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Pitt FB Recruiting

Revisiting Pitt Football’s Incoming 2020 Class



It’s been more than a month since Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers received a bevy of 2020 commitments in what’s becoming an annual summer tradition.

With many of the announcements coming in such a short period of time, it’s easy to lose track of each individual commitment. Now the Panthers could add a few more players, and there’s always a chance that not everyone will stick around. But with that being said, let’s go back and look at Pitt football’s class so far.

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Here’s the list of commitments, in order of when they made their commitment public.

Samuel Williams, DE

Pitt’s first commitment, Wiliams is a 6’4″, 210-pound defensive end from Calvary Christian Avademy in Ford Lauderdale, Florida. Williams had offers from Pitt, Syracuse and USF and is rated as 3-stars on both 247 (83) and Rivals (5.5). You can check out his HUDL junior highlights here.

Michael Statham, OL

The Panthers’ first and so far only offensive line commitment, Statham hails from Baltimore Maryland and had an impressive offer list of Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri and West Virginia among others. Statham is a 247 (86) and Rivals (5.6) 3-star recruit. 247 Sports has Statham ranked as the 61st best offensive tackle in the nation.

Jaylon Barden, ATH

Barden is a 5’11” athlete/wide receiver out of Westside in Macon, GA. Largely ignored by Power 5 teams, his only other official offer was from Kentucky. Barden committed in April, before most others in the class. Although he was comparatively lightly recruited, Barden still holds an 87 rating on 247 and is rated as the 59th best player in Georgia. When we interviewed him in April he told us ”You’re going to see a lot of speed, lot of punt and kick returns. Just get ready for speed.”

Emmanuel Belgrave, DE

A 6’2″, 219-pound defensive end from Miami Southridge High School, Belgrave was one of Pitt’s six June 16th commitments. Belgrave is listed as a 3-star recruit on both 247 (83) and Rivals (5.6). Belgrave’s offers list included a few Power 5 offers including Indiana, Rutgers, Nebraska and Wake Forrest.

Solomon DeShields, LB

The 5th recruit of the 2020 cycle with a plethora of offers, DeShields is a 6’0″, 205-pound linebacker from Millville High School in New Jersey. A 3-star recruit on 247 (87) and Rivals, DeShields picked the Panthers over Baylor, Kentucky, Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan State and whole host of other Power 5 schools. In the 247 composite, DeShields is ranked as the 41st best linebacker in the country and the highest rated of Pitt’s three 2020 linebacker commits.

Bangally Kamara, LB

A 6’2″, 193-lb safety/linebacker from Akron, Kamara committed to the Panthers on June 16th over offers from most of the Big Ten, including Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana and schools like Cincinnati, Kentucky and Syracuse. Kamara was a “big win” for the Panthers and somewhat of a surprise commitment considering his offer sheet and location. Kamara is rated a 3-star (5.5) by Rivals and a 3-star (86) by 247.

Mike recently visited Kamara for a one-on-one talk at his house in Akron.

Tee Denson, CB

One of Pitt’s three Georgia recruits, Denson is a 6’1″ cornerback from Cedar Ridge High School in Atlanta. A consensus 3-star recruit, Denson had offers from Michigan State, Rutgers, Minnesota and others.

Hunter Sellers, CB

Another Georgia commitment, Sellers is a 6’0″ cornerback who, like Tee Denson, also hails from Atlanta, Georgia. A consensus 3-star recruit, Sellers boasted offers from much of the Big Ten, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan State, Nebraska, Purdue, Maryland and Indiana.

Henry Parrish, RB

A 5’10” running back out of Columbus High School in Miami, FL, Parrish was another Florida coup for the Panthers and lead recruiter Charlie Partridge. Despite offers from Miami, Florida State, South Carolina, Penn State, Michigan, Oregon and others, Parrish chose Pitt. A 3-star recruit on both 247 (87) and Rivals (5.5), Parrish is one of two backs in Pitt’s 2020 class.

AJ Roberts, LB

Hailing from Tottenville High School in Staten Island, NY, Roberts is a 6’1″ linebacker and the 9th ranked player in New York according to 247 Sports. Roberts is rated as a 3-star recruit on both 247 (85) and Rivals (5.5). Roberts picked Pitt over offers from LSU, Boston College, Duke and a handful of FBS schools.

Timothy Brown, Jr., DT

Another highly rated Florida recruit. Brown, a 6’4″, 240-pound defensive tackle chose the Panthers over blue bloods like Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Penn State. Brown was part of the Panthers’ banner six recruit day

Dayon Hayes, DT

A City League star from Westinghouse High School, many believe that Hayes would be at least a 4-star if he played at a more visible school. The 6’3″ defensive tackle had offers from Penn State, Ohio State and West Virginia, but chose the Panthers in the end. Rivals and 247 rate him as the 3rd best player in Pennsylvania in the 2020 class.

Jahvante Royal, S

One of Pitt’s big 4-star commitments, Royal is a 6’3″, 180-lb safety out of Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. Royal picked the Panthers over Florida State, Georgia, Penn State, Ohio State and other power programs. Rated as a 4-star player by Rivals (5.8) and high 3-star on 247 (88), Royal is rated as the 14th best safety by Rivals and the 344th best player overall. You can see some of his hard-hitting highlights here.

Aydin Henningham, WR

Hailing from Deerfield Beach, Florida, Henningham is a Rivals 4-star wide receiver (5.8), but ranked only as a mid 3-star on 247 (84). In any case, the 6’1 wideout picked the Panthers over offers from Tennessee, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Louisville, Kentucky, Florida and Auburn. Henningham is one of three wide  wide receivers to pick Pitt in this recruiting cycle along with Jordan Addison and Jaylon Barden.

Jordan Addison, WR

Jordan Addison is a 6’0, 160-lb receiver/athlete out of Tuscarora High School in Frederick, MD. Addison is rated as a top 300 player and a 4-star recruit on 247 (90) but a 3-star (5.5) on Rivals. Check out his junior year highlights to see the dynamic speedster in action at wide receiver, quarterback and free safety.

Israel Abanikanda, RB

A three-star athlete/all purpose back out of Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY, Israel chose the Panthers over Duke, Boston College, Cal, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, WVU and Tennessee. 247 rates him as the 9th best player out of New York and 17th best all purpose back in the country. Abanikanda is a burner, and winner of back-to-back NY state titles in the 100 meter dash.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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