an in-line type of player but I mean I love what I see from Scott as well,” he said. “Scott’s a great, great player.”
“He’s been really getting it done receiving wise for the team. Even Jaymar Parrish had a big catch against Clemson so I mean I just like what I see from the tight ends. Pitt, itself, is having a great year. It started out a little rough but they’re ending on a really strong note.”
Sear referred to tight ends with labels like ‘in-line blockers’ and ‘pass catching or h-backs’. How would he label himself? “Well I was asked the same question when I was committed to Temple previously and I’ll answer it the same way,” he said. “I feel like I’m more of a hybrid type of player and I feel like I can excel at blocking but I can also be at least a good short yardage pass receiver. I just feel like I’m a little bit underrated almost at receiving. I would classify myself more as a hybrid type.”
Sear will take his official visit to Pitt the weekend of January 13th, 14th and 15th. He will be joined by fellow class of 2017 commitments Darian Street, Cameron Bright and Dontavius Butler. The Panthers will host a number strong uncommitted prospects that weekend as well: Indian Head (MD) Henry E. Lackey HS linebacker Nathan Proctor, Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard HS defensive end Stephon Zayas, Washington (DC) St. John’s College HS defensive end Kofi Wardlow and Florence (SC) West Florence HS defensive end Chrishawn Wilson.
It’s safe to say that Sear is happy with his decision to commit to Pitt. He proclaimed, “I can’t wait to get to Pitt. If I had an opportunity I’d probably enroll early.”
Harry G. Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru