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Pitt FB Recruiting

Pat Narduzzi Breaks Down Class of 2023 Offensive Signees

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Pitt loaded up on quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive linemen in the class of 2023, dipping into the transfer portal and bringing in a haul of high schoolers.

With 12 offensive players signing their National Letters of Intent Wednesday, Pitt landed three quarterbacks, three offensive linemen, two running backs and four wide receivers. Three recruits hail from Florida, two from Pennsylvania, two from Georgia, two from California, one from Ohio, one from New Jersey and one from Canada.

All three quarterbacks (Phil Jurkovec, Christian Veilleux and Ty Dieffenbach), BJ Williams, T.J. Harvison, Lamar Seymore and Israel Polk plan to enroll early at Pitt.

Pat Narduzzi offered his thoughts on his offensive haul from Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

Ryan Carretta — three-star offensive lineman from St. Charles High in Columbus, Ohio

“Probably an interior offensive lineman. He’s a 6-foot-5, 300-pound monster from Galena, Ohio. Again, it’s hard to get him out of Ohio, St. Charles High School. He’s smart. Really everything we want. A few Big Ten teams on this guy. He was a battle in the summer to get. One of the keys was Ryan Manalac, our linebacker coach has that area. He’s from that area. And he coached his brother Ryan at Bucknell. So, he had a really, really good prior relationship with that family. And that was crucial in, you know, in the trust level of his parents sending him to Pitt. So, we thank Coach Manalac, but you know, the Carretta family for choosing us.”

BJ Williams — three-star offensive lineman from Creekside High in Fairburn, Georgia

“The next guy is BJ Williams, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound lineman. And again, I think says 6-3. It might be 6-5. As I walked outta his home last from Lawrenceville, Georgia — Creekside High School. Again, a guy we saw in the summer and we kind of went back and forth. He was committed to somebody else at the time. And I remember sitting with the offensive staff and watching the video tape on him and I’m watching him down blocking and just physically destroy some guys. I’m like, ‘Who is that guy?’ And I think we were maybe watching somebody else, but it was like, get that guy on the phone. Like, we were just popping through different guys. ‘Hey, what do you think of this guy?’ And they threw him out. I’m like, that’s what we’re looking for, right there. You know, sitting with coach Cignetti and coach Borbs. We offered him and 12 hours later he was on our visit, and we had snagged him. A really twitchy guy that we’re excited to have.”

Tai Ray — three-star offensive lineman from Apopka High in Apopka, Florida

“The last one, probably the biggest monster of them all. Tai Ray is 6-foot-6, 300 pounds — offensive tackle from Apopka, Florida, just outside of Orlando, just east of Orlando Apopka high school. Had a great senior year. Led his team to the state championship last season. They rushed for 350 yards on offense. You know, that’s a 12-minute quarter. They lost the game, 16 to 13. And again, I haven’t seen the entirety of that game yet. I’ve been busy, but, you know, it’s one of those games they rush for 300 yards. I want to continue to watch it, but he’s a big man. I think he’s gonna be a super football player for us.”

Ty Dieffenbach — three-star quarterback from Agoura High in Agoura Hills, California

“Our first quarterback, you know, that we’re lucky to get a high school quarterback. Ty Dieffenbach, 6-foot-6, 210-pound player from Calabasas, California — Agoura High School. We lost a commitment, as you guys know in the middle of the year, middle of the season, I should say, and we had to go on a hunt. I wasn’t gonna take anybody. I didn’t care if we had to go to Alaska to find a guy. Our staff did a great job of evaluating — our recruiting staff and coaching staff was just finding another guy. Coach Cignetti flew out California, first opportunity we had watching him throw. He’s big, he’s athletic, he plays basketball — except I did beat him in Pig on his basketball court in the back. So, I will throw that in. I was a little disappointed after I beat him. And his dad’s a basketball player. He played in college and so when I walked out of there, I kind of felt guilty. I think they were just, you know, I think they were just sandbagging us a little bit. Let us win. I think they let me, and coach Salem win that game of Pig because there’s no way we should win that game. Because both are great athletes. But Ty, we’re excited to have him, he’s played receiver in the past and was a captain for them as well. Kid with a great personality, think he’s gonna be a great leader for us. And again, he will be here mid-year.”

