It’s no time to rest for the Pitt coaches. Evaluation and recruiting the top 2018 Western Pennsylvania recruits is in full motion for Pat Narduzzi and his coaching staff.
Zubovic and Danielson now join Phil Jurkovec (Pine-Richland QB), TJ Banks (East Allegheny DE/TE) and Kwantel Raines (Aliquippa S) as local recruits that hold offers from Pitt.
It’s obviously early in the process and that number will surely increase.
In his first two recruiting classes with Pitt, Narduzzi has done a good, not great, job recruiting Western Pennsylvania. Although fans expect it, Pitt isn’t going to land every big player for the area, that’s just not realistic.
Although they’ve missed on a couple, Pitt coaches have done a nice job of getting some of the bigger names to stay home and play for the hometown school.
Here’s a breakdown of local commitments under Pat Narduzzi:
2016: CB Damar Hamlin (Central Catholic), WR Aaron Mathews (Clairton), LB Kaezon Pugh, CB Therran Coleman (Brashear), DT Rashad Wheeler (Central Catholic), S Bricen Garner (Central Catholic), OT Brandon Ford (Upper St. Clair)
2017: TE Grant Carrigan (Pine Richland), TE Tyler Sear (Neshannock), OT Gabe Houy (Upper St. Clair), S Paris Ford (Steel Valley)
So who are the Top 10 targets from the WPIAL this year?
Phil Jurkovec, Quarterback, Pine-Richland: Jurkovec is one of the top rated quarterbacks in the entire country and has already given a verbal commitment to Brian Kelly and Notre Dame.
Kwantel Raines, Safety, Aliquippa: I’m not 100% certain but I’d be confident in guessing that Raines is one of the top overall players on Narduzzi’s recruiting board. Raines isn’t just a WPIAL recruit, he’s a big-time national recruit and is a priority for the Panthers. The problem is many top schools feel that way about Raines and this will be a battle all the way until 2018 Signing Day. This will likely come down to Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia.
Marcus Hooker, Safety/Cornerback, New Castle: Marcus is the younger brother of Ohio State All-American safety Malik Hooker, who will be a Top 10 pick in this year’s NFL Draft. I’m not sure why but despite being rated a 4-star recruit by some services, the only Power 5 school to offer Marcus is West Virginia. I’d have to imagine Pitt will be coming in with an offer soon.
Julian Major, Wide Receiver, Penn Hills: A good sized (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) wideout that holds early offers from Arkansas, Boston College, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Iowa State.
Devin Danielson, Defensive Tackle, Thomas Jefferson: This big defensive tackle (6-foot-3, 290 pounds) is a player that I think could end up being one of the Top 3 players in the area this year and will end up being one of Pitt’s top targets. Aside from the Panthers, Danielson already holds offers from Louisville, Iowa State, Rutgers, Syracuse, UCLA, Virginia and West Virginia.
TJ Banks, Defensive End/Tight End, East Allegheny: Big-time athlete with untapped potential. Banks (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) is a player that visited Pitt a few times last year and someone that I think Pitt is in a good spot to land. Banks also holds offers from Maryland and Cincinnati.
Blake Zubovic, Offensive Tackle, Belle Vernon: Picked up his first offer this week from Pitt. Zubovic is a natural offensive tackle and someone that Pitt wants to add to their roster. As the season goes on, expect more and more teams to get in on Zubovic so this won’t be easy for Pitt.
David Green, Defensive End/Linebacker, Central Catholic: Another in the long line of talented players from Central Catholic. It’s still a bit uncertain where Green projects to play in college. He’s another player that I’d expect Pitt to offer soon. Green does hold offers from West Virginia, Iowa State and Rutgers.
James Gmiter, Defensive Tackle, Bethel Park: This big defensive lineman (6-foot-4, 300 pounds) has already given a verbal commitment to West Virginia. Gmiter also held an early offer from Wisconsin.
Kenny White, Cornerback, West Allegheny: Very talented athlete, possibly the best in the WPIAL. White (6-f00t, 185 pounds) doesn’t hold an offer from Pitt but I’d expect that to change soon. If he gets that offer, I’d see White being a Pitt lean.
Other Top Players: CB Khalil Weathers (Central Catholic), Athlete Ronnie Stevenson (Montour), WR Malik Sheppard (Beaver Falls), QB Troy Fisher (Central Catholic),