There were four Pat Signals Saturday, and two of them have officially been revealed.
It was a successful weekend for Pitt football but especially so in the defensive secondary. Allen Bryant officially committed on Saturday, and Davion Pritchard followed up on Sunday — the first two Pat Signals were revealed.
Bryant (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) and Pritchard (Youngstown, Ohio) joined Tayshawn Banks as the defensive back commits in Pitt’s class of 2024, and while it’s a bit surprising that Pitt has already secured three defensive backs by June 5, there’s reason to be excited for all three.
Bryant, Pritchard and Banks are all three-star recruits, sure, but they’ve all thrived in their respective roles over the last year and offer benefits across Pitt’s defense in the seasons to come.
So, let’s take a look at where each fits at this point in time:
Tayshawn Banks — three-star from Taft High in Cincinnati, Ohio
Banks committed to Pitt on March 27, the first of Pitt’s defensive backs to pledge himself to the cause.
As a junior at Taft, he picked off nine passes (which includes three returned for touchdowns), and he also starred as a kick returner — scoring long touchdowns in the kickoff and punt return phases. He’s a true ballhawk.
“I like to play the trail technique, when we go man-to-man, we have a safety over the top, and I drop below him because I feel like if the quarterback in high school is throwing the ball in a small pocket like that, that quarterback should go a long way,” Banks said.
“I’m a good physical guy, and I like to stare at the quarterback a little bit, and I feel like at Pitt, on certain plays, that’s what I’m able to do.”
While he’s played nickel at Taft, Pitt feels he’s strong enough to play on the boundary and fast enough to play in the field. Either way, he has a future at safety in Pittsburgh. And he wants to prove he’s a lockdown defensive back — the next to come from Pitt.
Allen Bryant — three-star from St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Bryant committed to Pitt Saturday and announced his commitment a few hours later, becoming Pitt’s second defensive back pledge in the class.
Much like Banks, Bryant was a stud defensive back and an excellent return man.
As a junior at Christian Calvary Academy, Bryant racked up 44 tackles (24 solo), an interception, four pass breakups and recovered a fumble. And he returned 15 kickoffs for 347 yards (23.1 yards per attempt) and 18 punts for 192 yards (10.7 yards per attempt). He recorded two touchdowns last season, catching one and returning a kickoff 92 yards for another.
Cory Sanders and the coaching staff see Bryant as a bit of a do-it-all defensive back right now. Sanders said that he would be a fit at the field safety position, but he could also slide outside and play corner, too.
“I hit it off with coach Sanders,” Bryant said. “It was him when I got there, and he seemed like a real good dude. We got to get in the film room to go over plays and how he thinks I’d fit in the system and their philosophy and how he coaches DBs. It was really good. They allow their DBs to make a lot of plays. That’s why they have so much success back there.”
It makes sense considering Bryant’s fluid athleticism and track-star speed. He’s more than capable of pressing a wide receiver off the line, but he’s certainly able to drop back into that centerfielder role in the secondary.
Davion Pritchard — three-star from Austintown-Fitch in Youngstown, Ohio
It’s tough to find Pritchard’s full stats, but as you watch his Hudl tape, it seems like every play is an interception or a pass breakup. There’s more than a few interceptions.
And it’s clear that his first-team All-Region and second-team All-State honors are very deserved.
He isn’t the biggest cornerback around, but he does have good size and length at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds. He’s aggressive on the line of scrimmage, and his ability to read quarterbacks helped lead to interceptions last season. Pritchard is the aggressive, one-on-one kind of cornerback that Collins and Cory Sanders like in the Pitt secondary.
It would appear at this point in time that Pritchard, unlike Banks and Bryant, is a cornerback. He’s played outside a lot at Fitch, succeeding a lot, and it makes sense that Pitt is grooming his size and length for a cornerback role.