Here’s a question for you Pitt fans, ‘What do Nick Patti, Leslie Smith, Sam Williams, Nahki Johnson, Sean FitzSimmons and Zion Fowler have in common?”
The answer is they were the first players in their recruiting classes to commit to Pitt over the last six years.
Zion Fowler added his name to the list early this morning when he informed the Panthers staff that he wanted to close down his recruiting and become the first member of Pitt’s Class of 2023. Fowler is a 6’1″, 185 pound playmaking wide receiver from St. Peters Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey.
At this stage of his recruitment, Fowler’s two Power Five offers were from Pitt and Virginia Tech. No doubt, he would’ve picked up more offers over the next year but Fowler made up his mind that he wanted to play for Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt Panthers.
“It feels pretty good. I felt that I made a really good decision for me and my family and it feels really good to be their first commitment. Hopefully this will be the start of a big wave,” Fowler told Pittsburgh Sports Now.
“Honestly, I just felt that this was the right time and right moment to make the commitment to Pitt. Everything just lined up in the right spots. I feel like this is a great educational move too, I always wanted to study Biology and major in it and Pitt has a very good Biology program. So aside from the sports aspect, the educational side really clicked for me and my family. Pitt is looking really good right now. They’re 6-1, they’re No. 17 in the nation. Everything just lined up for me to go to Pitt.”
Fowler is only a junior but another factor in him making this commitment is that he’s already been to Pitt and met the coaching staff. Earlier this summer, Fowler attended a prospects camp at Pitt, which is when he earned his offer from the staff. Having already toured the facilities, met with the coaches and having worked with his future positions coach was important to Fowler.
“It was very important to me to be able to see and talk to the coaches face-to-face,” said Fowler. “I know their personalities, I got to talk with the coaches, I felt their vibes, their level of intensity and found out what the Pitt football program was all about.”
“Also, getting to work with Coach Marion was really, really good. He has such a great knowledge of the game, great knowledge of the wide receiver position. I got to workout in front of him and he gave me some tips for my game that at the time, I didn’t think I needed much work on. He saw things that helped me liked getting out of my break quicker, getting lower in my stance, just little things that have helped me out. Now that he’s going to be my future wide receivers coach, I’m just really excited and looking forward to see how he’s going to make me an even better receiver.”
Fowler hasn’t been to Heinz Field to watch Pitt in person but was able to watch them a couple weeks ago when they took on Virginia Tech. While on an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech, Fowler watched the Panthers and one person that he focused on and has been watching on television is Panthers star receiver Jordan Addison.
“I’m always watching his game, always trying to watch any clips that I can see of him,” Fowler said. “I see myself as having a similar style to him. A very high, twitchy receiver, good with the ball in space. I see Jordan as a very different receiver, a very special receiver that you don’t see very often. He’s very tough and I love his game. I feel like him and I as a duo would be very special.”
The good news for Fowler is that he knows where he’ll be playing college football. The bad news is that he has to wait a while to officially join the Panthers program but he’s counting the days until that happens.
“I’m very excited. Having seen the team practice, seeing all the good stuff that’s happening with them, seeing the hype videos on Twitter, Pitt just seems very special and there’s a real chance something great is happening there. They’re 6-1, making things happening and believe they’re going to win the ACC Championship. I’m just very excited to see how things unfold for them.”