The Pitt football program added an intriguing athlete to their Class of 2021 Monday night as tight end Jake Renda flipped his commitment from Michigan State to Pitt.
Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke to Renda on Monday evening following his news and found out this is an interesting get for the Pat Narduzzi’s program for a couple reasons.
Renda (6-foot-5, 230) is originally from Trenton, New Jersey but has enrolled at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for his senior season. While with his new team, Renda will be playing a new position, moving from quarterback to tight end. The other thing we learned that this will be a homecoming for him when he eventually arrives at Pitt.
“I have deep Pittsburgh roots,” Renda told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “My dad grew up in Pittsburgh and went to Central Catholic High School, so did his three brothers. So, he went to high school like three minutes from Pitt’s campus. My grandparents, my uncles and cousins also still live there so for as long as I can remember, Pittsburgh has always been a home for me. I’m there all the time visiting family and I’ve feel in love with the city. Even before my recruitment started, I always liked and wanted to be in Pittsburgh.”
Renda has been getting recruited by Pitt since his sophomore season and met Tim Salem and Narduzzi for the first time when attended a prospect camp as a quarterback. Renda was committed to Michigan State but two weeks ago, received the news he’d been waiting for.
“When Coach Narduzzi informed me (in July) that I had an offer from Pitt, I was definitely super excited about that. Not only because of all the roots and family that I do have in Pittsburgh but also because of the opportunity that I had both athletically and academically,” Renda said. “Once I got the offer, I kind of knew that’s where I was going to end up because I was familiar with them because of the way Coach Salem was recruiting me many months before they actually offered. I was able to get a good feel of the program and what they want to do offensively plus the feel I had of Pittsburgh because of my family being from there. I feel in love with the city and once I had the offer, I felt like I already had all the information I needed.
“Before they offered, they wanted to get some practice film of me at IMG and I sent that over probably the first or second week that I arrived here. They need to see that because I’ve played quarterback the last 3\three years. Coach Salem and Coach Narduzzi say they do it the right way and don’t hand out offers to anyway. They wanted to go through the proper evaluation first and get as much information as possible so I sent them as much video as I could get.”
The Pitt program has been searching the last few years for a high school tight end that could not only block but make a difference in the passing game. With the commitments of three-star recruit Trey Andersen and Renda, they finally have what they’ve been searching for.
“I think something that differentiates me from a lot of players is my speed and athleticism which allows me to be a major threat in the passing game,” said Renda. “Talking to Coach Whipple and Coach Salem, they see me playing that ‘Y’ role as someone that can run the field vertically but also someone that can move in and block the defensive end or linebacker. I think I can play all over but really I believe I can make a difference and big impact in the passing game.”
Renda is currently working out with his new team in Florida but has already decided that he will be an early enrollee at Pitt this winter.
“This is a decision that I’m super excited and confident in and I can’t wait to get there in January to get to work.”