Christian Veilleux — Penn State transfer quarterback

“The next quarterback Christian Veilleux. 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. Serious, serious guy. This kid’s locked in. He’s a guy that we offered outta high school. Had him on campus a couple of times back when he was being recruited out of high school. He’s from Ottawa, Ontario, went to the Bullis School. He’s got a great host family that he spent time with, you know, the relationships, just tell you they’re relationship people. But spent, I guess, last weekend with them and then drove up from Maryland and spent the weekend with us this past weekend. Had a great visit. Obviously committed to us, so we’re excited to have him. He’s a Penn State transfer. And coach Cignetti had offered him up at BC. So again, one of those guys that you knew a lot about who he was, you’ve already met with him, you didn’t have any questions about character. We did all that homework as well. So, that was an easy guy to say — you know, we want that guy. He goes by CV.”

Phil Jurkovec — Boston College transfer quarterback

“And then the last one, a guy that’s got one year of eligibility left. As you guys all know, is 6-foot-5, maybe 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native in Pine-Richland High School via Notre Dame and Boston College. You know, we talked about it being a one-time transfer, but I guess that doesn’t matter anymore. And I guess, we’ll accept this one. But Phil — big, athletic, tough, leadership type guy. Something that we desperately needed in that room, and I think Christian’s the same. He brings the leadership that maybe we lacked last season. Again, he’s tough. He’s had some great years up there at Boston College. We were happy to finally be able to bring him home because we’ve recruited him hard for years, and he’s gonna have the best year of his life here in Pittsburgh this season.”

T.J. Harvison — three-star running back from Bowdon High in Bowdon, Georgia

“We took two running backs, one of ’em is a mid-year guy. T.J. Harvison, 6-1, 180-pound kid from Carrollton, Georgia out in high school. A smaller high school down in Georgia, but every coach in that area loves this guy, talks about his explosiveness. He transferred and played just one year at this high school. But picked him up in December, and coach Collins got on him and we continued to work him. And we’re excited to have T.J. in there. Just brings a lot of versatility. He can catch the ball out to the backfield, he can run it, very athletic, and again, a guy that takes care of his body. He’s a health nut, and I know Coach Stacc’s gonna love him in the weight room.”

Montravius Lloyd — three-star running back from Lakewood High in St. Petersburg, Florida

“Then the other guy Montravius Lloyd. 5-foot-10, 185-pound kid from St. Petersburg, Florida — Lakewood Senior High School. A great football team down there this year. They got players all over the place, and Montravius is a super football player. A guy that can do it all. As a junior, he played more tailback. And this past season, he played a little bit more receiver just based on the need. So, he’s an unselfish player. Said, ‘Coach, I’ll do whatever it takes.’ They had another good tailback, and Montravius — or Trey — has the ability to be a great back out of the backfield. So, they put him at receiver. He did a little bit of both, so he was a slash guy down there and he was exciting. And was fun to watch. He’s also a guy that plays basketball, can dunk the ball. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go down there, but I may, in January, slip by and watch him play basketball. Just a super, super kid and a great family as well.”

Kenny Johnson — three-star wide receiver from Dallastown High in York, Pennsylvania

“First one is Kenny Johnson, 6-foot-1, 195-pound kid from York, PA, Dallastown Area High School. A guy we’ve known for a long time, has been committed for a long time, is excited about Pittsburgh. You probably noticed when I went to visit his house, probably on Twitter, he had that Pitt tree. His mom and dad had the Pitt tree up. They had a Pitt Christmas tree, and they were so excited about us visiting. But he is a special kid. Big, tall, he’ll be a big target for our quarterbacks. We wish he was coming in mid-year, but he is not gonna be able to get that done.”

Israel Polk — three-star wide receiver from St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, California

“The next guy is Israel Polk, goes by Izzy. So, we lose an Izzy, but we gain an Izzy, right? And we hope he’s as special as the Izzy that we just lost to the NFL here. But he’s coming from Oakland, California, so Oakland, California to Oakland, PA. St. John Bosco High School. I think they won a natural championship. I think they finished number one in the country. Some people argue it was that team down in south, but a guy we got on late. We were out visiting Ty out there and, and all of a sudden we get a call like, ‘Hey, go check this guy out.’ My plane was about ready to leave. And we’re like, okay, forget it. We’re going. And, we had a great visit with his family. Mom cooked up some Chinese food. It was unbelievable. And coach Salem ate, I recruited him and Coach Salem was eating the whole time. But we got him on this weekend. He’s got a brother placed with the New York Giants. I guess graduated from Mississippi State. Just an outstanding young man. A guy that we think has got great speed will fit perfectly in our receiver room.”

