The City of Brotherly Love hasn’t been so kind to the Pitt football program over the years, at least when it comes from luring players from the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania to come suit up for the Panthers.
Pitt played the 2019 season with just two southeastern Pennsylvania natives on scholarship. Center Jimmy Morrissey from the northern Philadelphia suburb of Huntington Valley, Pa., came to Pitt as a walk-on. Safety Jazzee Stocker is from Coatesville in Chester County — about an hour’s drive to William Penn’s statue atop City Hall.
That was the sum of the impact of the Philadelphia region on Pitt’s 2019 roster, and that hasn’t exactly been an outlier. Stocker is the only scholarship freshman from the area to be recruited to Pitt since Pat Narduzzi arrived as head coach in 2015.
Before Narduzzi, Pitt had only slightly more success in Philly, with safety Patrick Amara and defensive end Hez Trahan (2014) both transferring out of the program before making an impact. Defensive tackle Justin Moody (2013) had his career shortened by an injury.
The last true impact players for Pitt from the Philadelphia area were middle linebacker Matt Galambos, punter Ryan Winslow and tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith, who came to Pitt in the Class of 2013 — nearly eight recruiting cycles ago.
That comes despite a large number of Pitt undergrads hailing from the eastern part of the state.
Well Pitt took a significant step toward making some inroads in Philadelphia on Monday, when the Panthers received a commitment from Class of 2021 Imhotep Charter defensive back Javon McIntyre.
McIntyre, a three-star prospect, picked Pitt over offers from Maryland, Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, among others.
Improving its standing in Eastern Pa. is important. Of the top 10 players in Pennsylvania in the Class of 2019, four were from the area. And while Penn State has long been the dominant football power in the region, they haven’t necessarily locked down the top recruits.
In 2019, three-star running back Patrick Garwo from Fairless Hills went to Boston College, linebacker Keith Maguire from Malvern went to Clemson and Imhotep safety Tykee Smith went to West Virginia.
Imhotep, in particular, has been a prominent source of football talented. Founded in 1998, the school already boasts a pair of NFL alumni in Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore and former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Dave Williams.
Three Imhotep players landed at Power Five schools in 2019. McIntyre is one four Imhotep players with major offers in the Class of 2021 and 2022 consensus five-star defensive end Enai White was among the players that visited Pitt over the weekend.
With that much talent to mine, a strong alumni base in the region and it only being five hours down the Turnpike, the Philadelphia area is definitely one that Pitt should be hitting harder when it comes to recruiting, and the addition of McIntyre so early in the Class of 2021 could portend good things in the future for Pitt in the region.