Recruiting can be looked at the same way as beauty, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Some players are just better fits and have the opportunity to succeed in certain programs more so than in others
Attempting to pursue four and five-star talent doesn’t necessarily make you a great evaluator of talent. Having the conviction to recruit and be the first program to extend an offer to a player that isn’t getting a ton of attention can be risky. However, establishing a track record of being able to hit and getting in early or first on these “diamond in the rough” does show your eye for talent and earns you a reputation of a good recruiter.
During the Pat Narduzzi era, Pitt has done a tremendous job identifying under-recruited players, developing them to have solid college careers and in some cases, taking their skills to the NFL.
Here are just some of the examples to prove this point, via Rivals rankings:
Cornerback Dane Jackson– Two-star recruit. Pitt was his only Power Five offer. Drafted by and playing with the Buffalo Bills.
Defensive end Patrick Jones– Two-star recruit. Developed into a first-team All-ACC player and was a fourth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings.
Defensive end Rashad Weaver– Two-star recruit. Dropped by Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. Developed into first-team All-ACC player and was a fourth round pick of the Tennessee Titans.
Cornerback Jason Pinnock– Pitt was one of two Power Five offers he held. Drafted by NY Jets in fifth round.
Over the final three weeks of the 2021 season, Jason Pinnock was PFF’s 4th highest graded Safety (80.7) 👀 pic.twitter.com/rYKkoiUVQG
— PFF NY Jets (@PFF_Jets) January 18, 2022
Quarterback Kenny Pickett- Was committed to Temple before Tim Salem and Narduzzi got him to flip his committed to Pitt. The rest is history as he’s on his way to becoming a first-round pick.
Linebacker Sirocea Dennis– Two-star recruit, was committed to Air Force before Pitt became the only Power Five team to offer him. Arguably, Dennis has been Pitt’s best linebacker the past two seasons and is primed to have a big junior season.
I could continue listing names, but I think you get the point. The Pitt staff is very good at identifying talent that might not receive the headlines or be highly ranked by the national recruiting services, but that they believe have the opportunity to excel in their offensive and defensive systems.
The reason I’m bringing this up is that as PSN tracks the offers that Pitt extends on a daily basis and we’re seeing a lot of these types of players. The Panthers are becoming either the first Division I offer for certain players or the first Power Five team to offer. Here are some players that fit that description that received Pitt offers this week.
2023 defensive end Isaiah Nixon (St. Petersburg, Florida): First Power Five offer
2024 defensive end Elias Rudolph (Cincinnati, Ohio): First Power Five offer
2024 defensive end Jordan Thomas (Ramsey, New Jersey): Second Division I offer.
2023 defensive back Shadarian Harrison (Polk County, Florida): First Division I offer.
2023 defensive end Tyree Weathersby (Douglasville, Georgia): First Division I offer.
2024 defensive back Hyajah Miller (Polk County, Florida): First Division I offer.
2023 tight end/defensive end Maverick Gracio (West Palm Beach, Florida): Second Power Five offer.
2023 athlete Vinkevus Pierre (West Palm Beach, Florida): First Division I offer.
2023 running back Keyjuan Brown (Atlanta, Georgia): First Power Five offer.
2025 running back Ziaire Stevens (Akron, Ohio): First Division I offer.
2023 defensive end Kerrington Lee (West Palm Beach, Florida): Second Power Five offer.
2024 defensive end Joshua Lloyd (Dillard High School, Florida): Second Power Five offer.
2023 wide receiver Tastean Reddicks (Dillard High School, Florida): Second Power Five offer.
2023 defensive end Steven Curtis (Dwyer High School, Florida): First Division I offer
2024 wide receiver Korey Duff (Melville, New York): Second Power Five offer.
2023 inside linebacker Rashad Henry (Miami, Florida): First Power Five offer.
2024 athlete Josiah Brown (Hicksville, New York): Second Power Five offer.