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Pitt FB Recruiting

Pat Narduzzi Breaks Down Class of 2023 Defensive Signees

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Pitt’s class of 2023 pulled in recruits from all three phases of the defense — defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs — and from up and down the east coast.

With three defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs, 10 high school and transfer portal targets signed their National Letters of Intent yesterday. The class features four recruits from Florida, two from Pennsylvania (if McMillon is counted), one from Ohio, one from Maryland and one from Ohio.

Isaiah Neal, Braylan Lovelace and Donovan McMillon will be enrolling early from the defensive signees.

Narduzzi broke down the entire unit Wednesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Maverick Gracio — three-star defensive end from Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach, Florida

“The first one is Maverick Gracio, a defensive end. He actually played five years of high school. He petitioned the NCAA, I guess really the high school association, to get an extra year. He had moved all over the place. He was out in San Diego, he was in New Mexico. His mother moved him from New Mexico to Fort Lauderdale. And somehow, he ended up at Cardinal Newman High School. He’s from West Palm Beach, Florida. Now his mother obviously is with him there, but another late pickup. A very athletic guy that coach Partridge has had on his mind for a long time. You know, we didn’t see him. I didn’t see him live. But coach Partridge saw him live and loved him and just fell in love with the kid. He’s a very polite, smart kid that we’re excited to see what he’s got.”

Antonio Camon — three-star defensive lineman from Tampa Bay Tech in Tampa, Florida

“The next guy’s Antonio Camon, a really mature 6-foot-2, 270-pound guy. I think he could play end. You know, probably doesn’t look 270 right now. Think some of these weights are messed up. Probably about a 250-pound guy, unless he carries it really well. But great visit with his family. Came in the summer as well. Tampa Bay Tech High School. Just an explosive guy up front. Wherever they line him up in high school, you know, he’s explosive. He’s tough and fits right in with coach Partridge and that defensive line.”

Isaiah Neal — four-star defensive lineman from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Maryland

Next guy is Isaiah Neal, goes by the nickname of Ghost. 6-foot-2, 270-pound defensive tackle, I believe. Washington D.C. kid, went to St. Frances Academy up in the Baltimore area. But again, another one of those guys that maybe he’s not big enough for somebody else, but we think he’s a diamond in the rough, like all these guys, can do whatever he wants to do. He’s kind of — I’ll say right now, we got a lot of leaders. Think I said 10 captains, but I’ll be shocked if this guy isn’t a captain, at least by his senior year. Because I think he’s got some leadership qualities that kids don’t have nowadays. I’ll never forget his, when he committed in the Champions Club at Heinz Field or Acrisure Stadium, I think it was Heinz at the time still. When he committed there, he just grabbed the mic and told everybody what he was doing. It was impressive.”

Braylan Lovelace — three-star linebacker from Leechburg Area High in Leechburg, Pennsylvania

“Braylan Lovelace, 6-foot-2, 200-pound guy from Leechburg, PA, Leechburg High School. Again, a mid-year guy. He’s been down in the last two Saturdays watching, listening, picking up information. I mean, he is locked in. He’s athletic. He played tailback, he played linebacker, safety. He did it all. He’s athletic. The last guy that signed out of there was his dad, ironically. And he played at Rutgers. He’s a big guy too. He wouldn’t be a linebacker. He’d probably be a tackle at this point. Appreciate the Lovelace family. Again, the interesting thing about him when he got that Pitt offer, and he’d been to camp and he came to 7-on-7, is they’ve had season tickets for years. So, his dad is locked in, even though he is a Rutgers grad. He might as well be a Pitt grad. Maybe we can change over his degree there.”

Rasheem Biles — three-star linebacker from Pickerington North High in Pickerington, Ohio

“Rasheem Biles, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound guy. Little skinnier guy but really athletic. He’s a punt returner, plays all over the field. Played safety. I mean, he does it all. He returned punts. He got banged up during the year, so he wasn’t able to finish his senior year. So, he’ll come in healthy on Aug. 4, or I guess at the end of July. But just an explosive player that probably will fit out at our Star position. Just an extremely gifted individual athletically.”

Jordan Bass — three-star linebacker from Phoebus High in Hampton, Virginia

Jordan Bass, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound guy from Hampton, Virginia. Phoebus High School, led his team to a state championship. I saw the game prior to that down at the high school meeting coach. Coach Manalac and I were at that game and hung on the fence. Just watched from down there. And he was the best player on the field by far. He’s gigantic. It says 6-2, it says 6-4. That’s probably correct. 215 pounds. He’s athletic. He’s tough. He’s smart. He’s got the whole package as well. We think this guy can be a special guy. He could probably go out and help us at receiver as well. We may try him out there. Wish he was coming mid-year, but he won’t be able to. And then the other interesting thing is, I think in all my years, 33 years of coaching, it’s the first time that the family has invited us to put up the Christmas tree. And that tells you something. We were at the game that day. We waited about an hour, went for a home visit. We helped put the Christmas tree up. So that’ll be something I’ll remember forever. We put the tree up. I hope it’s still up. I hope we didn’t mess it up too much. But it was a great home visit there, a very long home visit, which was awesome with the family.”

Donovan McMillon — Florida transfer safety

“Next one is a guy that we’ve been recruiting for a long time. Donovan McMillan, 6-foot-1, 205-pound guy that actually signed his papers a couple days ago. Because transfers don’t sign National Letters of Intent. They just signed the money or the financial aid part of it. From McMurray, PA, Peters Township High School via the University of Florida. And a guy we loved and wanted a couple years ago. Chose to go away from home. He’s really investigated our defense, loves our defense, fits into our defense and can’t wait to watch this guy come in and compete again. He’s another football nut. He was in last week, did not take an official visit. Obviously, he didn’t need one, right? Didn’t take an official visit. Came down twice last week. We had a great official visit down in Gainesville at his apartment, just a great visit there. You know, I was sold on him. I think he was sold on Pitt once we walked outta his apartment in Gainesville. When we had a sudden change and as soon as he went into the portal, it was like, ‘Okay, I’m not going there. I’m going there.’ And we flipped around and headed to Gainesville. It was a great visit and well worth it. Obviously, Donovan has been here already, and he will be here mid-year, so we’ll get to see him this spring and coach him.”

Jesse Anderson — three-star cornerback from Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

“Jesse Anderson, DB, 6-foot, 170-pound guy from Oakland Park, Florida, Cardinal Gibbons High School. We’ve had great success. You know, all the guys we’ve pulled out of there have been great. This will be another one of those. Got a big old smile on his face. Athletic, can do it all. Missed a little bit of the season with an injury, but he was tough enough to come back and finish his year there. Plays receiver there as well, so we got guys that can do a little bit of both, and we’ll see what they have at both. But he brings some leadership. I think he’s a very vocal guy that’s really gonna be a guy that coach Sanders is gonna love to have on the hash.”

Shadarian Harrison — three-star cornerback from Lakeland High in Lakeland, Florida

“A kid from Lakeland, Florida, Lakeland High School, again, went 14-0. Won a state championship. I had a chance to go down there for a little bit of a walkthrough, was also down there during our open week at his high school. It was one of those places that he said, I gotta get in. And, you know, I wanted to get in the end of October, November. Whenever that open weekend was. But this kid is the best DB on the football team. Okay. There’s another DB on that team that might be ranked the number one DB in the country. We got the number one DB in the country in Shadarian Harrison, without a doubt, we’ll see where it all plays out in four years. We’ll figure it out. I know we’re gonna develop, and we got a great player and a great kid. He’s the core in the group that we think is special. And again, he’s a special player and he was the guy that coach Sanders and myself were going after hard. And I told Coach Sanders, ‘You better make sure you get that guy.’ He’s also got a little relation to Damarri Mathis. So, I think Damarri, in the end, helped us out a bunch. Had a little FaceTime with Damarri on a home visit. With the Denver Broncos.”

