I can’t claim to know Cameron Lindsey that well. But from what I do know, he’s a soft-spoken, respectful young man, a beloved son of the Aliquippa community, and that means something.
Yeah, his play on the football field is important, and we’ll get to that, but in a Pitt program where brotherhood and community are such strong factors, Lindsey embodies what that means. He’s a hometown hero — even if that wasn’t something that Lindsey was thinking about when he committed to Pitt Thursday afternoon.
The Aliquippa Black Box theater was full Thursday afternoon with friends and family and supporters, and as Lindsey sat at the table flanked by mom and dad, auntie and grandma, he was emotional.
“I want to thank this guy right here… ” he trailed off, his voice cracking as he looked at his father Dwight. “Everybody up here is my biggest supporter, and without them, I don’t know where I’d be.”
But it isn’t just Lindsey’s family, the dozens and dozens of family members who piled into the theater and filled the seats along the walls in support, but the community as a whole. Aliquippa is a proud community, and the support of the community is all-encompassing. Lindsey’s commitment, deciding to stay home to play major Division I football, is what it’s all about.
I could feel the pride, the community, and maybe most importantly, the love as Lindsey made his commitment. Lindsey’s family arrived well before he did, as he arrived with his mom just before his commitment, and they stayed well after to celebrate. Another WPIAL star staying home.
Pitt’s WPIAL recruiting efforts are often well-publicized, in every aspect, and while the Pitt coaching staff may not prioritize every single WPIAL star out there, Lindsey was a priority. Narduzzi, as well as Ryan Manalac, Dave Borbely, Cory Sanders and Karlo Zovko, spared no expense when it came to recruiting Lindsey.
He was a priority. And he was made to feel as such. And while I don’t want to say that Pitt doesn’t want to land WPIAL stars, the staff actually — more often than not — offers the hometown kids before anyone else, but Lindsey was one that the staff felt was important. And it doesn’t hurt that it continues the Aliquippa to Pitt pipeline.
The likes of Mike Ditka, Sean Gilbert, Darrelle Revis and Jon Baldwin have starred at Pitt over the years. As of the 2023 season, former Quips Eli Kosanovich and M.J. Devonshire will be holding it down at Pitt.
There’s a proud tradition of Quips holding it down at Pitt, and Lindsey will be the next to do so. And it just so happens that he will do so at a position of need going forward.
Pitt will lose Shayne Simon, Brandon George, Bangally Kamara and Solomon DeShields over the next couple of seasons, and that’s about 80% of Pitt’s linebacking depth as it stands right now.
There’s a lot of inexperience in the linebackers room, but there is help on the way. Jordan Bass has all the potential in the world, Rasheem Biles is a hard, hard hitter and Braylan Lovelace was Pitt’s top early enrollee — regardless of position — in the spring.
Davin Brewton was Pitt’s first linebacker commitment in the class of 2024, filling the Mike linebacker slot, and Lindsey is a versatile piece — in a 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame — that could play all three positions.
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.
As a sophomore, he recorded 86 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and recoveries and two interceptions with both returned for touchdowns. And in both seasons? The Quips won WPIAL titles and advanced to the PIAA championship game.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s a playmaker offensively either, showcasing the ability to find the end zone offensively or defensively.
Lindsey’s ability points toward a Star linebacker role, but he could play either Star or Money in Pitt’s defensive scheme. 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.”
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, the prior success in Pittsburgh and the ability to make an early impact in the linebacking corps won out.
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 is a perfect addition when it comes to both the culture and the football future of Pitt football. And it just so happens that he is a crowning piece of Pitt’s 2024 recruiting place.