PITTSBURGH — On Wednesday, Pitt had coach Pat Narduzzi broke down the 18 players he singed to Pitt’s Class of 2019. Here’s the transcript:
“Davis Beville from Greenville High School in South Carolina. First thing I’ll say when I talk about Davis is the first thing that comes to my mind is loyalty. This guy’s a big-time quarterback that we’re excited to have in here. I know Coach Watson is excited about having him in. Andre Powell and Shawn Watson, because Andre’s from South Carolina, it had something to do with recruiting that area and having a little bit of in in the South Carolina area. And his dad lives down there. And Shawn Watson was a primary recruiter for Davis as we go into that. Obviously, I get involved with everybody, but Davis is a tremendous student-athlete. He’s a big-time quarterback, gunslinger, can sling it. Really smart kid that we went down and watched him practice in the spring.
“We went in saying we wanted two tailbacks. We wanted a big back and a smaller back. We just wanted that one-two punch. The big, physical guy that we’ve had. You kind of have an [Qadree] Ollison, and a Darrin Hall, and we wanted to get another one of those, and Daniel Carter is one of those big backs. He’s explosive from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But comes from a great school that competes for championships every year. I think they’ve played in a championship this year and didn’t get the win there. I think they played a great Lakeland football team and got beat, which is a great Lakeland football team. But Carter, we’re excited to have him. I told him on the phone today I wish you were here for spring ball.
“The next guy, Vince Davis from Cardinal Gibbons High School. Really led their football team to the first state championship. Again, another guy that’s got a lot of wiggle. He’s the leader of his class. They have all these little group chats, I guess, I don’t have a group chat. I know, Jerry, you have your group chat with your boys. But I don’t have a group chat. But these guys have their group chat. And Vince is kind of the leader of that, I believe, at least he was in the beginning. But, again, a guy that rushed for a thousand yards, and, again, led his football team.
“Will Gipson from Aliquippa High School. Again, we’re fired up to have him. He came to camp, we weren’t sure. We loved what he did in camp, we just, you know, we just kept looking and looking and looking, and the one thing really in the Western Pennsylvania, and I consider the whole state of Pennsylvania is my message out there is we go slow. I am not going to offer guys early in this area and try to pull out on them. I just don’t want to do it. So we’re always going to take our time in this area because too often, people offer kids and then they back up and you never hear from them again. That’s not going to happen here. At least we sure hope it’s not going to happen. Sometimes things happen, but we want to offer those guys and we want them. Will is a guy that we continue to study. I took a Friday night and watched them at home in the Pitt, right? What’s it called out there? The Pit? And went to the Pitt and watched the game there. I tell you what, you know, I was there watching a couple players, and that guy caught my eye. It was like that guy right there is one of the best players on this field, period. That was what sold Will. He’s a football player. He runs, he tracks down the football. He’ll go get it. I think he’s a big-time wideout for us.
“Jared Wayne might be a mid-year guy. Might find out tonight, might find out tomorrow. I’m in no hurry. We don’t press guys for mid year. But Davis will be here. You get to watch him at Heinz Field this summer. Again, Jared Wayne from Clearwater Academy International down in Florida. Down in the Tampa area there, the west coast of Florida, was a guy that came to camp and earned a scholarship, okay. Now you’ll see Will Gipson did as well. But he came in and blew it away. I won’t give you stats what he ran, but he ran fast enough. He’s a big, tall, athletic guy. When I look at our class, he’s one of the more mature guys in this class. When you talk to this guy, it’s like he’s 28 years old already, and you’re like, really? Did they hold you back? I know you have 13 grades in Canada, but this guy’s mature. Just a great, great student-athlete, and we’re excited to have Jared. Again, we may have him — we may have him down here on campus here this January.
“At tight end, Jason Collier from West Deptford High School. A big joker. I think every time I see him he gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Last count he was 292 pounds, okay. So he’s another big old tight end that is athletic. On my phone I got some video. He could long snap as well. He fired it. He about took Cory Sanders’ head off with a long snap in the dark out in the backyard. He can fire the ball. He’s a good football player. He didn’t have an opportunity to catch a lot of footballs there at that high school. But he’s a big, athletic tight end, and we’re excited to have him. I had a player in high school before that had some success with, and it was good to get another guy out of West Deptford High School.
