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Pitt FB Recruiting

Top 2023 Recruits to Name Pitt Among Their Finalists and Pitt’s Standing

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Jermaine Mathews

Zion Fowler remains the lone commit in Pitt’s class of 2023, an underrated wide receiver with highlight-reel athleticism from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, and Jahsear Whittington’s early commit gives Pitt a foundational piece to build its 2024 class.

Barring any surprise commitments in the days to come, who could join Fowler in pledging themselves to Pitt’s class of 2023? Three-star athlete Braedyn Moore committed to Cincinnati Wednesday, taking a Pitt target off the board, but there are still a handful of strong recruits that have named Pitt to their lists of finalists.

Desmond Umeozulu — four-star defensive end from Charles Herbert Flowers in Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Umeozulu (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) is one of the top recruits in the 2023 cycle. The elite edge rusher from Maryland narrowed his 36 offers to just Ohio State, North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Penn State, Texas, South Carolina, Maryland and Pitt.

So… not much. It’ll be tough to land Umeozulu obviously, and if Pitt is able to land him on an official visit, that could the difference for a recruit who was impressed by his first unofficial in Pittsburgh.

“The visit to Pitt was definitely something different,” Umeozulu told PSN after his spring visit. “I really didn’t expect what I got from Pitt. I hung out with some of the players, and we chopped it up. They were really good to me and gave me a really good tour around. It was definitely different in a good way.

“Pitt was just a real family structured program. Coach Narduzzi reminds me so much of my high school coach with his values and everything. Like church, religion, when you believe in something you have to advocate for it, little stuff like that.”

247Sports rates him as the 121st-ranked recruit in the cycle (11th-ranked edge rusher and second-ranked recruit from Maryland) while Rivals rates him as the 173rd-ranked recruit in the cycle (eighth-ranked weakside defensive end and the second-ranked recruit from Maryland).

Neither 247Sports nor Rivals has projected Umeozulu yet.

Amir Herring — four-star offensive lineman from West Bloomfield in West Bloomfield, Michigan

Herring (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) is another very highly touted recruit in the cycle, and he narrowed his extensive offer sheet to just Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Boston College, Penn State, Cincinnati and Pitt.

In an appearance with Rivals’ Clint Cosgrove, Herring outlined why Pitt made the cut.

“Pittsburgh, coach Pat Narduzzi, coach Borbely and coach Archie Collins have been doing a great job recruiting me,” Herring told Cosgrove. “They do a really good job recruiting this area also. So that’s just hats off to them.

“You get to see the experiences, when I was at Pitt, just seeing the experience of sharing a facility with an NFL team was definitely different from other college football programs, I would say,” Herring said. “But the overall experience there, it was a home environment. Just seeing what it takes … You see what it takes every day from the NFL guys.”

247Sports rates Herring as the 10th-ranked interior offensive lineman and third-ranked recruit from Michigan while Rivals rates him as the 13th-ranked guard and the seventh-ranked recruit from Michigan.

Both 247Sports and Rivals currently project Herring to commit to hometown Michigan.

Jameial Lyons — four-star defensive end from Roman Catholic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lyons (6-foot-4, 245 pounds) named a Final Five of West Virginia, Penn State, Illinois, Cincinnati and Pitt, and despite a visit to Pittsburgh in April after naming his Top 5, it appears Pitt has taken a step back.

“I’m interested in everything about Pitt, from their history to their culture to this day,” Lyons told PSN in March. “What made me really put Pitt in my Top 5 is the ton of talent they have put in the NFL over years and that makes me want to be a part of something special like that. Also, another thing is academics, that’s the most important part.”

247Sports rates Lyons as the 464th-ranked recruit in the cycle (25th-ranked edge rusher and the seventh-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania) while Rivals has rated him as the 35th-ranked weakside defensive end and the 19th-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania.

Both 247Sports and Rivals currently project Lyons to Penn State, and that appears to be his destination come Friday.

Jermaine Mathews — three-star cornerback from Winton Woods in Cincinnati, Ohio

Mathews (6-foot, 175 pounds) made a visit out to Pittsburgh for Pitt’s 2022 spring game, after narrowing his nearly 30 offers to just Cincinnati, Illinois, Rutgers, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Washington and Pitt, and Pitt has managed to rise even higher as a contender.

“They got a good defense,” Mathews told PSN earlier this month. “The defensive scheme is something I think I could play in, and it fits me. … I think I fit well because that’s how I play. I think my playstyle is how they play corner. Most of their corners are built like me, so it’s even better to see how they play in it and the different ways they use their corners in their defense.”

Mathews has spoken highly of Pitt since his visit at Pitt’s spring game, lauding the coaching staff and his feel for Pittsburgh, and he’d be a strong fit in Pitt’s defense as a plus-sized defensive back.

247Sports rates Mathews as the 527th-ranked recruit in the cycle (37th-ranked cornerback and the ninth-ranked recruit from Ohio) while Rivals rates him as the 69th-ranked cornerback and the 17th-ranked recruit from Ohio.

Neither 247Sports nor Rivals has projected Mathews, but he’s someone I’d watch for in Pitt’s 2023 class.

Vance Bolyard — three-star tight end from Northern Guilford in Greensboro, North Carolina

Bolyard (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) isn’t a recruit from a traditionally heavily recruit Pitt state, but the talented tight end narrowed down his 20 offers to just North Carolina, Duke, Maryland, Rutgers, Duke and Pitt.

While Bolyard hasn’t been able to visit Pitt, he’s gotten to build a strong bond with Pitt tight end coach Tim Salem, and he’s liked what he’s seen in naming Pitt as a finalist.

“I really like Coach Salem’s direct attitude towards things. He’s a very straight forward person,” Bolyard told PSN earlier this month. “I love that. I’m also very impressed with the facilities that I’ve seen in pictures. Since they share with the Steelers, everything is top-notch, which is amazing.”

247Sports rates Bolyard as the 48th-ranked tight end and the 27th-ranked recruit from North Carolina while Rivals rates him as the 33rd-ranked tight end and the 19th-ranked recruit from North Carolina.

Neither 247Sports nor Rivals has officially projected Bolyard yet.

Kamari Burns — three-star defensive lineman from Gahanna Lincoln in Columbus, Ohio

Burns (6-foot-4, 245 pounds) has taken two visits to Pitt, including a visit in March during Pitt’s spring session, to cement Pitt as a top contender for his signature — along with Cincinnati, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana.

Charlie Partridge and Ryan Manalac have built a strong bond with Burns, with Pitt giving Burns a school that’s built a legitimate bond, and his visit cemented contender status.

“What impressed me most was just how professional they were,” Burns told PSN. “Coach Partridge is very impressive and one of the best d-line coaches in the game. He talked to me about the d-line, and I really feel like I could prosper there as a defensive lineman. He liked how versatile I am and believes that I could play the 3 tech and the 5-tech. He believes that I could do well there, and I think that just shows how good he is at what he does.”

247Sports rates Burns as the 58th-rated defensive tackle and the 13th-ranked recruit from Ohio while Rivals rates him as the 20th-ranked recruit from Ohio — giving him a 5.6 Rivals Rating.

Neither 247Sports nor Rivals has officially given Burns a projection yet.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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