College football coaches don’t stop working, do they?
Pat Narduzzi allowed for no rest Wednesday following the completion of his 2017 recruiting class. Instead of taking a well-deserved nap after the arrival of that final Letter of Intent, the Panthers’ head coach charged forward into his recruitment of 2018’s top prospects. Last night, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with one of Coach Narduzzi’s top WPIAL targets, Devin Danielson, after the recruit received an important call from Pitt’s head coach earlier in the day.
“I talked to Coach Narduzzi today and he offered me a scholarship, and it means a whole lot,” said Danielson. “It’s the home town team and it just feels great.”
Danielson, a 6’3” 290-pound defensive tackle prospect from Thomas Jefferson High School, offered nothing but praise for the University of Pittsburgh and its head coach.
“[Coach Narduzzi] is doing a great job. The program is really on the rise. … It’s a good school—and a great program.”
Growing up in Jefferson Hills, Devin’s proximity to Pitt has afforded him opportunities that he has not yet had with other programs. In 2016, Devin attended the Panthers’ spring camp, and he was present for their 43-27 victory over Marshall at Heinz Field. Also, as a native of Western Pennsylvania, he understands the significance of being a top recruit from the WPIAL.
“The WPIAL is just great,” he said. “It always generates great football players.”
A starter since his freshman year, Devin lines up at both defensive tackle and left tackle for the Thomas Jefferson Jaguars. His contributions in the trenches have assisted in back-to-back WPIAL championships for Head Coach Bill Cherpak and the Jaguars.
“It’s great just knowing you won it two years in a row. The feeling is awesome.”
On the field, Danielson describes himself as “violent, explosive, and just hard working.” These characteristics led to 41 tackles, 9.0 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries in 2016. However, he is actively working to improve his speed, hands, and explosiveness to strengthen the Jaguars chances of earning a third consecutive WPIAL championship.
At this time, Devin holds offers from an assortment of schools, including Louisville, UCLA, and West Virginia. That list is likely to experience significant growth in the upcoming months as more teams learn of his talents, though. When it comes time to make a decision, Danielson will have plenty of schools from which to choose.
Some recruits prefer to offer a commitment prior to their senior year of high school, pledging allegiance early on in an attempt to limit the stress involved in the recruiting process. Others elect to wait until National Signing Day, conducting an extensive search while creating a world of suspense along the way. For Devin, he holds no preference as to when he commits. Instead, he will commit when the right opportunity presents itself.
“I’m honestly going to select a school when I find the right one—when I know which one I want to go to. Whichever one fits the best.”
Devin hopes to attend Pitt’s upcoming Junior Day, and would like to participate in one of their offseason camps. Although still early in the process, Pitt already holds a chance at becoming “the right one” for Devin Danielson.
“I really like Pitt,” Devin asserted. “They’re up there. They’re at the upper end of my list.”
At this early in the recruiting process, the upper end of a recruit’s list is a good place to be.