At long last, Pitt has a recruit from Michigan.
In fact, Pitt has two of them, as Detroit offensive lineman Brandon Honorable and Terrence Enos both picked the Panthers on Sunday, capping a huge weekend of commitments for the Panthers.
When Enos and Honorable get to the campus in 2021, they’ll be the only Michigan natives on the Panthers’ roster. The only current Pitt player with a Michigan address, kicker Alex Kessman, who hails from Clarkson, Michigan, will graduate after the 2020 season.
Kessman arrived at Pitt in 2016 as a blue-shirt walk-on. The last scholarship commitment to Pitt from a player from Michigan was when Avonte Maddox joined the Panthers back in 2014.
In the interim seven years, it sure seemed like Pitt was trying to make a dent in recruiting in The Mitten.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi came to Pitt after spending seven seasons as the defensive coordinator at Michigan State, and several members of his original staff at Pitt had Michigan connections. Cornerbacks coach Renaldo Hill was a Detroit native and Michigan State alum. Defensive line coach Tom Sims was a Detroit native and played football at Western Michigan before transferring to Pitt. Linebackers coach Rob Harley worked at Michigan State for two seasons. Director of operations Been Mathers was with the Spartans as an undergrad and for three more seasons.
But it wasn’t to be.
It sure wasn’t from lack of trying. Pitt offered three Michigan players in Narduzzi’s first class in 2015, and another 24 more through the Class of 2018.
In 2018, things changed. After Hill moved on to the NFL and the NCAA allowed the hiring of a 10th assistant coach, Narduzzi hired Archie Collins and Cory Sanders as secondary and safeties coach.
Sanders is a Grand Rapids, Michigan native that came to Pitt from Western Michigan. Collins is a Detroit native and Cass Tech alum, that played and coached at Michigan State and also coached at Central Michigan.
Under their influence, Pitt stepped up recruiting in the area, offering 14 Michigan players in 2019, 16 in 2020 and 22 in 2021 before finally breaking through with Enos and Honorable. Collins was the area recruiter for both players.
“I just felt very comfortable with the Pitt coaching staff as I’ve talked with them just about every week and they were with me from the beginning,” Enos told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Coach Archie is a Detroit native and actually went up Cass Tech … It was nice knowing that I had someone at Pitt from where I’m from.”
“I first talked to Coach [Archie] Collins about my decision and he was so fired up,” Honorable said.
Collins has every right to be excited, getting a pair of recruits from a coveted area, and one in Enos that picked Pitt over a dozen other Power Five offers.