Last summer the Pitt football program dipped into the state of Maryland to land teammates John Morgan and Judson Tallandier from Hyattsville (MD) DeMatha High School. The standout 2018 defensive end and defensive back have already made strong impressions at Pitt’s 2018 training camp as freshmen. For the 2019 class, Pat Narduzzi and staff decided to replicate their efforts and landed another pair of Maryland teammates. Germantown (MD) Northwest High School Deandre Jules (6-foot-3 inches, 250 pounds) and defensive back A.J. Woods (5-foot-11 inches, 175 pounds) have verbally committed to the Panthers. To gain perspective on the pair of defensive prospects, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Northwest High School Head Football Coach Mike Neubeiser.
Coach Neubeiser was first asked about defensive end Deandre Jules. He stated, “Deandre’s a monster. He’s very, very strong and very, very tough. A really physical player. He’s kind of an old school player. He’s just real gritty and tough but explosive. Physical explosive, just everything you want in a football player. Pitt is getting a really, really good football player. He’s going to have an incredible senior year. He’s got to stay healthy and keep his knee healthy. I think he has a chance to have a really special senior year.”
“Deandre played for us as a freshman. He was on our varsity. He played a little bit on the defensive line then started for us as a sophomore,” said Neubeiser. “He put together a decent film. His junior year, last year, he tore his meniscus early in week two. So he played week one and played a little bit of week two. Deandre tried to come back week five before everything was diagnosed. He tried to come back against Good Council, who for us is a, they’re one of the better private schools in our area. They’re in the WCAC which is the premier conference in the DC area. So that was a big game for us. He came back and was dominant. He was the best player on the field until his doctor shut him down and wanted to do a meniscus repair. So he was done for the season.”
Jules chose the Panthers over offers from Boston College, East Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Purdue, Rutgers and Wake Forest. Coach Neubeiser was asked if he would describe Deandre as pass rusher that depends on power (a bull rusher) or speed. He replied, “Deandre is 6-foot-3 inches and 252 pounds at the moment. I think he’s both a power and speed rusher. He’s a little bit of both. He can beat you with speed or he can just run right over you. He’s got really long arms. I think his wing span was just under seven foot for his wing span. So he’s got real long arms. Good strength. But he’s extremely quick.”
Coach Neubeiser was asked about Jules’ off the field demeanor and he stated, “He’s very friendly. Kind of a jovial guy. Just always has a smile on his face, never in a bad mood.”
“All his teammates loves him. He jokes around. His youth league coach, who actually helps us a little bit, Coach Hooks, called him ‘Big Baby’. That was his nickname coming in. I don’t think he was a huge fan of Big Baby, but we still break it out every once in a while. He was just so big for his age yet incredibly strong. In school, he still looks like he’s 27 years old, but he’s still a kid.”
Jules joins three additional defensive ends to join the Panthers class of 2019, Montgomery (AL) Davis HS Brandon Mack (6-foot-4 inches, 220 pounds) and West Orange (NJ) West Orange HS Bryce Nelms (6-foot-6 inches, 265 pounds) and Williamsport (PA) Loyalsock Towsnhip HS Bam Brima (6-foot-5 inches, 235 pounds). The Panthers added Farrell (PA) Farrell Area HS jumbo-athlete Kyi Wright (6-foot-3 inches, 235 pounds). Wright is capable of playing defensive end as well.
Coach Neubeiser was asked to about cornerback A.J. Woods. He stated, “A.J., he had a lot of offers, but they were more FCS schools. He had over 20 offers. Temple had come through with an offer. irginia offered him a scholarship as well. Teams like Maryland loved him but they had three quick cornerback commits and filled their spots. A.J. is 5-foot-11 inches tall. He’s not small but some teams told me they were looking for guys even longer or taller at cornerback.”
“It’s hard to find, other than two guys in Texas, players that run under a 4.4 forty that are bigger. It’s hard to find guys that are that fast and long. For A.J. it was just a numbers game. Despite his lack of recruitment, he’s extremely fast. He’s one of the fastest kids in our state and we take track pretty seriously. He’s run track his whole life. A.J. runs track to get better for football. He’s not a track guy playing football. He’s a football guy that happens to run track.”
Woods was the second defensive back to join the Panthers’ 2019 class joining Apopka (FL) Wekiva HS Brandon Hill (6-foot, 190 pounds).
“A.J. has a great burst to increase his speed. He’s got great speed on the field. Sometimes, with track kids, that speed just doesn’t translate (on the field). For A.J., it definitely translates. He’s very explosive and physical. He’s a very physical tackler. Virginia offered him due to his physicality. The coach from their school was really impressed with him.”
“A.J. is a tackler and he’s strong. He bench presses like 265 pounds. For a player that currently weighs 175 pounds, that’s pretty good. He’s a great overall kid, very coachable and he has over a 4.0 weighted grade point average.”
Coach Neubeiser was asked about A.J.’s demeanor off the field. He stated, “A.J. is always on time, he’s quiet, always polite and just goes about his business and works very hard. He’s very coachable and never disrespectful in any way. Pitt is getting a good kid that will do very, very well in college.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter @PittGuru