With 2023 four-star athlete Rodney Gallagher committing to West Virginia Wednesday, Pitt’s chances of going without signing a WPIAL recruit got a lot more likely in the class of 2023.
It was Central Valley’s Sean FitzSimmons in 2022, the trio of Elliot Donald, Nahki Johnson and Dorien Ford in 2021, Dayon Hayes in 2020 and so on and so on. Since 2010 — and way beyond — the WPIAL talent in Pennsylvania hasn’t always decided to stay home, but more often than not some homegrown stars have stayed home.
In fact, if Pitt doesn’t land a WPIAL signee in the class of 2023, it would be the first time since at least the 2002 season.
With Gallagher committing to West Virginia, that’s Pitt’s top WPIAL target off the board. Brashear’s Ta’Mere Robinson is looking to get out of Pittsburgh and Chartiers Valley’s Lamont Payne is committed to Penn State. Belle Vernon’s Jordan Mayer, Leechburg’s Braylan Lovelace (although it’s early) and Brashear’s Kameron Cheatom haven’t been offered by Pitt.
With Washington’s Davoun Fuse committing to Rutgers, there just aren’t many major WPIAL recruits to begin with in the 2023 recruiting class — with just seven of the Top 30 Pennsylvania recruits from the WPIAL, according to 247Sports — and Pitt’s major targets have either chosen elsewhere or Pitt hasn’t offered.
Pitt has landed four-star quarterback Kenny Minchey (Hendersonville, Tennessee) and three-star wide receiver Zion Fowler (Jersey City, New Jersey) to lead off what should be a very, very eventful June. With visits from three-, four- and five-star recruits through the month of June, Pitt could pick up a dozen commitments soon.
What should be a strong class, one of Pat Narduzzi’s best at Pitt yet, it’s an interesting twist that there could be not one WPIAL recruit signed. There are Pennsylvania recruits in the mix (Pitt’s first very-early 2024 commitment from four-star defensive lineman Jahsear Whittington from Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia), but the 2023 class will not be heavy Pennsylvania — if at all.
Of course, with late rising recruits like Lovelace (who just recently picked up his first Power Five offer from Virginia Tech), there is the potential that Pitt could jump in on late 2023 recruits. But without the frequency of top WPIAL recruits from season’s past, there’s a solid chance that Pitt’s 2023 class doesn’t include a WPIAL signee.
Aliquippa’s Will Gipson was a late commit to Pitt’s 2019 class, committing in November of 2018, so it’s not unheard of for Pitt to nab late-rising local recruits — especially with a strong senior season — but it could be that this is a class where local talent just goes elsewhere. And if Narduzzi is able to close it out late and land some of the official visitors, it won’t matter that much in the end.