Pat Narduzzi has a history of coming in late and adding elite talent to Pitt’s recruiting class right around National Signing Day and that was the case again this year.
Four-star safety Phillip O’Brien (Deerfield Beach, Florida) was also set to sign with the Auburn Tigers until the university decided to fire head coach Guz Malzahn, which opened the door for Pitt to swoop in and land this talented safety, who committed to the Panthers on Christmas Day.
This was a major get for Pitt’s No. 21 ranked recruiting class as O’Brien had received previous offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
As he prepares to make the move to Pittsburgh, PSN talked with O’Brien this morning and heard for the first time what sold him on Pitt and got this thoughts on wanting to make an immediate impact in the Panthers secondary.
“My relationship with Pitt and Coach Partridge actually started at the beginning of my junior year,” O’Brien told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Pitt was actually one of the first offers I got and ever since then, Coach Partridge stayed on me, texted me and hit me up a lot. Every time Coach would come down to our campus, he’d make sure he saw and talked to me. He was very key.
“After I de-committed from Auburn, Coach Narduzzi and Coach Partridge were on me right away, calling me everyday and were talking up Pitt. The fact that they showed immediate interest in me showed me that they really wanted me. They were telling me how they have two safeties, Paris Ford and Damar Hamlin going to the league this year. I actually had my coach at the Under Armor Game tell me that I reminded him of Paris Ford. I started looking over team depth charts and some of the players that I played with and against in high school on Pitt (Marques Williams, Vincent Davis, Aydin Henningham) were telling me I can come in and play. They said you just have to work, it won’t be easy, and you just have to work).”
Despite being a true freshman, it’s very clear that O’Brien is very confident in his abilities that he can come in next season and make an impression on Archie Collins and Cory Sanders, that will earn him playing time in the Pitt secondary.
Check out my highlight – https://t.co/EQUyHACLI3
— Phillip O’Brien Jr (@PhillipOjr) December 21, 2020
“I see myself as a safety but really, I’ll play anywhere the coaches want me to play,” said O’Brien. “My strengths are my ability to tackle, I have top-end speed and I believe I have really good ball skills. I look at myself as a playmaker, I create turnovers. I’ll do whatever I have to do to get the ball out of your hands and into mine.”
O’Brien intends on getting to work immediately as he told PSN that he’ll be leaving Florida and arriving in Pittsburgh on Thursday and will officially be enrolled.
“This past week, I’ve been catching up with my family and friends and it’s been great. After that, it’s time to get to Pittsburgh and start working.”
As we ended our conversation, O’Brien ended our talk with this message: “Get ready because this is going to be a movie.”