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Saunders: After Strong Start, Pitt Stands Pat with Early 2020 Class



Pitt’s Class of 2020 entered the official record on Wednesday, with Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi announcing 16 signings at Pitt’s South Side practice facility on Wednesday afternoon.

A 17th, four-star Maryland wide receiver Jordan Addison, is expected to be added to the class on Thursday and complete Pitt’s action in the early signing period that runs through Friday.

So far, it’s a solid class, with Pitt bringing on board seven players rated as four-star prospects by at least one recruiting service and two consensus four-star commits in Addison and Westinghouse defensive end Dayon Hayes.

That represents significant improvement over Pitt’s Class of 2019, when the Panthers did not have a consensus four-star recruit and had five player rated as a four-star player by at least one service.

Pitt’s Class of 2019 ranked No. 59 in the country, according to 247 Sports’ composite rating. This class currently checks in at No. 41.

So, on nearly every front, the Panthers have shown significant improvement coming out of their 2019 ACC Coastal Division championship.

But Wednesday’s signing day was lacking the usual late-in-class splash that has been Narduzzi’s signature since he landed Damar Hamlin on signing day in 2016.

Most of Pitt’s big hauls came early in the class, with Hayes and Addison committing on the same day in June, along with Jahvante Royal, Aydin Henningham and A.J. Roberts.

The waning days of the singing period involved landing a pair of tight ends — significant needs — but not splashy gets in the mostly unknown talents of Lucas Krull, who hopes to get un-buried from Florida’s depth chart, and junior college tight end Daniel Moraga, who had only Pitt as a Power Five suitor.

Pitt also flipped three-star safety Buddy Mack from UNC Charlotte on Tuesday, solidifying their depth in the secondary, replacing the loss of Tee Denson, who de-committed from Pitt for Kansas State.

But the last few days have been more about who Pitt hasn’t gotten than who Pitt did get. The Panthers lost out on three-star Georgia quarterback Tate Rodemaker, who was their top and seemingly only quarterback target until Florida State came into the picture over the final week.

The Seminoles were also able to hold off Pitt for four-star wide receiver Bryan Robinson, who de-committed from Florida State and made Pitt a finalist before eventually proceeding to Tallahassee.

Pitt also missed on three-star defensive back Derek Bermudez, who chose Ole Miss after a last-minute offer, three-star defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor, who chose West Virginia, and couldn’t convince safety Lovie Jenkins to leave behind his Louisville commitment.

The theory of getting so many top commits so early in the class, to the point that Pitt was turning talented players away, is that it should help make the final additions

So far, that hasn’t happened. The Panthers have a good class and and a solid jumping off point for the February regular signing period. A solid addition or two, perhaps at quarterback, defensive tackle, offensive line, and Pitt could still have one of Narduzzi’s best classes in his time here.

Four-star running back Henry Parrish, who de-committed from Pitt, says he’ll still consider the Panthers when he signs in February. His return could be a huge boost.

That would be a near best-case scenario. On the other hand, if Pitt’s early success doesn’t turn into anything more at the end of the signing period, it’ll have been a missed opportunity for the Panthers.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Section 122
Section 122
4 years ago

Trying to be excited but 7-6 again has destroyed my ability to see the glass half full.

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