Things came together about as quickly as possible between Pitt and Leechburg star athlete Braylan Lovelace.
Less than a week after receiving an official offer from the Panthers, Lovelace decided on his official visit this weekend that he wanted to stay home and play his college football at Pitt. It is a huge day for the Lovelace family as they’ve been longtime Pitt football season ticket holders.
Unlike the other players that committed this weekend, Lovelace thought about this major decision and after arriving back home, he called head coach Pat Narduzzi to give him the news. Lovelace becomes the first player from the WPIAL in Pitt’s Class of 2023.
“Honestly, this day and decision mean everything to me,” Lovelace told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was like five years old to play for Pitt. Seeing myself in a jersey this weekend was such a big thing. I know that Pitt has a really good thing going on here and I really wanted to be a part of it. I told my family about my decision, and they’ve always backed me on everything I’ve done. I was talking to my dad and he said if this is what you want then take it.
“This weekend, a big thing for me was really seeing the family aspect that Pitt has within their football program,” Lovelace said. “Seeing the players and the coaches and how well they interact with each other was very important. I talked and called Coach Narduzzi with my decision. It was a big phone call, and he was very excited.”
As a do-it-all junior for Leechburg in 2021, Lovelace racked up 1,506 yards and 28 touchdowns on 171 carries and added 164 yards and a touchdown on 14 receptions. As a linebacker, he compiled 81 tackles, seven tackles for loss and two interceptions. Despite having the ability to play on either side of the ball, Pitt plans on having Lovelace start his career on the defensive side of the ball.
“They want me to play outside linebacker, at their Star linebacker position,” Lovelace said. “They want to play me outside the box and let me do it all.”
247Sports rates Lovelace as the 80th-ranked linebacker and the 22nd-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania. While neither Rivals nor On3 has rated him yet, his meteoric rise will likely feature rankings from both.
Lovelace had official visits scheduled for both Virginia Tech and Charlotte, but those will be canceled after today’s decision.