Head coach Pat Narduzzi added a potentially valuable member to his coaching staff yesterday when he announced the hiring of Archie Collins, as the program’s 10th assistant coach.
Collins comes to Pitt after spending the last five years with the Central Michigan football program, where he earned a reputation as one of the bright, young, up and coming coaches in college football.
Aside from being a potential future defensive coordinator, Collins is considered an excellent and tireless recruiter.
Since becoming head coach at Pitt, Narduzzi has made a conscious effort to expand Pitt’s recruiting territory and branch out from the traditional states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey. The Panthers’ assistants have done a tremendous job in Florida and have worked very hard recruiting in states like Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina with decent results.
RECRUITS BY STATE UNDER PAT NARDUZZI
- Pennsylvania: 25
- Florida: 15
- Ohio: 12
- New Jersey: 8
- Virginia: 3
- Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, New York: 2
- California, Texas, Delaware, Illinois, Connecticut, North Carolina, DC, California: 1
The recent hiring of defensive coordinator Randy Bates could get Pitt’s foot in another state because Bates has historically done a terrific job of recruiting Texas while at Northwestern. Like Florida, Texas has a ton of talented recruits so keep an eye on that in the next few years.
Another state that Pitt has worked very hard to try and land recruits in is Michigan. But historically the team has largely come up empty. In fact, the last recruit that Pitt has gotten from Michigan is Avonte Maddox.
The hiring of Collins could be just what Pitt needs in order to make their efforts in Michigan to start paying off.
This afternoon, Pittsburgh Sports Now had a chance to talk to Dennis Parker, who is the defensive coordinator for the highly successful program Cass Tech in Detroit, Michigan. Parker is someone that knows Collins well and gave us some insight into Collins the person and Collins the coach.
“Pitt is getting a very high character guy. In all of my dealings with Coach Collins, he’s definitely a family centered person. Talking with players that have played for me and for his program, he’s always been concerned about the whole person not just the athletic side. He’s really concerned about his players being great students as well as great young men. He’s fully vested in the kids that he coaches. That’s always a good feeling for a high school coach when he’s sending his players off to a university and knowing they’re going to a person and program that’s really going to take care of them,” said Parker.
I asked Parker if he believes Collins can put Pitt on the scoreboard as far as getting players from Michigan?
“Yes, I think he’ll be a big help in that area. He has strong ties in the Southeastern Michigan area as well as in Northern Michigan. He has great relationships with a lot of coaches as well as with successful programs in Michigan. If you look at his track record, he’s recruited against some of the bigger programs and those recruits had him in their top 3 or 4 finalists and considered him up until the end,” said Parker.
Parker believes that once Collins and Pitt are able to get that first big recruit from Michigan it could have a snowball effect.
“I think it’s two fold. I definitely think just getting one or two guys there and then you start peaking other players interest. I think the ground work might have been laid with the success that Avonte Maddox had at Pitt and a lot of players from here saw the success he had there and that has opened players eyes to Pitt and now consider them a viable option.”
“Second part of this is I really think that it comes down to relationships and I think Coach Collins has a lot of strong relationships with many of the programs here and so with having that, I think that will allow a lot of the young men to feel comfortable in going in that direction. By him coaching at a college here in the area, they’ve seen Coach Collins a lot and a lot of these younger kids that are coming up the pike in the Classes of 20 and 21 have already started building relationships with him already. I think that’s something he can lean on and build off of.”