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Pitt FB Recruiting

2025 Texas QB Max Gerlich Has Pitt Connections, and Now He Has a Pitt Offer

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When Bobby Acosta coached IMG Academy to a national championship in 2020, he had a pair of four-star quarterbacks that he inherited. However, he didn’t feel like either quarterback had that ‘It’ factor that leads to success, so he cast a wider net. He looked outside the program and noticed JJ McCarthy in Illinois.

McCarthy transferred to IMG from La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth Academy and he led IMG to an unbeaten 8-0 season in 2020 — capped with that national title. The five-star recruit committed to Michigan, and Acosta left for Del Valle High School, southeast of Austin, Texas.

However, in Acosta’s time at IMG, he was able to recognize and evaluate top quarterback recruits. Ryan Downes picked up an offer from Illinois as an eighth grader, and McCarthy grew into one of the most sought-after quarterbacks in the country. Acosta coached some of the best high schoolers in the country at IMG, and yet his new starting quarterback Max Gerlich stands out.

Gerlich, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback recruit from the class of 2025, started as Del Valle’s junior varsity quarterback in 2021. Acosta had two seniors vying for the starting spot and didn’t want to disrupt the team chemistry, but Gerlich has that ‘It’ factor that Acosta is searching for.

If McCarthy had gone down for IMG in 2020, and Gerlich had been there, he’d have been a serious consideration to leap into action.

When PSN spoke to Acosta Saturday, he was in-between 7-on-7 competition in Pflugerville, Texas, attempting to qualify for the state tournament later this summer, and Acosta had just watched Gerlich toss four touchdowns in a win — calling the offense himself. To say he’s mature for his age would be a gross understatement.

Acosta has held a relationship with Pitt’s coaching staff for a while, most recently landing former IMG quarterback-turned-tight end Jake Renda at Pitt, so he’s very familiar with Pat Narduzzi’s staff at Pitt. Acosta was able to make it up to Pittsburgh for a spring practice earlier this year, getting to spend some time with Renda at Pitt’s facilities, and he’s seen how Renda has grown at Pitt. He’s also seen how Pitt is on that upward trajectory.

Acosta has spoken to his team at Del Valle about Pitt for a while now, Gerlich especially, and it’s led to a certain level of familiarity. He’s shared his stories about his time at Syracuse as a positional coach, trying to recruit Kenny Pickett, and he’s also shown Gerlich the fake slide that earned its own rule.

“So, I think they came in and started to have text messages with me about him,” Acosta said. “I said to Max, ‘That’s your first Power Five offer.’ Usually, that means a lot and there’s some loyalty there. So, Max says, ‘Coach, if they stick with me for the next couple of years, that could be the spot.'”

Assistant quarterback coach Jon DiBiaso, along with Narduzzi himself, offered Gerlich officially, coming off seeing him compete at practice. Acosta began with sending Gerlich’s film to Pitt, Pitt wanted more — wanted to some live film — and Acosta was able to FaceTime the Pitt coaching staff. Gerlich took the phone from Acosta after practice, spoke with DiBiaso and Narduzzi and he left the office with an official offer to Pitt.

After previously receiving an offer from UTSA, Pitt was Gerlich’s first Power Five offer. And Acosta, who has evaluated his fair share of quarterbacks at the high school and college level,

“(Gerlich is) gonna be one of the top quarterbacks in the state of Texas, and I’m so happy, I love what Narduzzi is doing with the program there, I’m a big fan, and I think he’ll be a huge fit by the time he becomes a senior,” Acosta said.

Acosta has built that bond with Pitt, working with Pitt tight ends coach Tim Salem to secure Jake Renda out of IMG Academy in 2021, and with that trust in taking on a high school commit who had just made the switch to the position, he feels like he owes his best to Pitt in delivering a top quarterback.

“Just understanding how to evaluate high school talent, Narduzzi and Tim (Salem) and the entire staff putting that trust in me, I’m gonna deliver a top notch quarterback to that program,” Acosta said. “But what I said to Narduzzi, I’m not just gonna deliver you a quarterback, I’m going to deliver you a young man with high character. That program there is just going to flourish from now until you get a quarterback like Max.”

Acosta, who recruited Kenny Pickett out of high school as Syracuse’s wide receivers coach, has seen how Pitt has benefited and Syracuse has suffered in the wake of Pitt’s acquisition. In looking at Gerlich, Acosta sees a lot of the same traits that he admired in Pickett when recruiting him.

“The moxie,” Acosta said. “And that’s where the leadership — I was showing Max the fake slide, and I’m like now there’s a rule because of that. Just the leadership and the confidence, but what I saw in Pickett when he was in high school is the same things I see in Max right now.

“(Gerlich) has the ‘It’ factor. One of my core values for a quarterback is competitive greatness. You have it or you don’t have it. Kenny had that in high school, he was so competitive, and looking at Max now, looking at JJ McCarthy, that’s a skill where you have it or don’t have it.”

Gerlich is a rising sophomore quarterback, who at 6-foot-3, is expected to grow a few more inches. With an uncle who is 6-foot-6, Gerlich could grow as tall himself. He’s played in an RPO system, having to make those instinctive decisions himself, and he’s — above all else — a remarkably smart kid.

“You know what his biggest trait is?” Acosta asked. “He can teach the teacher. He can teach me the offense right now as a freshman.” And with a 5.1 GPA at Del Valle, that intelligence carries over to the classroom.

If Gerlich reaches his potential and ascends to a top quarterback in Texas in the class of 2025, Pitt will be fortunate to have jumped in early and created a bond with him. It’s a long road for Gerlich, but Pitt is in a strong early position for one of the top quarterbacks of the future.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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SRS
SRS
19 days ago

How Large are his hands though? Instead of height/weight these Articles should get the Critical hand measurement too.

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