Lamar Seymore — three-star wide receiver from Miami Central High in Miami, Florida

“Next guy is Lamar Seymore from Miami, Florida. 6-foot-1, 180-pound guy from Miami Central High School. Again, they won a championship as well. He’s coming mid-year, so you’ll be able to see him in the spring game and, throughout spring. We’re excited to get him. He’s a fast guy, again, Florida guy. I think he had a national championship shirt on as well, so I don’t know who, I guess there’s maybe two or three depending on who he had talked to. But he had his championship shirt on today when I talked to him after he sent his papers. But he’s a super player. Had a home visit, actually at a restaurant, but his brother ironically plays for the Miami Hurricanes, so he was there. I think a lot of people would’ve tampered, but I said, ‘Listen, this is not a tampering meal. You know, we’re here after Lamar,’ So, the coach down there can feel that we were not tampering with him, but it was great to see him and break bread with his brother. But we’re excited about Lamar. You know, he’s just a worker. The guy’s gonna come in here and I’m excited about especially seeing him in spring ball.”

Zion Fowler — three-star wide receiver from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey

“And then the last one, Zion Fowler, kid from Union City, New Jersey. A 6-foot-1, 190-pound guy from St. Peter’s Prep High School in Jersey City. I think I’ve been recruiting for a long time. He might be the first guy we ever got out of there. So, it’s not easy to get him out of there. He didn’t make it easy on us as well. He was a guy that decommitted from us in the middle of the year. And, again, what I guess it was probably, and you could probably talk to him, but probably one of those guys that’s getting advice from too many people. He was able to see the light. It is just another lesson for him to, ‘Hey, who are you listening to?’ And so I’m happy Zion that, you know, he obviously figured it out and got it right and it took time and, you know, I’m not a guy that’s gonna pressure you one way or another, but it was really all about him and he had to make that decision and he had to make this decision. So, we’re happy to have him back. You guys probably saw some of his dunks last spring. I think this guy’s an explosive guy. You watch him on the basketball court, and the tape, he goes up and gets the ball. He can highpoint the ball about as good as any receiver in the class. So, when we do deep ball drills with our guys, he likes to jump, and he can run. So, we’re excited to get him here.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Burton Tee
Burton Tee
1 month ago

Does anyone else wonder how you can go from winning the ACC to having the LOWEST rated recruiting class I in the conference?

I know there are some decent players in this class, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that these are the guys PN really wanted.

And while NIL has changed a lot of the recruiting landscape, when WF, Duke and GT are pulling more talent, there’s a problem.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Burton Tee

exactly…momentum from acc title and it’s all 3*. Staff can’t recruit

Wlat 910 Radio and the Big Beat!
Wlat 910 Radio and the Big Beat!
1 month ago

OCS you should change your name to OCD

Tom D
Tom D
1 month ago

You’re missing recruiting. Its not about recruiting the “best” players but the right players. I think you’re seeing all these Pitt players make impact in the NFL and its because he’s recruiting a lot better than the star system indicates. I think HCPN is an idiot but the guy can recruit.

Reese26
29 days ago
Reply to  Tom D

Completely agree with you. Whether you like Duzz or not (personally I do but I’m a dago Pitt guy), he has built a PROGRAM. This is what a lot of fans don’t understand; to be successful in P5 football, you have to have continuity, i’e’ a PROGRAM. As much as I hate them, coaches like Paterno, Bryant and Saban developed program That means the kids you recruit know some things; one you want hem, which is fine they fear that from other schools, rwo they know where they fit in your prgram and won’t get lost in the shuffle, and… Read more »

Reese26
29 days ago

So let’s see here; Pitt recruits kids that fit their program, ACTUALLY GRADUATE and contribute to a successful Power 5 program. Penn State, on the other hand, recruits kids based on recruiting rankings, doesn’t develop the majority of them and they finish as a middling B10 every year. So, where would you rather play if you’re a high school kid? See, the curtain is starting to pull back on these programs, and kids don’t really care about the notoriety of what school is recruiting them, they care bout playing for a program that will develop them athletically and educationally, and… Read more »

Reese26
29 days ago
Reply to  Burton Tee

You really don’t get how recruiting works, do you? I know OCS doesn’t because he’s a troll, most likely you are as well.

Programs recruit based on need; for example, if you’re already three deep at QB, you’re not out recruiting QB’s.

Everyone likes to look at recruiting rankings, which are garbage; if those meant anything and if the people compiling them knew anything then Notre Dame would be playing Alabama for the national championship every year and no other programs would matter. Is that what happens? No it doesn’t

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