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Pitt FB Recruiting

Winning, Stability Fortify Pitt’s Brand in Times of Instability Across College Football

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If you ask a potential college football recruit why they want to play college football, the answer will likely vary from person to person — even before the lure of NILs across the nation. Some want to win, some want to build lasting relationships and some want to be groomed for the jump to the NFL.

Pitt has landed some recruits that were nationally sought-after (Tyler Boyd, Jordan Addison, Elliot Donald) in recent seasons and turned underrated recruits (Kenny Pickett, Aaron Donald, Brian O’Neill) into — potential, in some cases — stud NFL players. However, Pitt hasn’t been able to lure the top-rated recruits to Pitt on a consistent basis.

Pitt’s 2022 ACC championship came in large part because of Pat Narduzzi and his coaching staff’s keen eye for evaluating, securing and developing underrated talent around the country. With that seal broken, the floodgates have opened through Pitt’s spring practices.

But what if a recruit wants to win, build lasting relationships and be groomed for the NFL all at the same time? Pitt may be trending toward the answer.

With 10 practices since spring practices began at the end of February, including a couple of key weekend scrimmage days, Pitt has secured some elite talent on visits to the facilities or strong footholds in the recruiting process.

And despite having so many guys with legitimate ties to Pitt already, this is just the list of recruits that have either visited so far this spring or identified Pitt as a key player. There are more 2023, 2024 and 2025 recruits that will continue to build bonds with in the coming weeks, months and years, but it wouldn’t be possible without Pitt’s success in 2021.

“We really have,” Narduzzi said about using winning to an advantage on the recruiting trail. “The last two Saturdays, we’ve had a ton of prospects here. And we rate our prospects, we’ve had some really good ones, the highest-rated that you can have. We’ve had a bunch of them the past two weeks, to the point where, since I’ve been here, every Saturday after I scrimmage I might meet with one or two kids and I go get to watch the scrimmage tape. … The last two Saturdays, I’ve met late into the afternoon or into the evening.”

However, despite the uptick in nationally-touted recruits making their way to Pitt, it hasn’t changed Narduzzi’s approach to the process that’s paid off so far. In fact, if it continues at the current rate, it should only help to elevate Pitt’s national brand and incoming recruits.

“We’re still looking for the best players, and we’ve always gone after the best players, but now some of the best players are saying, ‘Hey, let me go check out Pitt. I like what’s going on there.’ And I think once they get here, they go, ‘Wow, I love that place.’ That’s the thing, going through recruiting when we bring it guys for official visits, we’re getting three out of four. … It’s definitely changed.”

With a small yet talented 2022 recruiting class, one held back by players returning for one last season due to Covid-19, Pitt’s 2023 recruiting class is expected to be perhaps Narduzzi’s best yet. And the early returns have done nothing but support that thought process. Narduzzi is staying at Pitt for years to come, and it could be the start of something serious in the ACC.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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