“Matt Goncalves, Eastport South Manor High School. Matt is a guy that’s way out on Long Island. Came to camp, earned a scholarship. Loved him. Obviously came on his official visit. Our players fell in love with him as well. His O-line men are kind of jolly, jolly guys as we get around Christmas. Really, the two linemen, you heard the kids just love being around him. That’s something that’s important. The cohesion that our players have together. … Matt is a big offensive tackle, and a guy that coach is going to get a chance to mold and develop. He plays with an attitude, he’s tough. He’s on a basketball team up there. And I’ve yet to be at his high school and we’ll get there in January.
“The next one is Liam Dick. Liam is a guy we’ve been on since the summer. This guy, I think we may have been the first Power Five offer he had, and then he continued to explode. We were kind of wondering whether we should have even offered him so early. We should have just let him hide away. But he played at Clarkson Secondary School up there, he played for the north — what was it? Carson Football North. They really have two football teams. They have the Clarkson High School, and then the Football North. It’s really a group that they kind of recruit. It’s almost like a prep school that they’ve got kind of a second floor at the High School up there. And they have their own football team that works out of that high school. And I think they played one game in Canada, and the rest of the games they played down in the states. If you look at your schedule, they played at St. Edwards up in Cleveland, they played Erie Cathedral, they played St. X down in Cincinnati. They played some of the best schools. I think they played St. Francis down in Maryland, they travel all over and played some of the best. So he’s got his feet wet against some of the best players. When you talk about players from all those places from St. Francis to St. Ed’s, and St. X, he’s played some of the best. So we’re excited to have him.
“Calijah Kancey from Miami Northwest High School. Just a guy that we had to hold on near the end there. People were coming in. Coach Partridge did a great job at holding on to some of those South Florida guys. He’s just, again, just another big athlete that I think is going to be a guy that can come in and help us when he gets here. Had over 200 tackles in his seasons there at northwest, and just getting a big athlete that can run, change direction, get after the quarterback. And one of those guys that has that personality that you want to coach every day.
“Deandre Jules at Northwest High School in Maryland, a guy that came to an official visit in June, I guess, June 18th. That was a guy that was highly, highly recruited. After that visit, him and his mom, Sabrina, were kind of locked in and sold on who we were and he committed on the spot that Sunday as did a lot of them. … When Davis Beville, just so we’re on the same page, he’s the guy that started the deal. I’ll never forget him. His dad has a picture of the clock, maybe 8:30 a.m. when that whole thing started that Sunday morning that June weekend, that “Pitt is it” kind of scrolled out a few times that day. But Davis started it. Deandre followed suit and was one of the next guys to commit. So we’re excited to have him as one of our defensive linemen.
“Bam Brima, from Loyalsock High School in, I guess, Central PA. Went out there and saw Bam at his house last week, and just an incredible, incredible young man. Dad’s a reverend at the church there in town. He’s a super, super person. I’ve never seen a guy bring so many books to a home visit or to a visit. He came in and had a book bag full. He had his iPad ready to go. Just a super kid that’s a very athletic defensive end that came to camp and offered at camp. So we’re happy to have Bam Brima here.
“Bryce Nelms from West Orange High School in northern New Jersey. Another big athletic defensive end. He’s got to be 6-foot-6. These kids keep getting taller. I don’t know how tall they really are. He’s a big athlete that can do a lot of different things. Bryce played a lot of his ball down in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first couple years. Then moved up with his dad to take, really, to take care of his mother in New Jersey. You know, his dad, Eric — mom’s only son. So sitting at home and figuring out who he was as a person is just an incredible character guy that we have. Grandma says he’s the most polite person. He’s just a polite kid that when he gets on the field he’ll turn it loose. So we’re happy to have him.
“Nate Temple from Abbeville High School in South Carolina. Played in the All-Star Game last week. Again, a guy we did not see at our camp. It’s one of those road camps that we went to. We saw him down at the Georgia camp when we went down as a staff. So we got to see him live and fell in love with him down there at that camp. We didn’t go down there looking at Nate Temple. We were just down there looking at everybody. And this guy popped off on every drill you saw, with a camp of, you know, a camp of probably 600 to 700 kids, this kid just stuck out to us as a high motor, intense. And he went through three different sessions of camp. Most kids go to camp for two hours and they leave, and a week later they go to another camp. This guy was at three sessions at Georgia camp, and he looked as good in the first session as he looked in the first session. The kid just has a motor. He’s athletic. They run a similar defense to what we do. He’s a detail guy. So we’re happy to have Nate in this class as well.
