With recruiting starting to pick up for the Class of 2018, head coach Pat Narduzzi and the Pittsburgh Panthers are already identifying their top targets for the Class of 2019.
Today, Coach Narduzzi extended an offer to Mershawn Rice, a player Pittsburgh Sports Now profiled March when the Panthers first initiated interest in his talents. The 6-foot-2-inch, 180-pound receiver from Reynoldsville, Ohio attended Pitt’s prospect camp this weekend, and following his performance in the camp’s athletic testing, received the exciting news from Coach Narduzzi himself.
“They had me wait in the player lounge until he was ready to talk to me, and then [Coach Narduzzi] brought me into his office,” Rice said. “I was with my dad, my uncle, my mom – [they were] all in there talking and he offered. And then we continued to talk about what to look for for college, how big a decision it is, and stuff like that.”
At Pitt’s camp, Rice received the opportunity to showcase his athleticism by performing the 40-yard-dash, shuttle drills, broad jump, and other various football drills. Mershawn cites his “very good” performance as one of the reasons he received the offer from Pitt, a university which has impressed him early on in the recruiting process.
“I actually like the University of Pittsburgh. It’s a nice place, from what I’ve seen so far. Good medical school. Good school, good program. And they share a lot of stuff with the Steelers, which is a plus … They have nine national championships. They beat Clemson and Penn State last year. They’ve had players like Aaron Donald, Larry Fitzgerald, and Tony Dorsett.”
Still very early in the recruiting process for the Class of 2019, Rice has plenty of time to decide where he will attend college. Cincinnati, Kentucky and Toledo are the other schools to extend offers to Rice, although that list is expected to grow as more schools learn of his ability. At this time, though, Panther fans will enjoy hearing Rice’s response when asked if he could see himself eventually committing to Pitt.
“Very high,” Rice said, on the chance of him committing to Pitt. “I could see myself going there. The chances are high.”
Rice plays wide receiver and safety in high school, but according to Mershawn, Pitt is pursuing him as a wide receiver. John Peterson has been his primary recruiter thus far, and the Panthers’ offensive line coach will undoubtedly dedicate plenty of time over the next year-and-a-half towards earning a commitment from Mershawn Rice.