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Pitt FB Recruiting

Jahsear Whittington’s Early Commitment Put into Context Over Last 10 Seasons

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A lot can and will happen between the time a recruit commits and officially puts the pen to paper but with four-star defensive lineman Jahsear Whittington pledging himself to Pitt Monday night, he set the table for a strong 2024 class.

Early Signing Day for Whittington will not come until December of 2023, roughly 21 months away, so his commitment comes nearly two years before he can even make it official and subsequently enroll at Pitt. It shows his trust in Pitt, and also just how far off his signing day is.

Dating back to 2014, 10 years before Whittington’s 2024 class, he would be the earliest commit to sign since.

2014 – Connor Hayes, April 30, 2013

Conner Hayes was the first commit in Pitt’s class of 2014, officially signing with Pitt about 11 months after committing.

The three-star guard out of Traverse City, Michigan wasn’t able to make much of an impact at Pitt.

2015 – Alex Paulina, Jan. 18, 2014

Alex Paulina signed with Pitt in February of 2015, just over a year after he officially committed to Pitt on Jan. 18, 2014.

The three-star guard from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania redshirted as a freshman and eventually transferred to Waynesburg.

2016 – Brandon Ford, March 22, 2015

Brandon Ford committed to Pitt on March 22, 2015, and signed just about 10 months later on Feb. 3, 2016.

Ford, a three-star tackle from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania would spend his career at Pitt as a reserve offensive lineman and special teamer, being named to the Hampshire Honor Society by the National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame.

2017 – Paris Ford, Oct. 16, 2015

Paris Ford was a very early commit to Pitt’s class of 2017, pledging himself on Oct. 16, 2015, nearly a year and a half before officially signing on Feb. 1, 2017.

The four-star safety out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania turned into an All-ACC, All-American safety at Pitt, and he’s currently in the USFL. Ford recorded 136 tackles (89 solo), 5.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions, 10 passes defended, three forced fumbles and a touchdown in 23 games.

2018 – Nick Patti, May 10, 2017

Nick Patti has been a Pitt commit since May 10, 2017, about seven months before he officially signed with Pitt on Dec. 20, 2017.

A three-star quarterback out of Montvale, New Jersey, Patti has spent his time at Pitt largely as a backup behind Kenny Pickett, but he’s competing for the starting spot with Kedon Slovis this spring.

2019 – Leslie Smith, June 10, 2018

Leslie Smith came as Pitt’s late first signing in the 2019 cycle, officially committing on June 10, 2018, a rather late addition as Pitt’s first commit — signing half a year later on Dec. 19, 2018.

Smith, a three-star linebacker out of Miami, Florida, played in a reserve role at Pitt over the last three seasons and entered the transfer portal at the end of last season.

2020 – Sam Williams, April 6, 2019

Sam Williams pledged himself to Pitt on April 6, 2019, becoming Pitt’s first commit in the class of 2020 in the process. He would later sign eight months later on Dec. 18, 2019. 

Williams, a three-star defensive end out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hasn’t played during either of his two seasons at Pitt.  

2021 – Nahki Johnson, June 25, 2019

Nahki Johnson kicked off Pitt’s class of 2021 very early, all the way back in June of 2019. He’s the closest example of Whittington’s commitment, just roughly two months ahead of him at the same point in their recruitments.

A three-star defensive end out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Johnson preserved his redshirt last season, but he’s primed for a strong Pitt career. With 30 pounds added to his frame, he’s the future on the edge in Pitt’s defense.

2022 – Sean FitzSimmons, April 19, 2021

Sean FitzSimmons, another hometown kid, was Pitt’s first commit in the class of 2022. He pledged himself on April 19, 2021, almost a year to the day, and he officially signed on Dec. 15, 2021.

FitzSimmons, a three-star defensive tackle from Monaca, Pennsylvania, enrolled early at Pitt in January and has impressed the coaching staff throughout the spring.

2023 – Zion Fowler, Oct. 26, 2021

Zion Fowler is another very early commit, pledging himself on Oct. 26, 2021, but he’s the first commit on the list that hasn’t officially signed with Pitt yet.

Fowler, a three-star wide receiver out of Jersey City, New Jersey, won’t be able to sign until December, but he’s impressed on the hardwood over the winter and should be in line for a strong senior season on the gridiron.

2024 – Jahsear Whittington, April 18, 2022

And we’ve arrived at Whittington. Whittington is very, very early in his process, but he’s already chosen Pitt. He’ll be the earliest Pitt commit to sign if that holds, and Pitt’s very early commits (Ford and Johnson) have strong early returns.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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