A strong offensive line is critical to any teams success and on Saturday, Pitt hosted three players that they very much want to be the nucleus of their future line.
Pitt 2022 commit 4-star offensive tackle Ryan Baer was at Heinz Field along with two highly rated lineman that hold offers from Pitt- 2023 4-star offensive lineman Cole Dellinger and 2024 offensive tackle Fletcher Westphal.
Westphal (6-foot-8, 320 pounds) is from Leesburg, Virginia and is considered one of the top sophomore offensive tackles in the country. At this point, Westphal holds offers from Penn State, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Old Dominion and Pitt.
National Recruiting Analyst Tom Lemming has this description of Westphal:
“No doubt one of the top LT prospects in the Class of 2024. Super impressive size, foot work, length, wing span and technique. Still working on his strength but has enormous potential. National recruit.”
Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up with Westphal on Sunday after arriving back home and got his impressions of his first weekend in Pittsburgh. The Pitt coaches obviously hope that this won’t be his last visit and that he eventually makes Pittsburgh a place he calls home.
“The reason I wanted to come up and visit was that Pitt is closer to home and Pitt is just a great school overall,” said Westphal. “They have a great football program, are a great school academically and they also showed some heavy early interest in me. My first impression of the school after my visit was that I really liked Heinz Field, a place that the Steelers play in too. To have the opportunity to play in an NFL stadium, at the college level, that’s a huge deal.”
“I was also impressed with the gameday environment. We had already bought tickets so we ended up sitting in our seats because they were closer to the field but it wasn’t where the other recruits were. We we had that true gameday environment of how all the fans were and it was insane.”
This was Westphal’s first opportunity to be around the Pitt program as he had to be around the coaches and players, toured the facilities and spoke with members of the team. I asked him what’s going to be something that sticks with him from this past weekend.
“Probably, the player interaction with each other and how the players on both sides of the ball were flying around the field,” said Westphal. “I’m really looking for that on both sides of the field. I’ve seen Virginia now twice and now I watched Pitt and they were really flying around. That was one of the best games that I’ve been to, you can just see how hard and fast they play and how they’re all playing for each other. That game was really cool. UVA was No. 2 in the ACC and Pitt was No. 1 playing against each other. Watching them play their heart out, everything was on the line, it was just a fantastic game and environment to be at.”
Prior to the game, Westphal was on the field watching warmups and had the opportunity to speak with members of the Pitt staff along with one of the marquee members of Pitt’s Class of 2022.
“I spent time with Ryan (Baer), one of Pitt’s 2022 commits. A lot of our conversation that I was having with him was about the recruiting process. You can try and learn everything you can from your coach but when you have the chance to actually talk with someone that’s actually gone through the recruiting process and that’s in your age group, that’s something that’s completely different. You get to hear and learn so many more things. He was talking to me about things that helped him and why he picked Pitt. Especially from his parents perspective, at the beginning they didn’t care where he goes to. He (Baer) said that the football from any of the schools will work itself out but you have to remember about the academics too and that’s why they picked Pitt, because they have tremendous academics and the football there is amazing as well.”
Westphal is only a sophomore, so a college decision isn’t likely in the near future, but the Pitt program did nothing but help themselves with when it comes to this talented, priority future target.