Pitt FB Recruiting
Ranking Pat Narduzzi’s Top 5 Recruiting Classes
Instant analysis and instant feedback is the way of the world.
Whether it’s looking at an NFL’s teams’ draft class or a college teams’ recruiting class, fans want to attach an instant grade to it or declare it a great or awful.
However, common sense dictates that it’s only fair to let players develop, see how they’re used and give it a few years to let their on-field talent play out.
Pat Narduzzi is entering his ninth season at Pitt so there’s been enough time to look back at the recruiting classes he’s collected and to give some fair evaluations.
The Class of 2016 was his first full recruiting class and with the verdict still out on the Classes of 2021 and 2022, we felt it’s fair to judge everything in between.
Taking into account what they accomplished at Pitt and if that led them to get drafted, here’s how I rank Narduzzi’s recruiting classes from 2016 thru 2020.
CLASS OF 2016
*DE Rashad Weaver- All-ACC performer and eventual 4th round pick of Tennessee.
*S Damar Hamlin- All-ACC performer and eventual 6th round pick of Buffalo.
*DE Patrick Jones- All-ACC performer and eventual 3rd round pick of Minnesota.
*WR Maurice Ffrench- All-ACC performer and has remained an NFL practice squad player with various teams.
*DT Keyshon Camp, DT Amir Watts, LB Phil Campbell and OL Bryce Hargrove were all solid players at Pitt.
CLASS OF 2017
*DT Jaylen Twyman– All-ACC performer and eventual 6th Round pick of Minnesota.
*CB Jason Pinnock- Developed into a solid player in Pitt’s secondary and was drafted in the 5th Round by the NY Jets.
*CB Damarri Mathis- Like Pinnock, Mathis was a rock for Archie Collins and was selected in the 4th Round last year by Denver.
*OT Carter Warren- Was a big get for Pitt and is arguably the best offensive lineman of the Narduzzi era. Heard his name called in the 4th Round Saturday by the NY Jets.
*QB Kenny Pickett- Not much needs to be said about the performance and value of Pickett. Drafted in the 1st Round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
*Safety Paris Ford, DE Deslin Alexandre and offensive linemen Gabe Houy and Owen Drexel were standout Pitt Panthers.
CLASS OF 2018
*Safety Erick Hallett- was selected in the 6th Round by Jacksonville after being a rock for Cory Sanders unit.
*Haba Baldonado- Signed as an undrafted free agent by the NY Giants and will try and make an impression.
*DT Tyler Bentley, DT David Green, CB Marquis Williams, OL Blake Zubovic, OL Jake Kradel and DE John Morgan have all had solid Pitt careers and have one more season of college eligibility to impress NFL teams.
CLASS OF 2019
*LB SirVocea Dennis- Went from a 2-star recruit to being a 4th round pick by Tampa Bay.
*S Brandon Hill- Was an All-ACC performer and was taken in the 6th round by Houston.
*DT Calijah Kancey- Became the latest Pitt first round pick after his All-American collegiate career.
*WR Jared Wayne- Signed with Houston as an undrafted free agent.
*RB Vincent Davis, CB AJ Woods and OT Matt Goncalves developed into solid college players after not being highly recruited high school players.
CLASS OF 2020
*WR Jordan Addison– Although he didn’t finish with Pitt, the Pitt staff recruited him and he eventually won the Biletnikoff Award with the Panthers and became a 1st Round pick.
*RB Israel Abanikanda– Izzy was the face of Pitt’s offense in 2022 which allowed him to get drafted in the 4th Round by the NY Jets. Abanikanda was one of the most productive running backs in the country.
*K Ben Sauls, OT Branson Taylor, DE Dayon Hayes, DE Solomon DeShields and LB Bangally Kamara all have possible futures in the NFL.
RANKING PITT’S RECRUITING CLASSES (2016-2020)
- Class of 2017 (5 NFL Draft picks headlined by Pickett).
- Class of 2020 (a lot of this is based on future projection of players still in college)
- Class of 2016
- Class of 2019
- Class of 2018