Since Pat Narduzzi arrived at Pitt in 2015, his recruiting efforts have been covered with a fine-tooth comb, as Narduzzi has attempted to increase the overall talent level of the Pitt program in order to better-compete in the ACC.
The Panthers won their first Coastal Division title in 2018, showing some sign of progress, but one that hasn’t necessarily always been reflected in the recruiting rankings along the way.
But there’s been one large exception to that trend that has largely flown under the radar. As Pitt’s overall recruiting classes have been laden with recruits labeled as three-star players, the running back position under coach Andre Powell has consistently brought in high-level talent.
In 2015, the staff was able to retain the commitment of four-star Youngstown, Ohio running back Darrin Hall, who had committed to the previous staff.
The following year, four-star Hubbard, Ohio running back George Hill signed with Pitt, but was diagnosed with a medical condition that prevented him from competing in college.
Undeterred, Powell and company landed two four-star backs in 2017 — Lakeland, Florida’s A.J. Davis and Akron (Archbishop Hovan) ballcarrier Todd Sibley.
In 2018, the lone four-star player in Pitt’s recruiting class came at running back, when D.C. rusher Mychale Salahuddin picked the Panthers on singing day.
Last year, Fort Lauderdale, Florida back Daniel Carter was one of the highest-rated players in Pitt’s class.
In the Class of 2020, that trend seems as if it’s going to hold.
Pitt’s ninth commitment in the class came on Tuesday from Miami (Columbus High School) running back Henry Parrish, Jr.
Parrish is only rated as a three-star prospect, but his offer sheet suggests another top-of-the-class type of player.
To land a commitment from Parrish, Pitt outworked the likes of Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee and West Virginia.
During the 2019 season, Pitt will have to replace two 1,000-yard rushers in Darrin Hall (Cincinnati Bengals) and Qadree Ollison (Atlanta Falcons), both of whom have moved on to the NFL.
But with the depth of talent already in house at that position, and the proven ability to continue to land top-quality talent, Pitt — known by some as Running Back U — should be set at running back for a very long time.