PITTSBURGH — Pat Narduzzi put a bow on Pitt’s first early National Letter of Intent signing day for football on Wednesday, as he talked with reporters for about 30 minutes after the Panthers had signed 15 players as the first part of the recruiting Class of 2018.
Narduzzi and his coaching staff still have irons in the fire with players like Florida WR Shockey Jacques-Louis, who is making his announcement on Wednesday evening, and other players that won’t sign until the regular signing period opens the first week of February.
In the mean time, here’s Narduzzi’s thoughts about the 15 players that have signed at Pitt, now that he’s finally allowed to discuss them publicly.
DT Tyler Bentley • 6-1, 300 • West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West)
“We’ve wanted this guy for a long time. We really called him all year. He was committed to another institution and we stayed on him to our benefit. … We really stayed persistent. We couldn’t get him on campus all summer. We couldn’t get him here for camp. We couldn’t get him here. Finally got him here for an official visit.”
OT Chase Brown • 6-5, 310 • Ashburn, Va. (Lackawanna)
“A very athletic offensive tackle, for sure. He has some maturity. He’ll be here midyear with us. He’s a big, athletic guy that could come in and have a chance to compete immediately, mainly because he’s coming in midyear.”
CB V’Lique Carter • 5-9, 170 • West Palm Beach, Fla. (Oxbridge Academy)
“Again, a guy that was committed to another institution. … I didn’t know if we would have gotten him up here. I think he had reservations on the plane and on the trip like, ‘What am I doing?’ But I think when he came through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and bang, Pittsburgh hit him, I think that’s really what sold him.”
DT Devin Danielson • 6-1, 290 • Pittsburgh, Pa. (Thomas Jefferson)
“Pittsburgh guy. Coach Bill Cherpak obviously coached him, so we’ve got a former Pitt man that’s developed him, one of the best coaches in the area. … He came to camp. He had a dominant senior year. He’s physical and he’s tough. He’s everything you’d want in a defensive lineman.”
MLB Wendell Davis • 6-0, 220 • Henrico, Va. (Benedictine College Prep)
“He’s probably one of the quietest guys in the class. He will walk through the door and you’ll see one part of it, but when he gets on the field, the guy is like The Hulk. He really turns it loose. Wendell is a middle linebacker for us, probably. I think he can play the money.”
DL David Green • 6-0, 255 • West Mifflin, Pa. (Pittsburgh Central Catholic)
“Obviously, Terry Totten is his coach. We’re happy to have another Central Catholic football player in our program. This kid is a hard worker, I don’t care if it’s on the field or off the field. … He’s one of those blue-collar Pittsburgh kids. He’s a worker.”
OG Jake Kradel • 6-3, 275 • Butler, Pa.
“Another midyear signee. … Jake is a bigger guy, he’s a tough, physical guy. He’s a guy that can run and he’s a guy that loved Pittsburgh from the beginning. We appreciate his loyalty to us.”
DE/LB John Morgan • 6-2, 250 • Upper Marlboro, Md. (Dematha Catholic)
“One of the best high schools in the state of Maryland. … John Morgan not only came to one camp, he came to two. He came back for more. He looked better in the second camp than he did in the first camp. We offered him off his first camp.”
WR Cameron O’Neil • 6-1, 185 • Phenix City, Al. (Glenwood School)
“He was a guy that came during the summer with Mom and Dad. Great people. That’s what sold us on him. We watched his junior tape and love him. We watched his senior tape and loved it more. He’ll add to our receiver room as an athlete.”
DE Noah Palmer • 6-3, 215 • Jefferson Hills, Pa. (Thomas Jefferson)
“Another guy that came to camp and put on a show for us. He’s a Pitt man, even though he hasn’t graduated yet. He’s a Pittsburgh guy and we’re glad to have him.”
QB Nick Patti • 6-1, 185 • Westwood, N.J. (St. Joseph Regional)
“He’s shown a ton of leadership throughout the recruiting process. Some of the telephone calls I’ve had with this young man have been incredible. … He’s a tremendous football player. He reminds me a lot of a Kirk Cousins-type guy. He’s going to be a special player for us. He’s a true, true leader and he’ll be a future captain here without any question.”
DB Judson Tallandier II • 6-0, 180 • Upper Marlboro, Md. (Dematha Catholic)
“A big, long athlete. Probably one of our tallest corners. Could be a free safety. He could play anywhere in the secondary, probably. He’s athletic. We’ve had him in camp, saw how well he tested and ran.”
QB Ricky Town • 6-3, 205 • Newbury Park, Calif. (Ventura College)
“Late notice. We brought him in in the dark. Nobody knew he was coming. … It was a surprise visit. We worked hard to get him here on campus. He actually left another visit to come on our visit, which I give him a lot of credit, because that’s not easy to do. … He’s a guy that fits in our system, almost speaks the same terms right now and we’re looking to see him in early January.”
CB Marquis Williams • 5-8, 160 • Pompano Beach, Fla. (Cardinal Gibbons)
“One of the two visitors during the season. We love this kid, that’s why we let him come in during the season. We’re not big into bringing guys on-campus during the season. … He’s a heck of a player. He’s a heck of a person.”
OG Blake Zubovic • 6-4, 300 • Belle Vernon, Pa.
“Probably our best recruiter. … A powerful, explosive guy that just had a little bit of ankle injury during his senior year that slowed him down a little bit, but then he came back hard, strong. A great football player. Probably a guy that kept everything together with our recruiting class.”