PITTSBURGH — Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi unveiled the final pieces of the Panthers’ recruiting Class of 2018 on Wednesday.
After Pitt signed 17 players in the early signing period in December, the Panthers landed five more in defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado, cornerback Erick Hallett II, offensive tackle Stefano Millin, defensive end Kaymar Mimes and running back Mychale Salahuddin.
“We signed five unbelievable athletes,” Narduzzi said. “It’s a heck of a class. Our coaches did a wonderful job of locking those guys up and recruiting them, like we do, the real way.”
Here’s Narduzzi’s breakdown off the last five members of the class:
DE Habakkuk Baldonado, Clearwater Academy Int’l, Clearwater, Fla. • 6-5, 230
“Haba is an unbelievable kid. I’ve not met his mother. I’ve face-timed his mother in Rome. Me and (recruiting coordinator) Rob Harley probably have got to take a trip out to Rome just to see her. … You talk about a great student — fluent in three languages. He’s a a great athlete. We’ve got video of him doing backflips and the whole deal.”
CB Erick Hallett, Cy-Fair H.S., Cypress, Texas • 5-11, 175
“Randy Bates, our defensive coordinator was really in on that recruit. When we hired Randy 21 days ago, I said we were still looking for a great corner if you’ve got one in your area and bang, Erick was the first one we were on. We took a while just to find out who he was. … Just a tremendous athlete. Won a state championship there in Texas.”
LT Stefano Millin, Perry H.S., Massillon, Ohio, Kent State University • 6-5, 305
“We got a great offensive tackle of need. With Brian O’Neill leaving one year early, we felt like we needed to get an older guy. We targeted a few guys and landed one. We probably would have taken two.
“He played against Clemson and ran pass sets against those guys. I think if you can play against Clemson, you can play against anybody. Stefano comes in here and I think he’s a leader. I think he initially brings not only his experience, but brings leadership qualities of an older guy. I won’t be surprised if he walks in that O-line meeting room and becomes a dad of the group. He’s very smart and I think he’s very, very tough. He’s already warned me, ‘Coach, I like to go to the end of the whistle and I like to talk a little, too.’ So he’s got a little nasty streak in him.”
DE Kaymar Mimes, Long Branch H.S., Long Branch, N.J. • 6-5, 235
“(Mimes was) a guy that we didn’t think was going to sign until February. So we weren’t really going crazy in December with recruiting him. Then all of the sudden at the last minute, we hear that he’s possibly going to sign with someone in December. We were like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.’ So we slowed the process down. We got back in there at the last second and really, put a halt to the marriage. We were at the front doors of the church. We locked the church doors up and said, ‘No, there’s no wedding here today.’ We just kind of ended that whole picture and got back in it to where we could get Kay here on campus.
“So we stopped a marriage and we married him ourselves. The relationship with him and his family goes back a long way and that’s where the trust really started. His brother, even though it’s a different last name, they rotate last names, his brother Shilique Calhoun was a defensive end for me at Michigan State and is now with the Oakland Raiders.
RB Mychale Salahuddin, H.D. Woodson H.S., Washington, D.C. • 5-11, 190
“Another just quality, quality kid. What sold us on him was not only his character, his mom and grandmom, is that Jaylen Twyman was also a (high school) teammate we had the year before and the quality of person he’s been in the year that he’s been here so far, not only academically but athletically. H.D. Woodson is putting out some great players and great character kids.”