The Pitt coaching staff has been pushing the play of the defense out on the recruiting trail as they pursue their next class of players
The attack style defense orchestrated by Pat Narduzzi and Randy Bates for the second consecutive season was amongst the leaders in sacks in college football. The overall success of the defense is also leading to its members getting noticed by the NFL. Five members of last years defense were selected in the just concluded 2021 NFL Draft.
Those were just a couple of the things mentioned as Pitt extended an offer to a defensive star from Texas.
2022 3-star safety Robert Fitzgerald (Jesuit High School in Dallas, Texas) recently picked up an offer from Ryan Manalac, Randy Bates and the Pitt Panthers. Fitzgerald (6-foot, 205-pounds) also holds offers from Baylor, Colorado, Duke, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, SMU, TCU, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Washington State.
“Coach Manalac followed me on Twitter and then reached out to me as we texted back and forth a few times and also had a couple phone calls,” said Fitzgerald. “He then talked to one of my coaches and then Coach Bates called me and told me that Pitt would like to offer me a scholarship. They told me that they liked the intensity and the aggression in which I play football with. They also like how versatile I am by being able to play multiple positions, which correlates with how they play defense and how aggressive they are.”
“At first, I didn’t know much about Pitt but since getting the offer, I’ve researched and learned that they have one of the best defenses in the ACC, really one of the top defenses in the country. I also found out that they had six guys drafted this year and five of them were on defense, which is cool because getting to the NFL has always been a dream of mine. I also found out that they share facilities with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is really cool.”
With that versatility, Pitt sees Fitzgerald as someone that would be able to play and excel at either safety or their Star linebacker spot.
“I’d say the strength of my game is my toughness and passion that I play the game with. I won’t back down to anyone and I’m a player that will go 110% all game long,” said Fitzgerald.
Junior Season Highlights:
UIL District 7-6A Defensive MVP
81 Tackles (60 solo), 2 INTs, 6 PBU, 2 FF, 4.5 TFL
10 TD (7 Rush, 2 PR, 1 Defensive)
431 Return Yards
0 TD allowed https://t.co/cLiZYlSgpd
— Robert Fitzgerald (@Robert_Fitz18) December 23, 2020
With the recruiting dead period ending in two weeks and visits being arranged, I asked Fitzgerald where his recruitment stood and what Pitt would have a chance to get an official visit from him.
“I haven’t really closed off any of my options,” said Fitzgerald. “The only thing I know is that I want to play Power Five football. I have two official visits set up with Duke (June 10-12) and Vanderbilt (June 25-27) and I also plan on attending camps at both Northwestern and Notre Dame.”
“(For Pitt to get an official visit) They’re just going to have to show that they truly want me there and I’m not just another offer. I want to know that they really can see my in their defense and that they really want me there. If I can see myself fitting in there, that when I’d probably take a visit there.”