Pitt’s Class of 2020 wrapped up on Wednesday, with the additions of two final players and even though the news was overshadowed by Pat Narduzzi’s decision to stay with Pitt instead of pursuing the open Michigan State job, the class if a good one for the Panthers.
Pitt finished with the No. 44 class in the country according to 247 Sports’ composite ranking. That represents a 15-spot jump from Pitt’s No. 59 mark a year ago and Pitt’s best best class in five cycles. It’s the second-highest rated class the Panthers have landed under Narduzzi.
Compared to the rest of the ACC, Pitt has the eighth-best class. That’s better than the Panthers 12th-place finish in the Class of 2019 and the best finish in-league since 2017.
Because the recruiting services assume a 20-player class, Pitt’s rating is handicapped by an 18-player class. Based purely on the average quality of recruit, Pitt would be 37th in the country.
Of the 18 high school and junior college players that committed to Pitt, two — Westinghouse defensive lineman Dayon Hayes and Frederick, Maryland wide receiver Jordan Addison — are consensus four-star commits.
But six more, including signing day addition Rashad Battle, a cornerback from Georgia, have at least one four-star ranking. Pitt had just one such player in 2019.
Furthermore, the Panthers added a pair of former four-star recruits in transfer tight end Lucas Krull and quarterback Joey Yellen.
That makes 10 four-star players that could (pending Yellen’s eligibility petition) be added to the blue and gold rotation at Heinz Field on Saturdays this fall.
While that’s a significant injection of talent, Pitt is also in a position where the staff doesn’t need many of the 20 new faces to contribute right away. Pitt is replacing just seven starters, with Krull expected to step in at tight end. The other six spots (RT, WR, OLB, MLB, DT, CB) will likely be filled by returning players.
Narduzzi said that means that Pitt’s talented freshman class won’t be needed on the field in 2020, but they will be able to earn a role if they can.
“I think as you look at really the whole class, I’m never going to shut someone down and say he’s not ready,” Narduzzi said. “I mean, who knows. Of those 20 guys, all 20 got a shot to come in.”