PITTSBURGH — I’ll be live at Pitt’s Duratz Athletic Complex in the South Side starting at 7 a.m. all the way through Pat Narduzzi’s press conference at 3 p.m. Follow along as the faxes roll in on National Letter of Intent Day.
UPDATE: 2:43 p.m: After two additions today, Pitt has moved up to No. 31 in 247’s class rankings. The Panthers started the day at No. 35.
UPDATE 1:26 p.m: Pat Narduzzi has done it again. Two years in a row, Narduzzi took a battle right down to the wire and won it, landing 4-star Lakeland, Fla., running back A.J. Davis. Davis checks in at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds and is the 19th-ranked running back in the country according to 247. More on Davis to follow.
UPDATE 11:09 a.m: Head coach Pat Narduzzi just walked past while he was on the phone with newest Pitt recruit Jaylen Twyman.
“The silent assassin makes it official!” Narduzzi said. “We’re excited to have you official, that’s for sure. Great news.”
Narduzzi also said that they “plan to put some weight” onto the already 6-foot-2, 290-pound Twyman.
UPDATE 10:53 a.m: Pitt came into the day with 18 recruits and will leave with at least 19 after the commitment of Jaylen Twyman. When counting the five mid-year enrollees, that makes 24 total recruits for the 2017 class. Pitt still has some irons in the fire going forward, with Florida running back A.J. Davis their biggest remaining target.
But it also seems likely that Pitt will finish the day with some open scholarships. They had 21 players walk on senior day and James Conner declared early for the draft. Since then, tight end Zach Poker, wide receiver Zach Challingsworth and tackle Mike Grimm all seem unlikely to return and there are unverified reports of even more scholarships opening.
The Pitt staff is recruiting for that plan, as they are in the market for transfers at tight end and on the offensive line.
UPDATE 10:47 a.m: Pitt picks up an additional commitment from Washington, D.C. defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman. He goes 6-foot-2, 290 and is a 3-star prospect per 247. Mike Vukovcan has more here.
UPDATE 10:01 a.m: The last already committed member of the Class of 2017 has signed with Pitt, Fort Lauderdale wide receiver Dontavius Butler. Butler is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound, 3-star receiver. That’s three wide receivers and three tight ends in the class as Pitt looks up to upgrade the passing offense playmakers.
UPDATE 9:52 a.m: Pitt has its first miss of the day as 3-star Booker T. Washington DE target Guy Thomas has reaffirmed his commitment to Nebraska.
UPDATE 9:34 a.m: Things seem to have a hit a mid-morning lull. Of Pitt’s 18 commits expected to sign today, 17 are official, with just wide receiver Dontavius Butler yet to send in his NLI.
UPDATE: 9:18 a.m: The crown jewel of the Pitt Class of 2017 is on board, as Pat Narduzzi has received a letter of intent from Steel Valley DB Paris Ford. Ford is the No. 3 prospect in the state and is rated as a 4-star athlete by 247. If things fall into place, he could be a day-one starter at free safety.
UPDATE 9:06 a.m: The playmakers for the Pitt offense keep rolling in. Bethlehem wideout Darian Street is the latest to sign on the line. The 6-foot-1, 197-pound speedster is a legacy for the Panthers. He’s the younger brother of former Panthers wideout Devin Street.
UPDATE 8:56 a.m: Another four-star offensive playmaker is in the fold for the Panthers, as Steubenville, Ohio tight end Charles Reeves has submitted his paperwork. He’s a 6-foot-5, 230-pound matchup nightmare that combines size with speed and athleticism. He’s the 8th-ranked tight end in the country according to 247.
UPDATE 8:26 a.m: Pitt only has one junior college player in the Class of 2017 and he’s all but official as defensive tackle Kam Carter has signed his letter of intent and sent a cool snapshot of it to our Mike Vukovkan. Carter is from Gaithersburg, Maryland and is a monster at 6-foot-4, 305 pounds.
UPDATE 8:19 a.m: Pitt has made some serious inroads in the Deep South this recruiting cycle with several players from Florida. The Panthers also grabbed a talented linebacker out of SEC Country in Alabama native Cam Bright. The 3-star ‘backer was an early commit for the Panthers and an impressive senior season added to his national profile.
UPDATE 8:16 a.m: Archbishop Hovan running back Todd Sibley is the first Pitt signee with four stars next to his name. The Akron native is expected to be able contribute right away. He’s not a tall player at just over 5-foot-9, but he has both the size and explosive speed that the Panthers are looking for out of the backfield. Sibley joins what could be a deep and talented running back stable for the Panthers.
UPDATE 8:03 a.m: Pitt is listing Kyle Nunn as a linebacker officially, so it appears that he’s probably ticketed for the coverage-heavy star spot.
UPDATE 7:59 a.m: Considering the issues Pitt had in the secondary last year, Lakeland, Florida cornerback Damarri Mathis might end up being one of the most important players in the class. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound corner is rated as a 3-star prospect by 247, but the Panthers staff are high on his playmaking abilities and his pure athleticism.
UPDATE 7:45 a.m: The Florida connection continues with linebacker Albert Tucker. The Fort Lauderdale native is a defensive playmaker at 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds. What he lacks in sheer size, he more than makes up for with athleticism and should provide a big boost in that department.
UPDATE 7:41 a.m: Pitt’s Class of 2017 will have a heavy Sunshine State presence, and the fastest with a fax machine of the Floridians is wide receiver Michael Smith. The 3-star speedster from Vero Beach checks in 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds.
UPDATE 7:35 a.m: Pitt has a second tight end in the Class of 2017. Neshannock tight end Tyler Sear is on board. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound athlete is a 3-star prospect that has turned down a late push from LSU to stick with his Pitt commitment.
UPDATE 7:26 a.m: One of Pitt’s most recent commits has signed up for four years. Connecticut cornerback Jason Pinnock has submitted his paperwork. The former Boston College commit checks in at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds and carries a 3-star rating.
UPDATE 7:23 a.m: Offensive linemen must be early risers. Passaic, N.J. behemoth Carter Warren has submitted his paperwork. Warren, a close friend of fellow commit Owen Drexel, is expected to man a tackle spot and at 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, he has the requisite size. His 3-star rating belied the national list of offers Pitt beat out to land the big man.
UPDATE 7:20 a.m: At this point, we might be done by 8 a.m. The Panthers have other one, and the second WPIAL player for Pitt is in the books as Pine-Richland tight end Grant Carrigan has signed with Pitt. Probably the tallest player in Pitt’s class at over 6-foot-7, Carrigan is an impressive athlete for his size and has drawn comparisons to converted offensive tackle Brian O’Neill. Carrigan is another 3-star prospect.
UPDATE 7:15 a.m: They’re coming in quickly as Pitt has a fourth commit sign their name in less than 15 minutes. This one is 6-foot-6, 235-pound defensive end Carson Van Lynn. The Columbus native projects as a strong-side defensive end that can use his length and speed to be a disruptive pass rusher and stout at the point of the attack. He’s rated as a 3-star player by 247.
UPDATE 7:12 a.m: They’re coming in quickly this morning as Pitt has a third player in the class and the second offensive lineman on the books. Montclair, N.J. center Owen Drexel has sent in his paperwork. The longtime Pitt commit is 6-foot-4, 270 pounds and is a 3-star prospect according to 247.
UPDATE: 7:10 a.m: Three-star safety/lineback Kyle Nunn is the second player to send in his NLI to the Pitt office Wednesday morning. Nunn is from Findlay, Ohio — the same hometown as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The 6-foot-3, 196-pounder may fit in a number of spots in Pitt’s defensive scheme. He’s rated as a 3-star prospect by 247.
UPDATE 7:04 a.m: The first Pitt commit to send in his National Letter of Intent is offensive lineman Gabe Houy. Houy is a tackle from Upper St. Clair. He checks in at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds and is a 3-star recruit.
It’s the second consecutive seasons an offensive lineman from the South Hills is the first commit at the fax machine. Last year, it was fellow USC grad Brandon Ford to be the first one past the post.