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Pat Narduzzi recently added a talented preferred walk-on candidate with a name very familiar to Pitt fans when Gusty ‘Gus’ Sunseri (6-foot, 195 pounds), a linebacker and safety at Central Catholic High School (Pittsburgh, PA), announced his commitment to Pitt.
Sunseri’s uncle Sal was a former All-American linebacker for the Panthers. Between 1985 and 1992, he worked as a defensive line and linebacker’s coach for the Panthers. He briefly held the role of interim head coach after the firing of Paul Hackett. His cousin Tino was a former signal caller for Pitt starting three consecutive years between 2010-2012.
“I really didn’t walk with Pitt a lot. I wanted to visit but I never got to go. Then one day I received a call from Coach (Cory) Sanders and he told me they are giving me a preferred walk-on opportunity,” said Sunseri. “I was very excited about the opportunity.”
Sunseri was a first-team selection last season on the Pennsylvania Football News 6A all-state team. He played in 40 games for Central Catholic High School and was a significant contributor to the team’s 2019 title run. Gusty missed the second half of the 2019 after sustaining a knee injury.
“I played varsity all four years at Central Catholic. My freshman year I played all special teams, we lost in the state championship. My sophomore year I came back, and I ended up starting at linebacker, “he said. “I started at linebacker the following two years as a junior and senior. My senior I got to play a little fullback as well.”
Sunseri is a player with a high football IQ. He’s a physical player often lauded for his tackling and hitting on the field. Gusty is the sixth player from Central Catholic to join the Panthers’ football program.
“I don’t really know Damar (Hamlin) and Johnny (Petrishen) but I really look up to them. They are great players. My freshman season, Cal Aadomitis was a senior. He’s a great leader,” he said. “My sophomore year we had current Pitt defensive tackle David Green and he taught me how to be an overall leader and how to work hard every day. I wore number two the last few years at Central Catholic because of David Green. My junior year I played with Gavin Thomson, a preferred walk-on wide receiver at Pitt. I grew up playing with him and we are very close. I saw him go to Pitt, do well and get his name noticed by the coaching staff. I thought I could do the same thing myself.”
When asked if he would be playing either linebacker or safety at Pitt, Gusty replied, “They told me either the viper or money position. For now, I’m planning on taking it step by step, getting my knee better, then learning their system. I want to start lifting and getting bigger, faster, stronger and reaching my top potential. My goal is to get to Pitt and be the best leader and teammate I can be.”
Gusty was asked if he any of his family members influenced his decision to go to Pitt. He quickly replied, “They were really excited, but they definitely backed off. They wanted me to make my own decision. They were great about it.”
“I’m truly excited to a Panther. I can’t wait to get to work!”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru