Pat Narduzzi and staff hosted a small but talented group of official visitors last weekend. Amongst the coveted uncommitted players was athletic Spencer (NC) North Rowan High School defensive end Zion DeBose (6-foot-2, 235 pounds).
“I was a really good trip. I enjoyed it more than I thought it would. My family enjoyed the trip as well,” said DeBose. “I really liked getting to know the staff and how they operate and do things.”
DeBose was asked to highlight a few items from the trip that really stood out to him. He stated, “there was a few things that I liked. One thing I really liked the most was watching the Steelers practice. Mostly because I was able to see the nose guard, Javon Hargrave. He actually went to my high school. I’m best friends with his younger cousin so I know his whole family pretty well.”
“It was good running into to him seeing somebody where I’m from actually make it to that level, actually have a chance to play for the Steelers, a professional football team in the NFL. A team who has a good chance to win the Super Bowl this year. Javon, being a rookie, makes it even better because Coach Narduzzi and Coach (Josh) Conklin and Coach (Tom) Sims were just letting me know that if I come there it’s a strong possibility that I’d be able to play early and play as a freshman.”
“That really gave them an edge because I would enjoy being able to wake up everyday time sharing with a professional football team and somebody from my hometown actually doing it big and I’m right there to see and witness it every day. I feel like that’s something that would motivate me when I wake up and get my day started going to work, because that’s my ultimate goal (making to the NFL). I really enjoyed that.”
Pitt was DeBose’s third official visit. He visited Missouri in December and Illinois last weekend. Virginia Tech will receive his final official visit next weekend. He ultimately will decide between the four schools.
“I enjoyed sitting down with the coaches, but I really enjoyed sitting down with the players,” he said. “They gave me a better feel for how it really is, how their lifestyle really is at Pitt. Because I know on official visits they do everything to make it look special, try to persuade you to come to the school. After talking with some of the players that really helped a lot.”
Defensive end continues to be a true position of need for the Panthers and DeBose and the coaching staff had an in-depth discussion about the position and potential for playing time.
“They feel, talking to Coach Sims and Coach Narduzzi and Coach Conklin, they said I would actually fit in pretty good from their perspective,” he said. “The ‘flash’ defensive end is a defensive end but it’s more of an outside linebacker if you were in a three four type scheme. They said I’m pretty strong for my size but they still want me always outside under that tackle or that tight end. They loved my speed.”
“They loved how I can get to the passer. They said me being that splash player I’ll be able to do nothing but contain the outside and do all my work from the outside and make sure they love how tough and disruptive I am. They said that’s what they need. They said I have all the tools to be a great splash player.”
“I was actually sitting in the office with Coach Narduzzi and he would tell me that I’m their number one guy for being a splash player. They got other people that they offer who wanted to play the splash player, but he told me exactly why I’m number one, how I’m better than the people that’s under me who they’re looking at. He would tell me one of the players that they had, they have the same athletic ability but I’m just bigger than him. The other guy they said he’s labeled as an athlete but they could see him more at a linebacker position.”
“They have their reasons, but they made me overall number one because they see the potential in me and they see what I could possibly do to help the program in the future. I really enjoyed talking with the coaching staff and going over defenses. The defensive schemes, well the base defense that they’ve shown me, is not too hard at all. We run some of it at my high school. Picking up on it probably won’t be too much of a problem for me. It was pretty good. I really enjoyed the visit.”
DeBose has received scholarship offers from Pitt, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Furman, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Western Michigan and Appalachian State. He’s generally rated a three-star defensive end my by most recruiting services.
“I’m going to Virginia Tech next and that’ll be my last and final official visit. I don’t plan on taking on a taking a fifth official visit. After that I just want to slow things down, turn my phone off, just keep to myself, talk to my family and close friends. … This is a big decision. This is a life decision of where I’m going spend the next four years of my life. So I really want to sit down and have a lot of alone time to just actually sit and think about what I’m going to do and what school I’m going to pick. I’m just going to go from there.”