Cruce Brookins — three-star safety from Steel Valley High in Munhall, Pennsylvania

“Cruce Brookins, DB, 6-foot-2, 180-pound guy from Steel Valley High School. Pittsburgh guy, was a guy that we actually probably weren’t on as quickly and as we should’ve been. But was a guy that got hurt in the summer, couldn’t come to camp, and these Pittsburgh guys, we expect to come to camp and to get a chance to know who they are. But had an exceptional season. So, you didn’t see ’em at camp. Coach Sanders did a great job at staying on him. Cruce’s family came down, we had a great time this past weekend and obviously committed to us last Sunday. Held it until he had a great video they sent to me yesterday afternoon. But we’re excited to have this guy. He’s big, he’s smart. I mean, what does it say he is? 6-foot-2, 180. He’s athletic, played quarterback, can do it all. This is a fantastic football player. Led his team to a WPIAL championship as well. And is a great basketball player that I expect to get to a basketball game in January and see him go. But he’s averaging 18 points a game right now on the court. So just another exceptional athlete.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago

3* train!

Brad Shaw
Brad Shaw
1 month ago

Yep. And they win and are competitive. What is your point of the post?
3 Star recruits win games at the Power 5 level and make the NFL. TCU is in the final 4 and PSU is not with mainly 3 star players.

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Brad Shaw

The on campus stadium guy is a PSU troll and a stooge just here to stir the pot. Your point hit the nail on the head. 3 star TCU is playing Michigan for a shot at the national championship. While PSU is the big tens third place team playing in an exhibition game in Pasadena.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Rose

TCU get’s 4*’s and Sonny Dykes is a great coach, unlike duzz

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
1 month ago

Yep. 2 or 3 four stars players. The rest are all 3 and 2 star players just like Pitt. Dykes is a moron. He cost them the K State game by not running a sneak in OT. I am sure you were not watching. Just reading some recruiting headlines instead. He is no better than “duzz” as you call him.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Rose

Dykes is a moron….ok genius

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Rose

Rose Bowl, granddaddy of them all!

Brad Shaw
Brad Shaw
1 month ago

Used to be. Now a meaningless game…..just like the Sun Bowl

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
1 month ago

Whos Granddaddy? Yours? Bet you had a thing for Keith Jackson, huh?

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Rose

I believe you are project Eazy E….so angry. Love how you respond to everything I say. I can send you an autograph if you’d like?

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Brad Shaw

win and competitive in the jv acc. 4 wins next year. 3*’s for years crushes your depth, transfer can’t fix that.

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
1 month ago

Syracuse beat Purdue. Pitt crushed Syracuse. Outside of Michigan and OSU the Big ten also rans would lose in the parkway conference to the Quips and CV. The ACC and Big 10 are much closer then you think Queeg.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Rose

Ed you have some deep anger projecting with the sexual slams. Words hurt Sir Edward of Shite. I might have to leave now

Reese26
1 month ago

And just what the the hell is PStankU in the B10? They’re NOTHING, can’t compete with UM or OSU and are an also ran.

Sp r you’re bragging about what exactly? Remind me again who it is that won’t sign the contract to renew the rivalry? That would be your sissy asses.

Jane
Jane
1 month ago

And the 🤡 strikes !!!

Reese26
1 month ago

And? When is the last time PStankU played for a national championship, much less put as many kids as Pitt does in the league, with their “highly” rated recruiting classes?

Get a clue.

Tom D
Tom D
1 month ago

I generally think that Narduzzi is an idiot be he can recruit at a very high level year in and year out.

Craig
Craig
1 month ago

that linebacker from VA looks like a dawg. Hope he ends up being one – Pitt needs some more instinctive linebackers

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Craig

Penn State signed 6 of the top 11 out of Virginia including the 5* #1 IOL in the country along with a 4* OL, and two of the top 15 LB’s in the country (Rojas and Keys)

Reese26
1 month ago

Big whoop, they’ll end up being NIL transfers after two years when they realize the program sucks and Franklin is a moron, you know like what pretty much happens every year since teenagers were given the chance to think about the mistakes they made and correct them?

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