Pitt offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson was a busy man during the spring evaluation period. During which he opted to target a select group of quarterbacks. One of them was 2018 pro-style quarterback Nick Patti from St. Joseph’s High School in Montvale, NJ. The 6-foot-3 inch, 195 pound prospect possesses a strong arm, quick release and above average mobility. Patti, after discussions with his family and the Panthers’ coaching staff, finally decided to call head coach Pat Narduzzi and tell him ‘Pitt is it’!
Paitt is the second player to join the Panthers class of 2018 joining Cambridge (MA) Buckingham Browne & Nichols tight end Jay Symonds.
I’m really excited to be a Panther. It feels great to commit to Pitt.
“Since I started to get scholarship offers, I’ve kind of set a date for myself as a deadline that I wanted to get it done by. And then focus on my senior season and just have fun with that stuff. So my deadline was around May 20th. And I figured to myself, any school beyond that was just a school hopping on the bandwagon late and didn’t see my talent beforehand,” said Patti. “I’ve been very interested in Pitt. I’ve done my research on them. Obviously they’re a Power 5 school and that’s been a dream of mine to play in a Power 5 program. And then the ACC, which is arguably the best conference in college football, and they’ve had a lot of success in there. And the coaching staff has just been great. Coach Narduzzi is a great coach and he’s had great quarterbacks in the past. Not sure as much as his doing as it is, but it just shows what type of offensive coordinators he has and how smart he is with the guys that he hires.”
“That brings us down to Coach Watson and he is just a great coach. He’s had some great quarterbacks that have come through and they take one quarterback in the class and that I like. You won’t have to be competing with one of the guys that’s in your grade. And you can push yourself with guys ahead of you and guys younger than you and behind you. And you’re the only guy in the class. And I’ll be the 2018 guy, and that’s a pretty cool thing to me.”
Patti chose Pitt over scholarship offers from Boston College, Rutgers, Temple, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Albany, Toledo, Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth and Coastal Carolina.
“I visited Pitt in mid-February, and I loved the facility. I got to see a basketball game. I’m a big college basketball fan so, they’re playing in the ACC and I got to sit close and watch them play UNC which was a good experience. I haven’t met many of the players, but I know some local guys that came from Jersey. And they’re all great kids and they bought into the program, and they love it there. And there’s nothing but good things to say about Pitt, so I just felt they were a good fit.”
Quarterbacks, by default, assume a mantle of leadership. As the 2nd player to verbally commit to Pitt in 2018, Patti is aware that in the day and age of social media, he can make assist in the Panthers’ recruiting efforts.
“I want to lead. That was one of the reasons that I wanted to get it done early (commit). I’ve already been reaching out to guys saying, “Hey, you thinking Pitt?” I mean, some great guys that I’ve watched their film. Being the quarterback, you basically get the people that Pitt offers. You get to pick and choose who you really want to talk to and you really want to pursue, and have them come into the Pitt family.”
“I’ll be reaching out to wide receivers and hopefully I’ll be able to build a connection with them, even before we get to Pitt. A bunch of the lineman I’ve reached out to. I can’t name any of them now. I honestly don’t really remember any of their names. I just watched a couple films and saw some big beasts that I want to have block for me. I reached out and I just asked them what they’re thinking. Now that I have committed, I’ll have a couple guys reach out to me and maybe see if they’re interested and we can get something going like that.”
Patti has some very impressive highlights from his junior season. He was asked to discuss his strengths as a quarterback. He stated, “Coach Watson and Narduzzi say that I have, once I get into college football, I’ll have one of the quickest releases throughout all of college football. Coach Watts said to me, ‘Your film’s really impressive but you’re a live thrower. You’re someone that if they’re really interested, then they’ve got to see you throw live and they’ll be even more impressed than what they’re seeing on film.’ Coach Watson is coming down tomorrow. NCAA rules, I can’t talk to him, but he’ll get to see me throw once again.”
“I’m not really a burner, I would say. I ran a 4.83 forty-yard dash, laser timed, so I’m not really killing anyone with my speed. But I’m able to get outside of the pocket and extend plays. Since I’ve been a young football player, I’ve watched a lot of Aaron Rodgers. I’ve tried to model myself after him, be able to throw well and to run, throw in difficult situations because not all the time you’re going to be able to get back in the pocket and just hit back in, deliver the ball. You’ve got to be able to move around and throw on the run, throw in awkward positions. So I’ve been working with Phil Simms a lot, and he’s been helping me out a lot with that because he’s worked with Rodgers and (Tom) Brady and perfected what they already had going. And he’s teaching me exactly what he taught them so that’s really cool.”
“I’m excited to commit to Pitt and join the Panther family.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru