The yearly debate of ranking recruiting classes arose today after a headline in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Let me start by saying I had no problem with the article itself because it was well written. My problem was with the headline.
Some of the criticism and comments I’m reading on Twitter are no doubt from people who have issues with the paper itself because of a long-time perception that that they cover Penn State more favorably than Pitt.
That’s an issue for another day but this type of headline certainly gives Panther fans more ammunition.
How about a headline with an angle on the talented local offensive and defensive lineman that signed with Pitt?
In my opinion, this was a headline writer being negative when he or she didn’t have to be. Reading the headline gives me the impression that Pitt had a down recruiting class when the truth is no one including Pat Narduzzi knows how good these players will be and which will turn into stars or busts.
What are big name recruits?
The way I look at things, a great majority of the players that make up Pitt’s Class of 2018 were offered by major programs.
I’m not going to run down the entire list but at one point schools like Ohio State, Michigan State, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Penn State thought players like Jake Kradel, Blake Zubovic, Chase Brown, Devin Danielson, Judson Tallandier, etc were talented enough to offer them a scholarship.
At point, Ricky Town was the #1 ranked pro-style quarterback in the country. At one point, Town was committed to Alabama and USC.
In my book, that’s a pretty “big name” recruit.
However, I’m of the opinion that it’s way too early to label a recruit based off of his star ranking.
Here are star rankings of some Pitt recruits over the last six years and as you’ll see, some worked out and some didn’t.
4-Star Recruits: Deaysean Rippy, Rushel Shell, Chad Voytik, Tra’Von Chapman, Mark Myers, Adonis Jennings, Chris James and Mike Grimm.
I’m sure at the time these were labeled big names and huge gets for Pitt.
These next group of names were “only” 3-Star recruits but all had better careers than the 4-star recruits and all have spent time on NFL rosters.
3-Star Recruits: JP Holtz, James Conner, Scott Orndoff, Tyrique Jarrett, Lafayette Pitts, Aaron Donald and Brian O’Neill (who will soon be drafted).
Don’t get me wrong, Pitt would love to have a roster full of 4-5 star players. Jordan Whitehead, Adam Bisnowaty, Dorian Johnson and Tyler Boyd all lived up to the hype and advanced billing.
The point of all this is let’s wait to start grading and making judgements on recruits and classes. Let’s wait two or three years before we start calling players big names or great classes.