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Pitt Listed Among 247Sports’ Biggest Recruiting Winners From 2023 NFL Draft



Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, Texas and TCU. The usual names — and TCU. All five were listed among 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong’s recruiting trail winners from the 2023 NFL Draft.

Wiltfong’s article also highlighted how 71% of the first round draftees, at least according to 247Sports’ own recruiting rankings, were blue-chip recruits. There were seven five-stars in the top 10, nine in the top 14.

You know who wasn’t a blue-chip recruit out of high school? Calijah Kancey. 247Sports rated him as the 66th-ranked defensive tackle and 118th-ranked recruit out of Florida in the class of 2019. He went with the 19th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft Thursday night.

He was one of six Pitt Panthers selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, which was tied for the most of any ACC school and fifth-most in college football, and so Wiltfong listed Pitt among his biggest winners. His thoughts on Pitt:

The Panthers came into the NFL Draft with 10 commits and 247Sports’ No. 19 ranked recruiting class, so prospects are already taking notice of a program that’s also been successful on Saturdays, including a spot in the Peach Bowl after winning the conference two years ago and nine more wins, including the Sun Bowl, this past fall. Pat Narduzzi has done a really nice job at Pitt and deserves more credit nationally.

Both statements are unsurprising. Pitt has certainly done the most with the least among Wiltfong’s winners (which also included Minnesota and Oklahoma), producing a few first rounders and a steady stream of NFL-ready defensive backs, and it’s come with mostly unheralded recruits.

Kancey was the headliner, the first round selection that (when compounded with Kenny Pickett’s first round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft) allowed back-to-back first round selections for the first time since 2007 and 2008 — and all that’s without accounting for Jordan Addison’s first round selection.

Carter Warren was selected in the fourth round, Israel Abanikanda and SirVocea Dennis were selected in the fifth round, Erick Hallett was selected in the sixth round and Brandon Hill was selected in the seventh round, and it didn’t end there.

Jared Wayne, Habakkuk Baldonado, Deslin Alexandre and Gabe Houy signed priority free agent deals with NFL teams following the draft’s conclusion, and Marcus Minor and Tylar Wiltz accepted NFL rookie minicamp invites.

No ACC team has had more players drafted over the last three years than Pitt, with 14 (six in 2021, two in 2022 and six in 2023) and it’s the most draft picks over a three-year stretch since 17 were selected between 1990-92.

It hasn’t just been NFL Draft success either, as Pitt has won an ACC championship, made an appearance in the Peach Bowl, won the Sun Bowl and racked up the most wins over a two-season stretch (20) since the 1980s.

Despite the losses on the roster over the last two years, three years even, Pitt football is in the best place its been in recent memory. And that is reflected in recruiting efforts.

Pat Narduzzi said earlier this spring that he’s never seen the sheer number of offered recruits on campus this spring during his eight years in Pittsburgh, and it paid off with 10 commitments before the calendar even flipped to April.

Four-star wide receiver DayDay Farmer and four-star defensive tackle Jahsear Whittington (who will both be making official visits to Pittsburgh next month) highlight the class, but it’s a 10-man class full of potential — and room to grow.

The 2023 NFL Draft was very successful for Pitt football, but it may only just be a sign of things to come in the near future as official visits begin.

Pitt’s 2024 recruiting class:

  • Four-star WR DayDay Farmer (Cocoa, Florida)
  • Four-star DL Jahsear Whittington (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Three-star RB Juelz Goff (York, Pennsylvania)
  • Three-star DL Francis Brewu (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Three-star OL Jiavani Cooley (Erie, Pennsylvania)
  • Three-star DE Zachary Crothers (Hollywood, Florida)
  • Three-star CB Tayshawn Banks (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Three-star DE Ty Yuhas (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Three-star OL Adham Abouraya (Exton, Pennsylvania)
  • Three-star TE Eric Ingwerson (Papillion, Nebraska)

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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