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: MERSHAWN RICE
Mershawn Rice (6-2, 198), Wide Receiver
Reynoldsburg High School (Reynoldsburg, Ohio)
Mershawn Rice is a player that Pitt fans have been reading about for a while now. PSN first started reporting on him last June when Pitt extended an offer to him during his sophomore season.
Since then, Rice has developed into a Rivals 4-star recruit and continues to be a high priority for Pat Narduzzi’s Class of 2019 Recruiting Class. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Rice could be the top wide receiver on Pitt’s 2019 recruiting board.
Over the weekend, Rice received high praise from talent evaluators at the Rivals recruiting camp in Cleveland, Ohio. Although he’s a highly rated player, he went there with the purpose of answering any questions that teams might have about him.
“I think I showed people how much stronger and more physical I got over the offseason. I came into the camp weighting 198 pounds and last year I played at 180 something, that was huge for me. I’ve been able to get bigger, stronger and faster. Everything I worked on in the off-season has paid off,” said Rice.
“The decision to add more weight and to try to get bigger was something that I decided to do in order to help my overall game and I’m glad it’s worked for me. I feel like when I go to college, I will be and need to be a more physical receiver but I’ll still have my speed so I’ll be a balanced receiver. Whatever needs to be done, I’ll be able to do it.”
Although he’s an accomplished receiver, Rice knows there’s things he needs to improve on during his senior season.
“I need to trust my hands a little bit more. I have good hands but sometimes I try to catch the ball with my body. I want to have more confidence with that part of my game,” said Rice.
After being in Cleveland over the weekend, Rice tells PSN that he’ll be back on the road this weekend too with scheduled trips to Indiana on Friday and to Pitt for Junior Day on Saturday. Rice also tells me that he plans to make a trip soon to Syracuse and is also thinking about Minnesota and Purdue.
Pitt is a school that’s constantly in contact with Rice and he knows that he’s a priority with them.
“Pitt has come by my school a lot. I talk with Coach Sherm, Coach Narduzzi and before he left, I talked with Coach Winters a lot too. I feel like I have a good relationship with Pittsburgh, it’s a cool place and I feel really comfortable around the coaching staff. I just like Pitt a lot,” said Rice.
As far as making his college decision, Rice tells me that right now he wants to finish his season before making a decision.
“I want to take my time and not rush anything. I want to make sure that wherever I pick that it’s the right place for me because I’ll spending the next four years of my life there. I’m going to take my time and look at all the options and make a decision whenever the time is right.”