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Pitt FB Recruiting

Pitt’s Addition of Two-Way Athletes Paying Off on Both Sides of the Football

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When looking at Shadarian Harrison, Jesse Anderson and Montravius Lloyd, it’s easy to see versatility. It’s easy to see how the three athletes could fit into different slots across the lineup, and Andrew Ivins feels like that’s just a part of growing up in Florida.

“They’re not specialized in one specific thing,” Ivins, 247Sports’ Florida recruiting analyst, told Pittsburgh Sports Now, “and I think once they get up to Pittsburgh, there’s more to unlock.”

The youth football scene in Florida is highly competitive, youth players fighting tooth and nail just to make high school teams — in order to position themselves for college opportunities — and playing on both sides of the football is a requirement. Harrison, Anderson and Lloyd have all thrived on both sides of the ball themselves.

Anderson, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound three-star cornerback from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was recruited by the likes of Maryland, Boston College, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina State and Wake Forest with the chance to play wide receiver or defensive back.

“Jesse Anderson, he’s at Cardinal Gibbons which is another talented program that’s won some state titles,” Ivins said. “The coaches there love him, and what I think is unique is Pittsburgh wants to use him on the defensive side of the ball.”

Anderson leaned toward playing defensive back at Pitt prior to committing, but he also said that decision wasn’t set in stone. With the ability to play both ways (a team-leading 39 receptions for 506 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver and 28 tackles (15 solo), an interception, fumble recovery and blocked punt as a cornerback as a junior at Cardinal Gibbons), Pitt saw a long, rangy cornerback.

Of course, as the stereotype goes, Anderson has excellent hands. Whether he’s lining up out wide as a receiver or in the secondary as a corner, he’s sure-handed in his play. With excellent size, standing at 6-foot-2, he’s long, rangy and quick enough to match up with any opposing wideout he’s across from. Pitt could’ve honed a wide receiver or cornerback, with a strong pedigree at both in recent seasons and decided upon a defender.

247Sports rates Anderson as the 947th-ranked recruit in the class (87th-ranked athlete and the 135th-ranked recruit from Florida). On3 rates him as the 151st-ranked wide receiver and the 156th-ranked recruit from Florida) while Rivals rates with a 5.6 Rivals Rating.

Harrison also plays both ways in Florida, and while he isn’t making the wide receiver to cornerback jump like Anderson, he played quarterback at Kathleen High School as a junior in 2021.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound athlete, playing quarterback and defensive back at Kathleen, has moved to powerhouse Lakeland High School in the local area. He won’t be a quarterback anymore, but he’ll be able to thrive as a defensive back and wide receiver.

With offers from the likes of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa State, Louisville, Nebraska, South Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and West Virginia, Harrison picked up major college interest despite not receiving a ton of hype in the state of Florida or around the country.

Harrison is a smooth, fluid athlete with a great frame (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) and as evidenced by his time as Kathleen’s quarterback as a junior, he’s a natural athlete. With the ability to focus solely on playing corner and receiver at Lakeland, in a powerhouse program, a huge senior season wouldn’t be at all surprising.

247Sports rates Harrison as the 857th-ranked recruit in the class (81st-ranked cornerback and the 126th-ranked recruit from Florida) while On3 rates him as the 1,087th-ranked recruit in the class (47th-ranked quarterback and the 77th-ranked recruit from Florida). Rivals hasn’t rated Harrison, but he holds a 5.5 Rivals Rating.

Unlike both Anderson and Harrison, who are making the transition to the defensive side of the ball full time, Montravius Lloyd is transitioning to the offensive side of the ball full time.

With Pitt losing class of 2022 signee Jordaan Bailey and 2021 signee Malik Newtown, although Rodney Hammond Jr. appears destined for a bright future, Lloyd is an important running back commit in the class of 2023.

The 6-foot, 205-pound athlete from Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Florida committed to Pitt over offers from Arizona, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, USF, Wake Forest and West Virginia and Ivins feels like Lloyd can develop into a real role-player.

“Montravius Lloyd, at the spring jamboree, I can’t remember if Pittsburgh was there,” Ivins said. “I really didn’t know anything about the kid, and I thought he was one of the best performers there, in terms of catching the ball for a running back. I think he’s unique, I think he’s a guy who can probably have some success in the ACC. Like the makeup of him and what he brings to the table.”

As a junior at Lakewood, helping to fuel a 10-3 squad in Florida’s Class-4A, Lloyd racked up 641 yards and 11 touchdowns on 110 carries and 149 yards and a touchdown on 11 receptions and added 33 tackles (15 solo), 10 tackles for loss, eight sacks and defended two passes.

In a compact 6-foot, 205-pound frame, Lloyd is an excellent athlete out of the backfield, and his receiving capabilities make for the ideal option in modern college football.

247Sports rates Lloyd as the 858th-ranked recruit in the class (74th-ranked athlete and 126th-ranked recruit from Florida) while On3 rates him as the 688th-ranked recruit in the class (50th-ranked running back and 110th-ranked recruit from Florida). Rivals hasn’t rated Lloyd yet, but he holds a 5.5 Rivals Rating.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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