Over the next month, Pittsburgh Sports Now will be profiling junior recruits that Pitt football has either offered or expressed interest in. This series on Pitt 2019 recruiting is sponsored by our friends at Moon Golf Club. Just a short drive from downtown Pittsburgh lies a 18 hole public golf course worth your time. Moon Golf Club can host your golf events and are now taking outing and event reservations for 2018. Call Moon Golf Club at 412-262-2992.
PITT 2019 JUNIOR SERIES: JALEN GRAHAM
Jalen Graham, 6-2, 195, Safety
Cass Technical (Detroit, Michigan)
Lavert Hill, Deron Irving-Bey, Zach Morton, Ambry Thomas, Jaylen Kelly-Powell and Kalon Gervin are just a few players from Michigan that the Pitt coaching staff has tried recruiting over the last few years.
Pitt has put a lot of time and effort recruiting there but to this point haven’t had any luck landing a commitment. In fact, the last commitment that Pitt has pulled from Michigan was cornerback Avonte Maddox.
Considering his history there and the talent that plays there, the Panthers will no doubt be back there again this year.
One player that they’ll be there to recruit is safety Jalen Graham from the talent-rich school of Cass Technical High School.
Graham received his offer from Pitt back in May of 2017 and has since received offers from Iowa State, Central Michigan, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, Syracuse, Temple and Western Michigan.
Will Graham be the player that Pitt finally pulls from the Motor City?
“I first just talking with Pitt last spring and they were my second offer so they were one of the first schools that I really started talking to seriously,” said Graham.
“At that time, I was getting recruited by Coach Hill and we kept in touch a lot. Now that Coach Archie (Collins) is there, I’ve been keeping in contact with him.”
Narduzzi is hoping that Collins can be a closer for him in Michigan since he played at Michigan State and had so much recruiting the state while coaching at Central Michigan. Graham had a lot of good things to say about Collins and likes that he’s the one replacing Hill so that he doesn’t have to start forming a new relationship with the Panthers secondary coach.
“Coach Collins actually graduated from the high school that I go to so I’ve been able to talk to him a lot when he was coaching at Central. He’s a great guy and is a really good recruiter as well.”
“It’s going to be so much easier getting recruited by Pitt since I already know Coach Collins so well and have a relationship with him.”
I asked Graham what is the top thing that he likes about the Pitt football program that has him interested in them?
“The thing that I like best, especially early one is that all the coaches got my number and they’d all text me to see how I’m doing. They’d ask how much day or week was going and stuff like that. That’s a big thing that I like because it shows that when they tell me that I’m important to them that they really mean it,” said Graham.
“Also, when i went down for a game last year, I didn’t know that they shared everything with the Steelers. That’s really cool.”
Graham is a two-way star at Cass Tech and probably has the athletic ability to play on either side of the field in college but he tells me that Pitt is recruiting him as a safety.
“I’m a very athletic player and on defense, I feel like I’m always around the ball and I’m a play-maker. I also feel like I have a high football IQ because I love watching and being around the game,” said Graham.
Aside from the schools that have offered, Graham is also starting to get interest and calls from coaches at Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State.
Graham hasn’t finalized a list for upcoming trips that he plans on making this spring but did say that he will definitely be making a return visit to Pitt.