The Pitt football program will be losing two talented offensive lineman to the NFL Draft this April in Dorian Johnson and Adam Bisnowaty, so trying to replace them is a priority with this years recruiting class.
Over the weekend, Pat Narduzzi and his staff hosted a talented offensive tackle that holds offers from many of the elite programs in the country.
Jerry Drake (6-7, 300) is from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and he made an official visit this weekend to snowy Pittsburgh.
“When I got there, I knew it was going to snow. I’ve been in Ohio so I’ve seen snow before but I haven’t seen it in a while,” said Drake.
“When I saw the snow, I started making snow balls and throwing them at my mom and the coaches. I had a good time.”
It was good for Pitt to get a lineman with his skill level on campus for a visit. Aside from the Panthers, Drake holds offers from schools like Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Michigan State, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA and West Virginia.
Drake told me that he first got interest from Pitt this summer at an open camp in Florida when they offered him and they’ve been talking now ever since.
Not only is Drake a talented football player but he’s someone who excels in the classroom as well and his future major is one of the reasons Pitt is so high on his list.
“I’m interested in majoring in engineering and they have a really good engineering program. Pitt’s engineering job rate is like 95% and Pitt academically, they’re one of the best schools that have offered me,” said Drake.
I asked Drake about things that pleasantly surprised him about the visit.
“I didn’t realize that Pitt’s academics were quite as good as they are so that was a surprise. I also didn’t realize that they were literally right next to the Steelers. Their practice fields are side by side with nothing dividing them.”
Speaking of the Steelers, Drake told me that he spent a summer working out with Steeler center Maurkice Pouncey and his brother Mike back in Florida.
Pitt is selling Drake on the fact that they need offensive lineman and he’ll have a chance to play early and have an early impact, which is something anything recruit likes to hear.
It was important that Drake came this weekend because it was his last opportunity to make an official visit to a school because he’s graduating from Palm Beach Gardens early and enrolling in college in January. The big offensive tackle was able to make four official visits: Pitt, Tennessee, South Carolina and Oklahoma.
“Pitt’s one of my top schools. It’s decision time and now I’m just trying to narrow it down to a school that fits me best,” said Drake.
I’m sure Narduzzi and his staff hope that in the end, Pitt will be it.