“So just a side note on Nate, Nate was one of those guys that visited unofficially with the mom and dad during the summer. I don’t know if anybody knows that. … But Nate was a guy that called up after an official visit maybe four days later, and it was after that big weekend we had. We got filled up pretty quick. So Nate was the guy originally we had to say, ‘Nate, we don’t have anything for you right now.’ We had to almost turn him down. And as a football coach, that’s the worst thing you have to do to a kid is say we can’t take you right now. And that happens more than you probably read about in the newspaper, because everybody, you know, has that pride and doesn’t want to say they couldn’t go there are for whatever reason, you filled up or whatever. So that happens more than you guys will ever read because nobody tells you the insight on those.
“But Nate was a guy that we continued to call. And Charlie Partridge stayed on him all through, and I stayed on him. We like that guy. We know who he is. And timetable he said just taking the best available, and we said we’ve got to offer this guy. So we jumped on Nate. I told him to take his time. Don’t just say yes right now. I want you to think about it. Not three days later, I believe, he called up and said I’m going to be a Panther. So we’re fired up to have him.”
“Kyi Wright did not come to camp as, I guess, a senior going into his senior year, but he had been to two previous camps. Kyi is a big guy. He can do a lot of different things. He’ll start off as a linebacker.
“I think, shoot, if you watch any of his high school games you’ll wonder if he can’t be that wildcat quarterback that he can be, and he can throw it. He’ll be a threat throwing the ball. He can do a lot of different things. But Kyi is a guy that came out really during the passing camp and said, ‘Coach, I’m in.’ He wasn’t working at camp, but we’re happy to have Kyi.
“Brandon George, Berks Catholic High School, get another guy like Kyi that came to camp and earned a scholarship. Brandon George is a big, physical guy, played tailback, played middle linebacker, and will strike you. He’s physical. Again, another big athlete. Big, skill guy that can do a lot of different things.
“Then the last linebacker, Leslie Smith from Miami Northwest High School, came up to camp with a couple of his coaches in the summer. Just had an outstanding camp. You know, when I sit here and thank our players, Seun Idowu really hung out with this kid most of the camp and coached him up. We’d always take it from a kid, but Leslie’s a smart, smart football player. You know, there’s sometimes you coach guys and they don’t get it. And you figure they’re going to get it when they get here, and sometimes they don’t get it for a year, two or three.
“But Leslie is a guy that just picked up what we were teaching him. He picked it up really quick. So we love that about Leslie. Obviously, the athletic, you know, things that he can do, we loved him because of that. The intelligence is a thing to me that stands out to that guy. After camp, the linebackers, especially Seun Idowu, was coming up saying, ‘Coach, we need this guy. This guy’s awesome.’ Seun and our players get to understand who is coachable, who is not coachable. So it’s a great learning experience for them. So Leslie’s a guy that we’re excited about.
“We’ve got one safety in Brandon Hill from Wekiva High School down in the Orlando area. We’re excited to have Brandon, super athlete. I mean, he’d send me tape during the season, some of his highlights and some of his picks, pick sixes. This guy can run, he can catch, he’s a ball hawk, and he’ll smack you as well. He’s a tremendous football player and a tremendous player — excuse me, tremendous player in person. Just love this kid. He’s always got a smile on his face, and we can’t wait to get him here as well.
“Then we’ve got one corner that A.J. Woods from Northwest High School. Again, same high school as Deandre Jules that came to camp, and it took us a little longer to offer A.J. May have been two or three weeks.
I probably screwed that up. I should have offered him immediately. But I believe he ran the fastest 40 time in camp, and I’ll just give it to you, because he may not be the fastest, but he ran a legit 4.4 on our turf indoors — 4.3, I’m getting corrected back there. It was a 4.3. Sorry, A.J. But A.J. is a fast dude. We know it’s legit speed. … But A.J., again, fast, cover guy, didn’t have many balls thrown at him this year because he was locked down. He’s a guy that likes to press. He was a guy that, like I said, took me a couple weeks to offer him. I was kind of waiting on somebody else. Finally I just said hey, this guy’s too good of a football player, we’re going. And, you know, I appreciate him having patience and trust in who we were.”