When Cameron Lindsey called Pat Narduzzi Tuesday night, the first thing he heard was barking. Loud barking. It wasn’t Narduzzi himself, but it may as well have been once he heard the reason for Lindsey’s call.
As Lindsey was able to make his voice heard over Narduzzi’s dog, informing Narduzzi that he was committing to Pitt over Penn State, West Virginia and Cincinnati, Narduzzi felt that primal desire to howl, to voice his feelings of keeping Lindsey home in Pittsburgh.
If the excessive Pat Signal at 7:59 p.m. wasn’t enough of a giveaway, Narduzzi was excited. And Ryan Manalac was, too. It was all very cool for Lindsey to hear.
Lindsey — a 6-foot-2, 205-pound four-star linebacker from Aliquippa High School in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania — officially announced his decision to stay home at Pitt this afternoon, in front of the hundreds in attendance at Aliquippa High School. He’s the next in a long line of Quips headed to Pitt.
But if anyone at Aliquippa is equipped to deal with high expectations, it’s Lindsey. He’s won back-to-back WPIAL championships, and a PIAA championship in 2021, and he’s earned just about every regional, area and state honor you can think of to this point of his high school career.
As a junior at Aliquippa last season, he recorded 100 tackles, a sack and forced three fumbles defensively, but he also carried the ball 27 times for 214 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and three touchdowns and caught two touchdown passes. He flashed a nose for the football, combined with the ability to lay hard hits and make plays across the defense.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s a playmaker offensively either, showcasing the ability to find the end zone offensively or defensively.
So, when it came to picking Pitt, over offers from Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Kent State, Marshall, Maryland, Massachusetts, Miami (Oh.), Penn State, Syracuse, Temple, Toledo, UNLV and West Virginia, he pointed to his familiarity in playing at both Heinz Field and Acrisure Stadium.
“It’s right in the backyard, so to me, I’ve played in their stadium now for the past two years in the WPIAL championship, but just building a great relationship with the coaches, coach Manalac and coach Narduzzi and coach Sanders and coach Borbely, I’ve built a great relationship the past year with them, since I got the offer,” Lindsey told PSN. “Each time I’ve come up, it’s just been getting better and better, so it’s been great.”
It came down to Cincinnati, Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia, and after a visit to West Virginia over the first weekend of June and another to Pitt over the second weekend, Lindsey announced he moved his commitment up to Thursday.
He committed to Pitt, of course, but it wasn’t so much that he wanted to be the hometown kid that he felt like he fit in the best at Pitt. And his official visit certainly helped.
“I wouldn’t really say (staying home) was a big thing for me,” Lindsey said. “It would always be good just to stay home and be around a familiar place I’ve been around, so I’m familiar with most things, but I would say it wasn’t really the biggest thing for me, but I didn’t really mind it just being home, playing around the home.
“I would say after my official visit is when I really locked it in with Pitt. But I’ve had Pitt in my most recent, or my top schools that I’ve enjoyed coming to most since I would say probably the end of my football season, so they’ve been somebody that I’ve really considered among the other schools. And a place where I can see myself.”
When it comes to the actual on-field fit, he could play any of Pitt’s three linebacker spots. He’s fluid enough to drop back in coverage as a Star linebacker, his instincts are strong enough as a Mike linebacker to stay steady as a Mike linebacker and he’s certainly a strong enough edge to fill that Money linebacker slot.
But it’s the overall scheme, giving him the actual chance to play wherever he needs to — with the chance to play as soon as he needs to — that attracted him.
“I would say from a scheme standpoint, the way they’re pretty aggressive on defense, and how they like to blitz or attack the quarterback a lot, which is something I enjoyed doing when I played here at Aliquippa,” Lindsey said. “That was something that was big for me. And then just being versatile in the defense and possibly playing any of the three linebacker spots.”
Lindsey will join a linebacking corps upon graduating from Aliquippa that is certainly thin. Shayne Simon and Brandon George will be gone, and Bangally Kamara and Solomon DeShields will have decisions to make when it comes to their collegiate futures. Aydin Henningham and Kyle Louis haven’t played, and Braylan Lovelace, Jordan Bass and Rasheem Biles — while full of potential — just arrived.
Lindsey joins a 2024 recruiting class that features three-star Davin Brewton, and he’s certainly a player who should see the field much sooner than later. And you can credit that to his upbringing at Aliquippa.
“Coming in here, at Aliquippa, we’ve got so much talent, so to be able to come to another program and have just as much talent here — or the same level of talent — is great,” Lindsey said. “So, I know (the other top recruits) were dominant where they’re from, and I just feel that will only push me to become better and try to be the best version of myself.”
247Sports rates Lindsey as the 487th-ranked recruit in the class (44th-ranked linebacker and 12th-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania) while On3 rates him as the 503rd-ranked recruit in the class (55th-ranked linebacker and 12th-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania).
Rivals is even higher on Lindsey, rating him as the 22nd-ranked outside linebacker and the 11th-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania — holding a 5.8 Rivals Rating.
Lindsey joins a recruiting class that features four-star recruits in wide receiver DayDay Farmer, defensive tackle Jahsear Whittington and offensive lineman Caleb Holmes, and that’s just the announced class. There certainly may be more to come. But in the meantime, Lindsey is just happy to be where he needs to be.
“My mom told me she might come knock on my door a little bit, from time to time,” Lindsey said. “They feel great about it, and that was what was most important for me, just as long as my family was good with all that, I felt pretty good.”