The Pitt football program received some positive news on Monday night when 2020 wide receiver Jake McConnachie (6-foot-5 inches, 195 pounds) from Verona High School in Verona, NJ accepted a preferred walk-on opportunity. McConnachie chose Pitt over similar offers from Rutgers and West Virginia. He was named to the Super 100 All State Team by the New Jersey Football Coaches Association.
“I’m really excited to be Panther. I have a great relationship with Coach (Tim) Salem and that was a bit factor in my decision,” stated McConnachie. “I spoke with Coach (Chris) Beatty about a week or two ago and that went well. I’m excited to be joining Pitt. There’s no other school like it.”
Every walk-on has a story. McConnachie is a towering 6-foot-5 inches, has soft hands and elite leaping ability. One would assume he would have accrued a lengthy list of offers. “Yeah, I’ve got this question before. First, Verona is a small high school. I don’t believe we get as much exposure as there would be from a group 4 school or larger school,” he said. “I guess I kind of got into the whole camp thing kind of late as well. I probably should have attended more camps and put myself out there. I should have been doing that since my freshman year. I didn’t start doing it until the end of my junior year going into senior year.”
McConnachie was a late bloomer that emerged during the 2019 season. He accumulated 1,012 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Hillbillies. Verona High School went 12-0 and won a sectional championship with a 41-0 victory over Lyndhurst High School.
McConnachie was asked about his strengths at the wide receiver position. He stated, “I would definitely say the deep ball, tracking the ball. I can get off press coverage, mostly fade and post. If you want to throw it deep, just give [me] the ball.”
“I’m 6-foot-5 inches tall and 195 pounds. I’m bigger than most cornerbacks in the ACC conference. I’m bigger than a lot of other receivers so my length and my ability to jump will help on the next level. I’m a 6-foot, 4-inch-high jumper. I have long limbs, height and leaping ability. That combination doesn’t come around that often.”
McConnachie has a large frame with wide shoulders. He was asked if he ever had discussions about playing tight end on the next level. “Coach Salem has always been my main contact and he’s Pitt’s tight end coach. I assumed that’s where he wanted me,” he said. “It’s actually never been discussed. If I’m asked to move to tight end, I wouldn’t mind. I’m here to play football.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru