With the recent success Pitt has had over the last few years of developing and getting defensive backs to the NFL, that fact is not lost with high school players.
Damar Hamlin, Jordan Whitehead, Dane Jackson, Avonte Maddox, Damari Mathis and Jason Pinnock are former Panther defensive backs that are currently on NFL rosters and players that Archie Collins and Corey Sanders can mention when trying to lure top-flight talent to Pitt.
Last week, the Pitt staff extended an offer to a talented safety that they hope eventually joins them at “Defensive Back U.”
2024 three-star safety Zahir Rainer added Pitt to his ever-growing list of scholarship offers. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound defensive back from Trinity Episcopal High School in Richmond, Virginia also has received offers from Power Five programs such as Arkansas, Colorado, Duke, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
— Zahir “Z” Rainer ➐ (@ZahirRainer) September 20, 2022
Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up this morning with Rainer who talked about his conversation with the Pitt staff and plans for an upcoming trip to Pittsburgh.
“Coach Archie Collins and Coach Powell. Coach Powell actually coached my dad at Virginia back in the 90s, and they’ve been good friends ever since,” said Rainer. “When I got the offer, I was super excited. Pitt is definitely a program on the rise, especially with all the players they’re putting in the pros, especially great defensive backs and Kenny Pickett. Pitt is definitely a program that’s rising, they’re a great program and a program that I might want to be a part of one day.
“When he offered, Coach Powell told me that he reminded him a lot of Paris Ford, because of the toughness that I play with. Obviously, I’m not as big as him but with the meanness, the violence, the tenacity and the playmaking ability I have, I remind him of Paris. He told me about the NFL talent that Pitt has produced for a long time going back to Darrelle Revis and that I would be a great fit into their system.”
While the offer just came last week, Rainer says that he’s been hearing from the Pitt program for a while now, and it really amped up at the start of this month.
“Back in the spring Coach Powell came to my school and talked to me about Pitt,” said Rainer. “He talked to me about the culture there and what they’ve been building. He thought that I would be a great fit for them. Ever since then and on September 1 at midnight, they were one of the first schools to contact me and told me how much they liked me. I’m still learning more and more about Pitt but so far, so good.”
— Zahir “Z” Rainer ➐ (@ZahirRainer) August 27, 2022
Rainer describes his playing style as fearless, fast and violent and went on to say “I’m not the biggest defensive back in the world but I have a very quick twitch and I’m a playmaker. Also, I love contact and I love to put a hat on a hat.”
Rainer says he’s excited with where his recruitment is at and that he’s super excited. He’s in contact with a number of schools like Pitt, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Minnesota, South Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest.
The talented defensive back from Virginia only has one upcoming scheduled visit and that’s to Pitt for this Saturday night’s game against Georgia Tech.