The transfer portal may dominate the headlines right now, but Pitt’s coaching staff is still hitting the trail hard when it comes to securing 2023 talent.
Pitt’s running backs room, outside of Rodney Hammond Jr., is uncertain next season. And there isn’t a wealth of young, upcoming options either. An official visit from 2023 three-star Jaquez Keyes is exactly what’s needed.
Keyes, a 6-foot-1, 207-pound running back from Ironton High in Ironton, Ohio, decommitted from Wisconsin after the coaching change recently. And one of his first moves as a freshly uncommitted recruit was to schedule an official visit to Pittsburgh over the weekend of Dec. 15.
— Jaquez keyes (@KeyesJaquez) December 8, 2022
Keyes committed to Wisconsin originally over offers from Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Memphis, Michigan and Pitt — an offer being extended back in May personally by linebackers coach Ryan Manalac — and interest from Iowa State, Tennessee, Minnesota, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
Now that Keyes is back in the recruiting game, with his first official move setting an official visit to Pitt, it will be a big recruiting weekend over the weekend of the 15th. Keyes will be one of a handful of recruits in town just a week before National Signing Day.
As a senior at Ironton, on a team that went 15-1 during his senior season, he recorded 173 carries for 1,063 yards and 21 touchdowns offensively and added 56 tackles (12 solo), four tackles for loss and three sacks defensively.
Keyes isn’t a receiving threat out of the backfield, but he is a tough, physical “power” running back that fits the mold of a Pitt bruiser.
247Sports rates Keyes as 686th-ranked recruit in the class (50th-ranked running back and 21st-ranked recruit from Ohio) while On3 rates him as the 661st-ranked recruit in the class (52nd-ranked running back and 21st-ranked recruit from Ohio).
Rivals rates him as the 30th-ranked running back and 10th-ranked recruit from Ohio — holding a 5.7 Rivals Rating.
Pitt’s class of 2023 currently features a verbal commitment from three-star running back Montravius Lloyd (Saint Petersburg, Florida), but he’s a completely different type of player than Keyes. Where Lloyd is a dual threat out of the backfield, Keyes is a power back.
With a lack of young running backs in Pitt’s running backs room, it would be beneficial to add a couple of running backs in the class of 2023.