Pitt FB Recruiting
2025 4-Star QB Luke Nickel Believes Pitt is Building Something Special After Visit
Luke Nickel had never been to Pittsburgh before his trip up Monday, but it’s safe to say he was seriously impressed with not just the city itself — but the relationship he’s building with the coaching staff.
Nickel — a 6-foot-2, 205-pound four-star quarterback from Milton High in Alpharetta, Georgia in the class of 2025 — spent the day at Pitt Monday, hanging out with Frank Cignetti Jr. and Jon DiBiaso, sitting in on team meetings and checking out the campus.
It was Nickel’s first in-person experience with Pitt since he was offered back in early March, joining a list of offers that includes Cincinnati, East Carolina, Florida State, Indiana, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Penn State and Stanford.
Great visit at pitt today! @CoachDuzzPittFB @FrankCignetti @Coach_JDiBiaso pic.twitter.com/guZDAY3DPG
— Luke Nickel (@LukeNickel5) April 3, 2023
Nickel was able to sit in on an offensive meeting with the team before breaking out with the quarterbacks, so he had the chance to really dive into not just how the offense operates but how Cignetti works with his players — especially quarterbacks.
“We went over a lot of their system, and we got to see them in an offensive meeting, so I thought (Cignetti’s) coaching style was great,” Nickel told PSN. “I think he got straight to the point, and he really paid attention to the close detail, and I think that was really important in a quarterback.
“(Cignetti) runs a pro-style offense, and I think that obviously fits my game, and him coaching the great quarterbacks from that past, I think that’s a really good sign that he knows how to develop great quarterbacks. I feel like that is a great attribute, that I’d want to be in that position one day to where him coaching me, I feel like it would develop me as a player and a person.”
The chance to sit down with Cignetti, to go along with his experience in a couple of offensive meetings, really gave Nickel the opportunity to see how he could be a fit.
And while a lot of Monday’s time together revolved around football, scheme and fit, it was also about just building a relationship with the coaching staff. Nickel felt a strong sense of culture during his visit, which isn’t always the case on visits.
“You see a lot of places, and they’re not always the realest people,” Nickel said. “I feel like I got that out of today. I feel like they’re very honest with me, and they’re really real with me. They keep it real, they tell me they’re gonna push me to be the best person, but that’s what I want in a coach. I want someone that’s gonna love me but also push me to be the best person I can be.”
But perhaps what stood out the most Monday was just the city. It was really nice. It was mind-blowing even. He’s a Georgia kid, leaving his birth state of Massachusetts when he was two, but his father is from out near Cleveland, Ohio.
There were midwestern values in the Nickel household as he was growing up. Hard work was expected. His father pushed him to be great while also showing his love and support. It’s similar to what he saw from Pitt Monday.
Cignetti likes Nickel’s toughness, his accuracy and his ability to quickly process his reads and work through his progressions, and while he’s not a true dual threat, he’s more than athletic enough to escape the pocket.
He flashed his enormous potential as a sophomore starter at powerhouse Milton last season, throwing for 2,507 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 197-of-337 pass attempts (59%), and he added 208 yards and three more touchdowns on the ground.
Nickel has a very strong arm, excellent poise for such a young player and all the tools.
Rivals rates Nickel as the 219th-ranked recruit in the class (18th-ranked pro-style quarterback and the 27th-ranked recruit from Georgia). 247Sports and On3 haven’t ranked him yet, but that’s going to change.
It’s already been a busy spring for Nickel, as he’s visited Florida State twice, and following his time in Pittsburgh, he’ll be making stops at Penn State, North Carolina and Stanford this week.
But Pitt is definitely a school that has caught Nickel’s eye as it’s been made clear that he’s a priority.
“I think Pitt has really stood out in how real they are and how honest they are,” Nickel said. “And how good the people are. I think the city is great, I think the location of it is awesome, I think they have a great tradition and I think they’re building something really special over there.”
There’s been consistent contact with the Pitt coaching staff over the last few months, since he received his offer, and it will be important to maintain that contact — and further visits — down the road.