Charlie Partridge, Pitt associate head coach and defensive line coach, has built a reputation as an ace recruiter in Florida. And with former Cardinal Gibbons stars Vincent Davis and Marquis Williams at Pitt now, he was a key factor in landing both.
Jesse Anderson, a 2023 three-star athlete from Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is not only seeing firsthand how Partridge was able to secure both at Pitt but how the former Cardinal Gibbons stars have been able to adjust to life and football in Pittsburgh.
“It was just great, in general, to be able to see that (Davis and Williams are) comfortable up there with the Pittsburgh players and coaches,” Anderson told PSN. “And for them to come from where I come from, it shows that I can do the same.”
With Anderson and his family in Pittsburgh for a visit on Saturday, getting the red carpet rolled out throughout the day. Anderson was greeted by Pitt upon arrival and was able to grab a bite to eat while watching practice. He was able to break down film with Archie Collins and Cory Sanders, Pitt’s cornerbacks and safeties coach, sit in on team meetings and get to interact with Pitt’s players — including the Cardinal Gibbons alumni.
“The feel, just being able to watch the practice and see the players go get it,” Anderson said. “And meet the head coach, coach Narduzzi, and my position coaches. They played with me good, we had great conversations about film and breaking it down.”
It was Anderson’s first visit to Pitt, and it made a strong impression on the athlete with offers from Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Marshall, Maryland, North Carolina State, South Florida, Wake Forest and Pitt.
With the first contact between Anderson and Pitt starting back in December, it’s been a steady build between the two sides — with Anderson starting with Partridge and gravitating toward his eventual positional coaches.
“It started off with getting recruited by coach Partridge and then it went over to coach Sanders,” Anderson said. “Great coach, great guy, great DB coach. Just built a bond, created a relationship and it’s been clicking ever since.”
While the 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete is listed as an athlete on 247Sports and Rivals, Anderson said he’s flexible. If a college coach wants him a certain spot, he’s not going to fight it.
“It depends on whoever wants me,” Anderson said. “Like, I don’t care where I play, you know, I just want to play. So, if they recruit me at receiver, then I’ll be on the field as a receiver. If they recruit me at safety or DB, then that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Anderson is currently leaning toward defensive back at Pitt, either safety or cornerback, and with local Florida guys like Williams and P.J. O’Brien already playing in Pittsburgh, Anderson has been able to see the blueprint.
As a junior at Cardinal Gibbons last season, Anderson hauled in a team-leading 39 receptions for 506 yards and four touchdowns on offense while racking up 28 tackles (15 solo), a tackle for loss, an interception, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt on defense.
With the way Pitt’s coaches and players interact, having seen practice firsthand, Anderson said he could see himself playing in Pitt’s defense — with Pitt for sure having made an early impact.
Anderson has visits to Louisville and Maryland on the books in the future, but he’s planning an official visit back to Pittsburgh at some point in June.
Whether a wide receiver or defensive back at the college level, with Anderson having flashed his potential at both positions while at Cardinal Gibbons already, Pitt has established an early connection in Anderson’s recruiting process. As the process unfolds for Anderson, it appears that Pitt will continue to be a consideration.