For the last year, Pat Narduzzi and his assistants have recruited Maryland 4-star linebacker Nathan Proctor as hard as any player in the Class of 2017.
Tomorrow, the Pitt program will reportedly find out if their hard work paid off.
Various media outlets are reporting that at some point tomorrow, Proctor will decide his college decision: Pitt or Virginia Tech.
This evening I spoke with Proctor’s football coach John Lush, who wouldn’t confirm a timeline for Proctor’s decision, to get his take on this process, what will be important to his star player and to try to get you introduced to Nathan Proctor the person, not just the football player.
“He’s obviously the most talented kid I’ve ever had the chance to coach. When you hear about 4-5 star players, you get the stereotype or perception that the players is a me first type kid. Nate is anything but which is why I think he’s struggling with the process,” said Lush.
“He’s been raised really well and does a lot of things based off of relationships. He’s been recruited since he’s a sophomore so he’s built a ton of really solid relationships with coaches over the country. It’s hard because he’s having a hard time telling people no. He takes it to heart and it’s part of the reason he’s the player and person he is.
Fans across the country hope their teams land the best recruits possible and some encourage these recruits thru social media to attend their favorite school. Most fans forget the fact these recruits are 17-18 years old and it will end up being one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
“I think this has been overwhelming for him. I talked to him and his parents today and said I don’t know if you’re feeling overwhelmed but as an outsider, I am,” said Lush.
“I came out of the weight room today and had nine text messages and voice mails from coaches, different newspapers and various websites wanting to talk to me about Nathan so I can’t imagine what he’s going through. At the end of the day these kids are just that kids.”
I asked Lush what sort of advice he gave to his star player?
“What I tried to put into perspective is that you have to make the decision that’s best for you academically. Hopefully it all works out well for him on the field but you never know with injuries and you have a ton of great players at these schools. You can be a hero or a villain overnight but as long as you’re walking out with that degree in four years that’s going to set you apart later on in life and that’s what’s important.”
Narduzzi and a group of his assistants had their home visit with Proctor last night. Among other things, Narduzzi has developed a reputation as a closer in recruiting and a coach that’s loved by his players. Proctor found that out on his multiple trips to Pittsburgh.
“Nathan sees that all the players spoke so highly of Coach Narduzzi. It wasn’t just kids that Coach Narduzzi recruited but guys who had been recruited by some really good coaches. The overwhelming feeling was how passionate he is about his kids and Joe involved he is in their lives. I think that’s something that really rang true with Nate,” said Lush.
— Nathan Proctor Jr. (@Nate_la_gran_21) January 25, 2017
“He’s going to go where he thinks is a true family environment. That’s what we have here at Lackey. He could’ve gone to any private school around here. We’re a small town in the woods, it’s a really close knit community, one of the last true community schools left in the area. I think that was important to him I think he sees that these 2 schools have the same thing. You’re getting coaching staffs that are really involved with him as much as a person as a player.”
Lush wouldn’t confirm to me the timeline for Proctor’s decision but when he ends up deciding it’ll be a family decision.
“I’m sure his family will sit down and go from there. They are very methodical, very antalytical. They will analyze every single thing. They’re going to do pros and cons and be confident in the decision they make,” said Lush.