Pitt’s 2021 success led to current college football players gambling their future on Pitt, but will it lead to high schoolers doing the same?
Kedon Slovis and Konata Mumpfield weren’t exactly heavyweights out of high school, but both have excelled during their collegiate careers prior to Pitt. Shayne Simon was extremely highly rated out of high school, and despite not having much of a college resume, he’s going to be expected to contribute in a big way at Pitt.
It’s an immediate boost in positions that need it, and a position that only gets stronger — an ACC-leading wide receivers corps that gets even better next season. With a heavy dose of transfers, the 10th-ranked transfer class in the nation, according to 247Sports, and some key contributors returning for a COVID-season, Pitt’s 2022 recruiting class wasn’t highly ranked.
It’s a class that’s full of potential, and potential early contributors in guys like lineman Ryan Baer and wide receiver Addison Copeland, but the 65th-ranked national recruiting class doesn’t inspire a lot of excitement.
Pitt nabbed defensive tackle Sean FitzSimmons from Central Valley in its 2022 class, but he was the only WPIAL and in-state signee.
The 2023 class from Pennsylvania is loaded with high-caliber talent, and the WPIAL is well-represented. Pitt would do well to land some of the top talent not just in the next class but over the next couple of seasons.
Laurel Highlands’ Rodney Gallagher and Brashear’s Ta’Mere Robinson are the class of the WPIAL in 2023, with Gallagher rated as the 81st-ranked recruit in the class and Robinson rated as the 131st-ranked recruit.
Both recruits have been heavily recruited by Pitt in the process, and Gallagher’s close relationship with then-wide receivers coach Brennan Marion is casting some doubt on Pitt’s hopeful chances, but it goes deeper than just the top of the class.
Chartiers Valley’s Lamont Payne has already committed to Penn State, locking up a top-ranked recruit in the state in 2023, but Robinson’s Brashear teammate Kameron Cheatom is another solid Western Pennsylvania recruit.
Belle Vernon’s Quinton Martin is already rated as a four-star athlete by 247Sports, and with 10 offers already, he’ll be one of the most highly regarded recruits in the cycle. Central Catholic’s Anthony Speca, a 247Sports’ Notre Dame lean already, is a rangy linebacker who should be one of the top recruits in the class of 2024.
Pitt has already offered WPIAL record-breaker Tiqwai Hayes, a 2025 running back from Aliquippa, and after his historic freshman season, he should emerge as one of the top recruits in the country in a few seasons.
Extending outside the WPIAL a bit, Pitt was the first to offer Jven Williams, a 2023 four-star offensive lineman from Wyomissing High School, and the top-ranked junior even made a visit out to Pitt for the first time over the weekend.
Pitt has landed top WPIAL talent like Jordan Whitehead, Damar Hamlin, Paris Ford, Dayon Hayes, Elliot Donald and Nahki Johnson since 2015, but Penn State has snuck in and nabbed top recruits along the way — in addition to dominating Pennsylvania as a whole — and Notre Dame has established a presence in the area too.
Penn State is likely already the favorite for Gallagher and Robinson, and Hayes has been to State College already. Speca is a Notre Dame lean, as Central Catholic has been a pipeline for the Irish in recent years, and Martin has attended Penn State’s Junior Day and picked up an offer from Notre Dame.
Pitt isn’t going to be a major player in recruiting, but if there’s ever a time to make a push for the top talent in its own backyard, the next handful of years will have plenty of opportunities to keep top talent home.
It’s not vital to “win” the WPIAL recruiting battle in the coming seasons, but Pitt would do well to secure the top talent in the area.