The Pitt football program received outstanding news with week when 2021 quarterback Nate Yarnell (6-foot-6 inches, 205 pounds) from Lake Travis High School in Austin, TX committed to Pitt. The towering signal caller chose the Panthers over scholarship offers from Houston, Missouri State, Nevada, Texas State, Tulsa, UAB and Utah.
To gain perspective on the Panthers newest quarterback, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Lake Travis High School head coach Hank Carter.
“Nate is an outstanding player. He’s already a great quarterback and I think that the sky’s the limit for him based on his physical tools. He’s a 6-foot-6-inch-tall, long, smart kid that’s been all about football as long as I’ve known him. I can remember him going back to when he was in middle school and watching him play,” said Carter.
“He started six games for us last year. We’ve been blessed with great quarterbacks at Lake Travis. Our starter was Hudson Card whose now at the University of Texas. When Hudson went down with an injury, Nate was able to step in,” he said. “He played six games and won every one of them. I think that he’s going to have a tremendous senior season for us. If I was a Pitt fan, I would be excited and jacked up too. You’re getting a great kid, great player.”
Yarnell played in 11 games during the 2019 season with six starts. Yarnell threw for 1,489 yards and 14 touchdowns with five interceptions. He completed 107 of his 158 pass attempts for a 67.7 completion percentage. An interesting sidenote: Lake Travis is the alma matter of current Cleveland Browns starter Baker Mayfield.
“Nate’s a very athletic kid. He runs well when he must scramble. We have great players on the edge, so we ask out quarterbacks to get the balls to those guys,” he said. “Nate was a good lacrosse player growing up and early on in high school. A sport like that requires a lot of athleticism and playing in space. He can run but in today’s football I would say he’s a pocket quarterback. He’s a drop back quarterback that reminds me of a player we had a few years ago named Matthew Baldwin, who’s currently at TCU. He’s another big, strong kid that could run.”
Yarnell is a towering pro-style prospect. When asked about his stature and growth potential, Carter stated, “He’s very tall, definitely 6-foot-6 inches tall. He could be taller the next time I see him. That’s typically what happens with these guys that get over 6-foot-3 inches tall in high school. A lot of their body’s energy is going to them simply growing. Their arms grow longer, their legs grow longer, etc.”
“Nate is training his tail off right now. It wouldn’t shock me if he puts on 20 pounds of muscle by the time our season begins. When you have a real tall kid, it’s just a matter of putting muscle on that frame. He’s a hard worker and he loves the weight room. He loves to train. He’s going to be a mountain of a man by the time he’s 20 years old.”
Yarnell is generally rated a three-star prospect by the major recruiting services. He will compete with several young and talented quarterbacks on the roster including recent transfer Joey Yellen and Davis Beville. Nate will join redshirt sophomore safety Erick Hallett as the second Texan on the Panthers’ roster.
Coach Carter was asked about Yarnell’s off the fiend demeanor and he replied,” His teammates love him. I think if you looked on his Twitter account, all his connections with his classmates and his buddies, he’s a very popular kid. You won’t find a better young man. If I had a daughter and Nate showed up to take her on a date, I’d feel pretty good about it.”
“He’s a super high character kid. No issues with partying, no issues with character at all. He really is just an excellent example of what a young student athlete should be and I’m super proud of him.”
Quarterbacks, by default, must be leaders both on and off the field. It appears leadership is one of his strong suits. “Nate is a vocal kid. When it’s time to get on somebody or when it’s time to give a little bit of tough love because either we’re not playing at the tempo we need to or we’re making middle mistakes offensively,” he said.
“He’s been training to be a quarterback for a long time, and he knows what’s required of him leadership wise. A couple of things that I loved about him even last year, he was our backup because he’s playing behind Hudson Card. Nate would stay at the end of every practice and run routes with the wideouts, then he would go out during the week and have dinner with the offensive linemen. He understands the things that you need to do when you’re the leader, when you’re a quarterback. His teammates love him, and he’s got a great feel for how to relate to the rest of the guys on our team.”
“Pitt’s getting a special player and the fans there in Pittsburgh should be excited.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru