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A Trip to Pitt’s Spring Game Was One of the Best for 2024 3-Star DB Donavan Philord



It was Donavan Philord’s first time in Pittsburgh, and it was certainly different than back home in Florida, but he liked that it was a different experience.

“The visit was great,” Philord told PSN. “It was probably — it was up there for one of the best visits I’ve ever had.”

Philord — a 5-foot-10, 170-pound three-star defensive back from Miami Norland High in Hialeah, Florida — made a visit to Pitt for last weekend’s spring game, and it opened his eyes to the opportunity before him.

“I love the city,” Philord said. “It’s different from down here. I love everything about it, the facilities, the stadium, everybody’s nice up there.”

Philord, who holds offers from Appalachian State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, FIU, FAU, Liberty, New Mexico State, SMU and Syracuse and Western Michigan, picked up his first Power Five offer from Pitt nearly two years ago.

He’s built a rapport with Cory Sanders, who would be his position coach at Pitt since the staff views him as a safety, but it’s Charlie Partridge who built that initial bond.

Pitt has been recruiting Philord heavier since February, getting him to make the trip to Pittsburgh for the spring game. He enjoyed seeing the level of physicality that Pitt’s defensive backs play with, which fits his own playing style perfectly.

He was also able to spend a bit of time with Sanders. “He doesn’t cut corners, he tells you like it is,” Philord said. “He’s a cool dude.” It was a brief meeting, just catching up, but he’s been hearing from Sanders and Partridge consistently.

Philord had another connection at Pitt, albeit a minor one. He lined up across from early enrollee Lamar Seymore when they both played high school ball in the Miami area, and he said Seymore — who had two catches Saturday — didn’t catch anything on him.

As a junior at Monsignor Pace, Philord racked up 38 tackles (30 solo), a tackle for loss, a pass breakup, two forced fumbles and a recovery. And he blocked a field goal in special teams work.

He was even better as a sophomore at Hialeah Champagnat Catholic, recording 28 tackles, 10 pass breakups and an interception.

247Sports rates Philord as the 868th-ranked recruit in the class (73rd-ranked cornerback and the 117th-ranked recruit from Florida) while On3 rates him as the 1,005th-ranked recruit in the class (97th-ranked cornerback and the 132nd-ranked recruit from Florida).

Rivals hasn’t rated him yet, but he does hold a 5.6 Rivals Rating.

Philord has made trips to FAU, Syracuse and Western Michigan so far this year, and he has West Virginia and maybe Rutgers left this spring. He doesn’t have a timeline going forward, just being able to commit after he make his official visits.

He’s talking to Partridge about setting up an official visit to Pitt, and he’s also looking into FAU, Rutgers and Western Michigan.

Pitt, after an excellent visit and a strong bond with Sanders and Partridge, has risen toward the top of his recruiting chase as it currently stands. It helps when he can look at players like Brandon Hill, Damar Hamlin, Avonte Maddox and Erick Hallett as examples.

“They’re up there,” Philord said. “I love how they treat guys from down here well. … It was different from Miami, but I like it. I like it different, so I loved the environment. I loved everything.

 “It’s gotta be the city, seeing how the rivers and everything because I don’t see that in Miami a lot.”

Pitt has not yet landed a defensive back commit in the class of 2024, but that is certainly going to change in the coming weeks and months. Especially when it comes to cornerbacks.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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