As Charlie Partridge led Pitt’s defensive line room through a typical meeting Tuesday, there was an unfamiliar face sitting in.
Alongside guys like Calijah Kancey, Habakkuk Baldonado, Dayon Hayes and Deslin Alexander, 2024 defensive end Brian Robinson sat in the corner with his notebook out and his pen ready. While he perhaps isn’t familiar, he wasn’t exactly out of place. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, the high school sophomore is well on his way toward stardom in college football.
Robinson, an edge rusher out of Austintown-Fitch High School in Youngstown, Ohio, visited Pitt Tuesday, attending practice and getting a look around the South Side facility and the encompassing areas. In getting to interact with Partridge and bond with Pitt’s defensive line room, Pitt truly stood out as a leader for the fast-rising 2024 recruit.
“It felt great, I got to take notes with the team,” Robinson told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “You know, (Partridge) even asked me a couple of questions, like, do I understand? It was fast-paced, and that’s what I love because he’s gonna point out who’s really studying their books. If you ain’t studying that playbook, you gonna know. You got a five second limit, and it ain’t even really five seconds, it’s three, which I love him for that. If you can’t answer, it’s on to the next person, there’s no time to waste.”
With the chance to watch Pitt’s fourth spring practice of 2022 Tuesday morning, Robinson and his family made the trip out to Pittsburgh, and it was an experience that really made an impression through Robinson’s early days as a 2024 recruit.
“It was great,” Robinson said. “I got to speak to some of the players, we saw the Steelers and Pitt and how they split everything and then the fields in the back, the weight room was beautiful, I love it. And then the nutritionist, I couldn’t thank them enough.”
Robinson is coming off a sophomore season at Austintown-Fitch in which it was clear that he’s bigger and stronger than his opponents, but he used his pursuit speed and above-average strength to make an impact off the edge — along with legitimate special teams impact and occasional tight end contributions.
With offers from Toledo and Kentucky and visits to Miami (Oh.) and Cincinnati already this spring, and future visits planned for Penn State, West Virginia and Ohio State, Robinson is one of the top-rising recruits in the 2024 class, but Pitt immediately stood out.
A self-proclaimed Pitt fan, Robinson said his contact with Partridge, Pat Narduzzi and recruiting analyst R.J. Goodwin made him feel very welcomed during his unofficial visit, but it was Partridge that really stood out.
“(Partridge and I) had a great conversation,” Robinson said. “He wants me to come up to some camps, spring practices. So, like, I love ’em, his energy. And then coach R.J., he made me feel at home when I went up. Showing me around and everything.”
Partridge’s experience as one of the best coaches in college football speaks for itself, Robinson said, but the relationship built between the pair is exciting. It’s like two peas in a pod, and Robinson said his relationship with Partridge is off to an amazing start. While there hasn’t been an offer yet, he feels like it’s only a matter of time. After all, Partridge wants Robinson back at Pitt in the weeks and months to come.
As a 2024 recruit, with two full high school seasons still in the works, Robinson has a ways to go before he really even needs to consider his college decision. His chase will continue to pick up in the months and even years to come, but he’s appreciated the early phases all the same.
“It’s been great. I can’t complain, blessed to receive these offers,” Robinson said. “I don’t feel like it’s a lot to take on, it’s another blessing in life like I’m getting the opportunity most ain’t getting. I won’t take it for granted.”
Even in the early days, with offers from SEC and MAC schools and interest from countless Group of Five and Power Five schools, Robinson said his Pitt visit cemented Pitt at the top of his board in the early going.
“At the top,” Robinson said about Pitt. “I have offers, I recently got offered by Kentucky, but Pitt’s still at the top.”
247Sports and Rivals haven’t yet rated Robinson on their official big boards, but it’s only a matter of time before the talented 2024 recruit begins to rise the ranks as a top-ranked recruit from Ohio and top-ranked three-to-four-star recruit in the class.
Pitt is known to recruit and produce top-ranked defensive line talent, and while Robinson has flashed across offense, defense and special teams during his time at Austintown-Fitch, he’s destined for defensive end at the next level, and a four-year stint at Pitt could go a long way in producing a potential NFL-level talent.