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Pitt FB Recruiting

Kenny Minchey Was Made for the Steel City: How Pitt’s 4-Star QB Commit Rose to Prominence



Justin Geisinger might be the head coach at John Paul Jones II in Hendersonville, Tennessee, soon to be head coach at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, but he’s a Pittsburgh man through and through.

Geisinger was born and raised in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh, and he knows what it’s like to embody the culture and spirit that permeates a football city like Pittsburgh. And John Paul Jones II quarterback Kenny Minchey has that Steel City feel about him.

Minchey, a 2023 four-star quarterback recruit, now embodies more than just the spirit of Pittsburgh. After officially committing to Pitt Saturday, securing himself as Pitt’s quarterback of the future, Geisinger has seen how Minchey has embodied what it means to be a football player in the Steel City.

“I think he has some blue-collar instincts and mentality to him, he’s got that heart, grind-it-out attitude,” Geisinger told PSN. “He knows nothing is going to come easy to him, he knows he has to work for it, and that’s what he had to do in our school — he hit adversity not really getting a chance to prove himself to nobody’s fault through Covid, stuck it out, but when his opportunity presented itself to him, he took full advantage of it and never come off the field from there.”

Geisinger spent three seasons as Minchey’s head coach, watching him play middle school football even before that, and it was clear that Minchey was going to be a special player. Minchey was a JV star as a freshman, and he entered his sophomore season behind a senior starter and in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even as a freshman entering his sophomore season, Geisinger could see that Minchey had all the tools. He was big, strong and smart, even without taking virtually any live reps because of the disruptions caused by Covid, but he had a lot to learn in integrating into John Paul Jones II’s offense as far as pre-snap, post-snap actions.

“The senior in front of him ended up winning the job going into the season, and you never saw him complain,” Geisinger said. “If you watch our practice film, you just see him as a young sophomore in the back, not getting a ton of reps in practice because he’s not our guy, but back there taking snap, taking every signal and read back there on air. Fast forward a few weeks into the season, our starter gets injured, Kenny steps in and never looks back, never comes out.”

When incumbent starter Sawyer Watts went down against Christian Brothers in Minchey’s sophomore season, just a month into the season, he entered the game and threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 13-of-18 passing attempts.

Minchey took the reins and finished his sophomore campaign with 1,164 yards and 10 touchdowns to just one interception on 85-of-134 passing attempts. Geisinger and the coaching staff really challenged Minchey, and all of the quarterbacks, running a complex system, and he credited Minchey’s maturity in being able to make that leap.

As a junior, Minchey threw for 3,280 yards and 32 touchdowns to just nine interceptions on 215-of-351 passing attempts.

“He’s a special kid, a special player as far as a physical standpoint, he’s been able to make every collegiate level throw for years now,” Geisinger said. “Has solid arm strength, the ability to see the field really well and make really good decisions. And he runs, he’s a big kid, he’s close to 210 pounds. He’s strong; he’s a big weight room kid too. He loves the weight room and loves to train.”

But while Minchey possesses a wealth of physical tools in a 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame, it’s the mentality and desire to be the best that Geisinger said separates him from being a good high school quarterback and an elite college quarterback.

“Kenny and I have had talks these past couple of years because he’s had aspirations for himself to play high-level FBS football and be a star player at the next level,” Geisinger said. “And that’s what we had talked about because we knew he had the physical skill set from a young age, and we knew that was going to come, but what we really talked about was what was going to separate the good quarterbacks from the elite quarterbacks was going to be his ability to command a team, command an offense and the ability to lead by example on and off the field.”

That penchant for leading, leading by example, extends off the football field into everything Minchey does. Whether it’s in the classroom, where he’s an excellent student, or outside of school with his friends.

And when Pitt first started showing interest, the Steel City vibes — the ability to continually grow as a person and a player — were immediate draws. College from all over the country reached out to Minchey, including Houston, Michigan State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia with offers, but he was never a recruit with a dream destination.

Geisinger said that Minchey wanted to do his homework, get on campuses for unofficial visits and find the right fit for himself as a person and a player. And Pitt offered the chance for both.

“He felt a connection there when he went there, and coach (Frank) Cignetti came out to visit this past week, got to talk to him a little bit further, a little bit more at length, and I think that next morning, he got on the phone with coach Narduzzi and the group and made the decision to pull the trigger,” Geisinger said.

Minchey and Geisinger talked the day after Cignetti’s visit to John Paul Jones II, and he more or less knew that Pitt was it. He still needed to talk with his parents about the decision, but his mind was made up. Minchey called Pat Narduzzi the next day to announce his decision.

The decision to commit now, ahead of the summer, was a big one in order to get to spend a summer preparing for his senior season. With a huge weight off his shoulders, as Geisinger said, Minchey can get back into the weight room, continue to build rapport with his offense and enter his senior season on a high.

John Paul Jones II didn’t always have the best teams over the past two seasons, playing in Tennessee’s Division II-AAA East, but with Minchey on the field, Geisinger always felt like there was a chance to win. With the desire to be the best, Minchey has always put the work in.

With one more season to develop at the high school level, Geisinger wouldn’t be surprised if Minchey is able to arrive Day 1 and compete for the starting gig.

“You’re gonna see a total package as far as a person,” Geisinger said. “One, you’re gonna see just a great, young man that has a really solid head on his shoulders, that understands what his priorities are. He loves the game of football, he’s passionate about it, he’s a film junkie, you look at the amount of tape he watched, anyone moment that he could get in to study tape and find tendencies and find something going into that week to give him an advantage, he was going to find it.”

While Geisinger will not be coaching at John Paul Jones II in 2022, it was a player like Minchey that made it a very, very difficult decision to leave. He’s never had a player like Minchey and expects he never will again.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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5 months ago

If he has a good senior year it’s hard not to get the feeling that some other school will pay for him.
It sucks to have that feeling every time I hear pitt wins a recruiting battle


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