Future watch is a continuing a series of stories breaking down film from the members of Pitt football’s recruiting Class of 2021 by Pittsburgh Sports Now analyst Nick Farabaugh.
Pitt picked up a key prospect in the secondary last week when the Panthers flipped Iowa State commit Noah Biglow. With other offers from Virginia, Washington State, and Duke, Biglow was a riser from late last season after he put up an impressive showing in the playoffs.
What is Pitt getting in their newest commit of the 2021 cycle?
NOTES FROM THE TAPE
• Biglow’s frame is lanky. It is clear that he has the ideal physical measurables (6-foot, 175 pounds) for a Power Five cornerback, but he truly looks like very slight at this point. That simply means that a high-level NCAA strength program can allow him to fill out his frame nicely.
• Those physical measurable show up on tape. His length is a massive piece to his game. Not only does it allow him to be effective in press coverage, but Biglow uses his length to disrupt the catch point and force incompletions.
• Going back to his frame, his functional strength is not there yet. He does not pack a lot of power behind his punches in press coverage, something Pitt does frequently, and that does affect his ability to redirect routes at times. At the next level, that can also bring up troubles in tackling.
• Ballhawk! Biglow is like a magnet to the football. On tape, a lot of his interceptions were fluky, but there is translateable traits there. He high points the football and has natural hands out there. The ball production speaks for itself.
• Something that does allow him to net those interceptions is his field awareness. Biglow has his head on a swivel at all times and as such, can get interceptions off the tip drill and badly thrown balls. That speaks in large part to a good football IQ.
• Biglow is a really fluid cornerback. His hips are extremely smooth and that allows his transitions to not be labored at all. This is a guy that is not going to lose even a speed demon receiver because of labored transitions. That has largely been a trait of most Pat Narduzzi cornerbacks, so it is not a surprise here.
• His footwork is really clean and crisp. Biglow routinely mirrored routes with quick feet, disciplined hips, and smart eyes. In a defense that loves to put their cornerbacks on an island at times, being able to stick with the receiver in man coverage is big.
• Zone coverage is a little bit of a question mark here. The awareness is there, but there were not true pattern matching exchanges in the secondary on tape. Pitt’s primary defense is a quarters zone, which combines man and zone concepts for corners.
• Biglow’s speed looks to decent but not great. It is not an outright negative on his tape, but against guys that can really burn the defense deep, he could be trouble if he does not have a technically perfect rep.
• His run support is a big question mark. With his lanky frame, so is tackling. As said before, a college strength program can help in both of these areas, but it could limit his ability to get onto the field right away.
FUTURE WATCH OUTLOOK
Biglow has a lot of traits that Narduzzi likes to look for in his cornerbacks. He has length, fluidity, and clean footwork that can allow him to be trusted on an island in man coverage. It makes sense why they were so interested in him and wanted to get him to flip. Biglow’s ball skills are going to be a really nice boon to a secondary that has had some trouble getting those splash plays over the years.
However, he comes into the program a bit raw physically. His frame has to be filled out before he takes the field against ACC level talent. With two starters in Damarri Mathis and Jason Pinnock set to graduate after 2020, there will be an opportunity for a true freshman to make in an impact in 2021, but Biglow will have to develop more physical strength in order to take advantage of that opportunity.