Pat Naruduzzi has continuously expanded the Panthers’ recruiting footprint. The days of Western Pennsylvania being a treasure-trove of talent are gone.
Several years ago, he decided to make a consummate effort to place a focus on the southern states – Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, etc. Football is religion in the south states and due to the favorable climate, prospects can play or practice year-round.
Panthers assistant head coach and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge has led the efforts in Florida and his hard work continues to bear fruit. The state of Georgia seemed impenetrable until Jaylon Barden, Hunter Sellers and Rashad Battle joined the 2020 recruiting class.
Narduzzi made a significant hire in January of 2019. He hired current wide receives coach Chris Beatty. Not only was Beatty considered an exceptional position coach, he was known an ‘ace recruiter’. Beatty has been a bit of a vagabond. He’s coached at Northern Illinois, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Wisconsin, Virginia and Maryland. At every stop, he’s consistently landed top level talent. He has extensive ties to the DMV (Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia). His connections in the Tidewater area of Virginia are second to none.
The Tidewater region includes Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Poquoson, Newport News and Hampton. Beatty started his career coaching at Salem and Landstown high schools in Virginia Beach. An area that was rarely recruited prior to Beatty has developed into a pipeline. It’s been enveloped into the Panthers’ overall recruiting footprint.
Running back Rodney Hammond from Norfolk, VA, defensive end Trevion Stevenson from Hampton, VA and wide receiver Myles Alston from Virginia Beach, VA have already joined the Panthers’ 2021 recruiting class. There are several talented prospects that may join them.
Pittsburgh Sports Now recently interviewed DeMatha Catholic head football coach Bill McGregor. He described Coach Beatty’s recruiting style as ‘relentless’. If you speak with players he’s recruited or coached, they describe him as ‘real’ and ‘genuine’.
Beatty will continue to revamp the Panthers’ wide receivers and augment the talent on the roster. Pat Narduzzi knows he’s a hot commodity amongst the coaching ranks. He will have to make a move sooner, rather than later to keep him at Pitt for years to come.
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru