When James Conner declared for the NFL, a lot of carries became available next season for the Panthers. Conner received 216 carries in 2016, 144 more than Pitt’s second leader in attempts, Nate Peterman. Even with Under Armour All-American Todd Sibley committed to join the Panthers in the fall, Pat Narduzzi is still looking to add to Pitt’s corps of running backs. In the past week, 3-star running back recruit Kyshaun Bryan has emerged as a priority candidate to provide such an addition. Pitt offered the 5-10, 190-pounder from Florida last weekend, and sent a member of their staff to visit him shortly thereafter. On Wednesday, tight ends coach Tim Salem visited Bryan at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, and joined the coveted running back at his house once school let out. According to Kyshaun, it was an overall enjoyable and informative visit.
“It was real good,” said Bryan. “Great guy. Coach Salem is a real funny dude, actually. But he was just telling me and my parents about what we’re going to see on the visit…He was telling us what we’ll be doing up there, and who I’m going to meet, and stuff like that. He was telling me about opportunities after football, and the opportunities that I have there, and the great, great coaching staff they’ve built.”
Per Kyshaun, Coach Salem explained what the Panthers see in him, and why he intrigues them as a recruit. However, Bryan believes Salem saved some of the recruiting talk for this weekend when the running back will be taking an official visit to Pitt. From what was discussed during Coach Salem’s visit, Kyshaun expects this to be one eventful weekend.
“We’ll be going up there doing a campus tour, take us out to eat, hang out with some of the players and some of the recruits. I guess they’re going to take us to [a local restaurant] Saturday, and then Coach Narduzzi’s house Saturday as well.”
Bryan believes he already knows enough about what the Pitt football program will offer him as a player. Now, he must gauge something that a player cannot learn without the interaction provided on a visit.
“To be honest, they’ve sold me enough to know what the situation is about when I step on campus,” said Kyshaun. “I can go and compete—there’s some great guys there. Really just at this point, [it’s] where I feel comfortable, me and my family. But I’ll get that feeling when I get there.”
Bryan’s flight to Pittsburgh is scheduled for 7 a.m. Friday morning. Despite the early morning travel, Kyshaun remains enthusiastic about the days ahead.
“I’m excited,” he exclaimed. “I heard Pittsburgh is a great place, and the city’s great, and the school’s great—so I’m excited to go up there and check it out. And I heard the coaching staff was real cool. Butler was telling me, and Tucker was telling me, so I’m really excited.”
The “Butler” and “Tucker” to which Kyshaun is referring are Dontavius Butler and Albert Tucker, a pair of recruits that are currently committed to Pitt for the class of 2017. Prior to playing his senior year at St. Thomas Aquinas, Bryan attended American Heritage High School, where he suited up alongside Dontavius Butler. Then, this season, he had the opportunity to play with Albert Tucker. Through his experiences with both players, Kyshaun expresses nothing but praise for his friends.
“Butler—I’ve known him for a long time growing up in little league, so that’s a brother right there. A family member. He’s told me a lot about the school, and he’s actually one of the guys that reached out to me when he was up at his official with Pitt. I’m real close with him. Great player, and I love that dude. Tucker—I just met this year coming in. Real cool dude, I love that dude, and he’s going to be a great player at Pitt.
While Bryan is in touch with his former high school teammates, he has not contacted any of the recruits visiting this weekend. He attributes this to the lack of time between when his offer arrived, and when his visit takes place.
As previously stated, Bryan is committed to Will Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks. However, two schools currently hold a chance at flipping his commitment before National Signing Day.
“Like I said, it’s just where I feel comfortable,” Kyshaun reiterated. “It’s down to, to be honest, Pitt and Iowa. I go to Pitt this weekend. Iowa next week. After that, I’ll be thinking about what I’m going to do, and where I felt comfortable—and just how close I am with the coaching staff.”
Pitt already features some talented and experienced running backs on its roster, and Todd Sibley will only enhance that depth in 2017. However, the injuries sustained this season by running backs Chawntez Moss, Darrin Hall, and even James Conner in the Pinstripe Bowl, exemplify the importance of depth at the running back position. Expect Pat Narduzzi and his staff to dedicate plenty of time over the next two weeks towards adding Kyshaun Bryan to their team.