By now, it’s no secret that since becoming head coach at Pitt, Pat Narduzzi has made recruiting the state of Florida a priority.
Last year, Pitt signed seven players from Florida and in the early signing period in December, Marquis Williams, V’lique Carter and Shocky Jacques-Louis signed with the Panthers.
Looking ahead to next year, the Pitt coaches have already offered 23 juniors from the Sunshine State, the latest coming last night to a player who has a connection to a current Panther player.
Defensive end Derick Hunter (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) is not only one of the best players in Florida, he’s also considered one of the top prospects in the entire country. Rivals.com rates him as a 4-star recruit and as the 85th best player in the entire country. Hunter’s offer list includes Florida, Florida State, Miami (FL), Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Auburn, UCLA and Michigan State.
Last night, Pitt jumped into the ring as a team looking to add this talented player to their program.
“This is a very exciting time for me right now with all the interest I’m receiving and I’m starting to realize which schools really want me. I just smile everyday because I’m blessed to wake up and know the opportunity that I have in front of me,” said Hunter.
“I’m just going to take this process day by day and county my blessings. I’ll pray to God every night and eventually the light will come on and tell me where I want to go and what school stands out.”
Now that Hunter’s recruitment is going to start to heat up, what’s a big thing he’ll be looking for in the program that he eventually selects?
“I just want to feel like I’m at home and loyalty from the coaches. But now I’m starting to realize how much coaches change in college, things are crazy. I’m realizing that I have to commit to a school not to a certain coach. Regardless of all of this, I’m going to do what I have to do to get to the next level so I have the opportunity to feed my family,” said Hunter.”
Last night’s national championship game had plenty of players playing in it that will be playing at the next level. As he was watching the game, Hunter found out his latest offer came from Pitt. He was watching the game with a bunch of his teammates and found out that Pitt had offered him earlier in the day.
“It was crazy, soon as I heard that, I contacted my athletic director to ask him about it. He then told me that Coach Harley was trying to get in contact me to let me know. After I found out, I then called to talk to him. They just wanted to offer after looking at my film. Just turn it on and the first play on it tells it all.”
If family, friends and familiarity play a role in Hunter’s decision, Pitt currently has someone on the roster that Hunter knows really well, wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis.
“When I was previously committed to Miami, he was the main one that came to me and told me just think about what you really want to do because there could be better opportunities out-of-state.”
“Me and Shocky go way back to even when I played receiver. I worked out with him all the time and everything I learned about playing the receiver position was from him. We then went to different schools but then last year he played at my school.”