While Ted Hammond isn’t really thinking about which schools jumped into his recruiting chase first just yet, seeing as his recruiting process is in its early days still, that could be a factor that separates the contenders down the road.
Hammond, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive lineman from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a three-star recruit in the class of 2024. Entering May 17, he held offers from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Miami (Oh.), Temple and Vanderbilt.
It felt really good, Hammond told Pittsburgh Sports Now, to receive his first ACC offer from the reigning champions. It was a special moment.
“I don’t think about (which school is first) right now because I’m not really closing in on a decision, I’m just kind of thinking of my season this year, but next year, to know that schools have offered me and took a chance on me early is going to be a big decision and big factor on where I go,” Hammond said.
— Ted Hammond (@TedHammond14) May 18, 2022
The relationship between Pitt and Hammond dates back a few months, with St. Xavier head coach Steve Specht already knowing Pat Narduzzi and Randy Bates, and those have been the two voices in Hammond’s ear so far.
With a visit to St. Xavier from Pitt’s head coach and defensive coordinator, Hammond got that brief introduction, but it wasn’t until a great phone call with Bates on Tuesday that he officially picked up that Pitt offer.
“(Pitt) likes my physicality, my size and my speed off the ball,” Hammond said. “Me and coach Bates had a good conversation about how many defensive players they’ve had drafted. How the defensive line leads the ACC in tackles for loss, so I think those are huge factors, especially playing defensive line.”
In addition to Narduzzi and Bates, Hammond has also spoken with Charlie Partridge recently. With the defensive core of Narduzzi, Bates and Partridge, Pitt has laid out the red carpet for Hammond, and he’s seen the experience and know-how, but he’s also seen the results for himself.
With a history of putting defensive linemen in the NFL, notably someone like Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald, that pedigree is something that Hammond is looking at.
“They’ve done it before, I can do it and I have an idol to look upon,” Hammond said. “A role model to lead and see what he did, how he’s progressed and what I should do there.
“That’s like a dream to play at a stadium that big and be surrounded by people that have experienced it and done it before,” Hammond said. “It’s something that you’re thinking about as a little kid.”
While Hammond is just coming off his sophomore season at St. Xavier, helping the Bombers to a 10-3 season, he’s already looking ahead to what’s to come. As a sophomore, however, he racked 32 tackles (four solo), two tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.
247Sports rates Hammond as the 20th-ranked defensive lineman and the 14th-ranked recruit from Ohio in the class of 2024 while On3 rates him as the 318th-ranked recruit in the class (35th-ranked defensive lineman and the 16th-ranked recruit from Ohio).
With a focus on improving as a junior at St. Xavier, Hammond hasn’t really locked in any unofficial visits or camp opportunities yet (looking at Pitt and Michigan camps right now), but he’s looking ahead to a potential trip to Pitt this fall — hopefully for a game.
Hammond has made visits to Penn State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan this spring, and he’ll likely continue the top schools in the midwest as his recruiting process heats up over his upperclassman seasons. And Pitt is one of the first schools to jump into the fray.
Despite no making it out to Pitt for a visit yet, Hammond has liked what he’s heard from Pitt so far. He’s a fan of the coaching staff’s experience and a relationship with Narduzzi that’s continuing to grow.
“I really like (Pitt),” Hammond said. “It’s really high on my list, especially right now because they’re kinda the first big school to offer me. So, I have a really high first impression of them.”