Cornerback Ryland Gandy announced on Wednesday that he has committed to Pitt, becoming the eighth member of the Class of 2022 to give Pat Narduzzi his verbal pledge.
Gandy is a three-star recruit from Buford High School in Buford, Georgia. Pitt’s recruiting pipeline in The Peach State continues with Gandy becoming the sixth player in the last three seasons from Georgia to commit to Pitt. Gandy joins cornerback Khalil Anderson, linebacker Preston Lavant, cornerback Rashad Battle, defensive back Hunter Sellers and wide receiver Jaylon Barden as Georgians on the Pitt roster.
This was another big recruiting win for area recruiter and secondary coach Archie Collins and Pitt as this talented cornerback also received offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, USC, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
Two weeks ago, Gandy (6-foot, 170 pounds) made an official visit to Pitt and followed that up with one to West Virginia this past weekend. He had planned to make others but decided on Sunday that he wanted to shut his recruitment down and join the Panthers.
”Pitt was really just the perfect fit for me,” Gandy told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I felt like I could go there and be a part of something big and do big things there. Pitt just felt like home away from home. When I left there, I just felt that this was the place that I had to be at.”
Prior to his first trip to Pittsburgh, Gandy’s recruitment was wide-open but that changed following his visit to Pitt and the time spent with the coaches and players.
”The official visit was huge and solidified that was where I wanted to go,” he said. “Pitt had been in contact with me prior to my junior season and I was thinking about committing there but it’s hard to make that type of decision when you don’t really know about where you’re going. But once I got there and got to see the campus, the faculties, the city of Pittsburgh, I knew that I’d be going there.
”The thing that impressed me most about the visit was the talk I had with Coach Narduzzi. We had a real serious talk about life, my future and other visits that I had planned. He told me the truth that they were only going to take one other corner and as much as they wanted me, if someone came around they would try and hold them off but couldn’t promise anything. That was something that really made me think about everything. I then realized Pitt checked all the boxes for me and I would’ve felt stupid if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to come to Pitt.”
Two other factors that Gandy mentioned that played a role was the relationship he’s developed with Collins and the recent success the Pitt program has had getting defensive backs to the NFL.
Ryland Gandy- Full season highlights Class of 2022 DB https://t.co/4rEKzeiADi @Coach_Davis22 @CoachApp35 @Mansell247 @ChadSimmons_ @buford_football @BufordGAPrspcts @RecruitGeorgia pic.twitter.com/HEwkEomVd8
— Ryland Gandy (@iamrdg10) December 31, 2020
”Coach Collins told me about when NFL teams call back they talk about the defensive backs that come from Pitt compared to bigger name schools or better logos,” said Gandy. “The guys from Pitt seem to have more of an edge when they get to the league and of course, my goal is to get to the NFL. I know that Coach Narduzzi and Coach Collins will put me on the best track to do that.
“He’s (Archie Collins) one of the few coaches where I felt like I could just talk to him and the conversation didn’t feel weird or forced. It also helped our relationship that we talked about a lot of other things besides football.”