This cycle’s first signing day has come and gone and there were no surprises — good or bad — for Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt football program.
Every one who was scheduled to sign, did. But the Panthers were also not on the receiving end of any new commitments from the handful of players still on the fence. Four-star wide receiver Bryan Robinson signed with Florida State joining Pitt target quarterback Tate Rodemaker. Safety Derek Bermudez ended up at Ole Miss with new coach Lane Kiffin. On Tuesday, the Panthers were able to flip Buddy Mack from Charlotte, which was the 17th and final (for now) member of the class.
On the “flip” side, there were no surprise decommitments in the Class of 2020 for the Panthers. While Pitt fans collectively held their breaths after four-star wideout Jordan Addison delayed his decision until Thursday, it ended up much ado about nothing. Addison signed and the Panthers’ 17 commitments were locked in.
While the Panthers will be looking for a few more signees in February to fill out their class, now is a good time to look at where the Panthers 2020 class ranks compared to their ACC foes and nationally.
Where Pitt Ranks with 247
Among the three main recruiting services (247, Rivals, ESPN) the Panthers are penalized by their relatively small class size of 17 signees.
On the 247 Composite (a combination of 247, Rivals and ESPN ratings), Pitt ranks 41st nationally, 18 spots ahead of last season. In the ACC they’re 7th, compared with 12th last year. defending National Champion Clemson is the top team (they’re also tops in the nation) followed by Miami, UNC, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Pitt, NC State, Virginia, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Duke, Boston College and Virginia Tech.
While the 247 Composite only awards two Pitt recruits four stars (Dayon Hayes and Jordan Addison), on the Top 247 the Panthers have six: Hayes, Addison, Abanikanda, Kamara and Taylor. Pitt’s rating per commit is .8631, their highest ever in the Narduzzi era, since they joined the ACC and their highest overall since 2010 (.8643).
The Panthers lone representative on the 247 Composite’s Top 300 is Jordan Addison who’s 247’s 131st ranked player in the nation. On 247’s Top 250, Israel Abanikanda is 164th, Dayon Hayes is 206th
In the conference, Pitt is tied with Boston College in the ACC for 7th with two 247 Composite five and four-star players. Clemson is first with 17 followed by Miami with 11, Florida State with nine, UNC with seven, Georgia Tech with six and Virginia with three. Clemson is the only school in the conference with any five star recruits (6). The Panthers had zero composite four-stars in 2019 and their only 2018 four-star transferred (Mychale Salahuddin).
Where Pitt Ranks with Rivals
Rivals takes a slightly less optimistic view of the Panthers’ Class of 2020, ranking them 47th nationally, but like 247, 7th in the ACC. That’s slightly ahead of last year’s ranking of 50th overall. Rivals awards the 2020 class a 3.06 average rating, their highest since 2016’s 3.08. In Narduzzi’s tenure, the Panthers have not varied much in their average recruit rating, consistently hovering around 3.00.
Rivals considers two of the Panthers 2020 recruits four-star players, Dayon Hayes and Jahvante Royal. In the ACC they’re 7th in five- or four-star players behind Clemson, Miami, Florida State, UNC, Georgia Tech and Boston College.
In 2019 the Panthers had one four-star recruit: Davis Beville. In 2018 only Mychale Salahuddin was ranked four-stars.
Where Pitt Ranks with ESPN
The Panthers have zero recruits on the ESPN 300, although they have two 4-star players in Jahvante Royal and Jordan Addison. Overall, their 2020 class clocks in at 44th overall–down from a high of 39th before the Parrish decommitment–and 8th in the ACC. In 2019 the Panthers ranked 49th overall and 9th in the ACC, and were 56th in 2018, so at least they’re trending upwards.
Pitt’s 2020 class is ranked the highest since 2017 when ESPN had them 31st. That class was highlighted by four-stars Paris Ford, Todd Sibley, A.J. Davis, Jalen Twyman, Jerry Drake and Carter Warren and had three ESPN 300 recruits.
2020 vs. Narduzzi’s Previous Classes
So how does Pitt’s 2020 class compare to previous ones under Narduzzi? Let’s check out the number of four-star players in each class as given by the three primary recruiting services, ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. (Note: 247Sports scores are the actual 247Sports ratings and not the 247 Composite scores, which are a combination of the three recruiting services).
2016: ESPN – 3, Rivals – 5, 247Sports – 4 — 247 Composite – 3
2017: ESPN – 6, Rivals – 3, 247Sports – 1 — 247 Composite – 4
2018: ESPN – 0, Rivals – 1, 247Sports – 1 — 247 Composite – 1
2019: ESPN – 2, Rivals – 1, 247Sports – 2 — 247 Composite – 0
2020: ESPN – 2, Rivals – 2, 247Sports – 6 — 247 Composite – 2
Here’s ESPN’s class rankings:
Rivals class rankings:
247 Composite class rankings:
Here’s the 247 Composite rating for each of the classes.
It may be just a fraction of a point, but the Panthers’ 2020 class is the highest rated since Narduzzi’s took over (or at least since his first full recruiting class in 2016.) It also has the most 247Sports four-star players. ESPN and Rivals don’t share quite the same level of optimism, but the two four-star Rivals recruits is the most since 2017 and the two ESPN four-star recruits are at least not a step back for the program. Why aren’t the Panthers ranked higher overall? That comes back to the class size, at only 17 commitments, it’s the smallest in Narduzzi’s tenure.
The higher 247 Composite score means that average recruit is higher rated than in previous years, even if it may not have the top end talent that the Classes of 2016 and 2017 had. Unless you favor 247Sports ratings and four-star designations, which says this is definitively the best class that Narduzzi has produced.
The Pitt Panthers’ Class of 2020 may not be a game changer on paper, but it’s a solid class, and a definite improvement (at least according to the rating services) over the past few.
What’s it all mean? That individual recruiting and ratings and rankings, of course, are an inexact science. Although overall team rankings do have a strong relationship with team success.
It’s obviously too early to judge how each player will turn out, but in theory there’s more talent filtering through to Pittsburgh compared to the last few cycles.