When you know, you know. Jeremiah Marcelin had an idea that Pitt was where he needed to be when he landed in Pittsburgh earlier this month.
Marcelin — a 6-foot-3, 230-pound three-star linebacker from Norland High School in Opa Locka, Fla. — officially announced his commitment to Pitt, over fellow finalists Louisville and Maryland, Thursday afternoon, but he knew Pitt was it a few weeks beforehand.
“It probably was when I landed,” Marcelin told PSN. “As the plane was touching down and the wheels came down on the tarmac, it just felt like home. And I feel like that’s when I realized in my head already that this is where I need to be, this is where I’m going to be at.”
Marcelin quietly made an official visit to Pittsburgh over the first weekend of June, keeping it off social media, and the extended look at the program was what made his choice an easy one.
“It went very well,” Marcelin said. “You can’t really think too much. When you visit Pitt, and you are able to just see everything, especially on an official after a great unofficial, it kinda seals the deal.
“I was able to see more of the interaction between coaches and players and them giving us a rundown of not just football but everything academically, city wise, opportunity, everything that’s there, that makes the difference, that’s the difference.”
It was a full-court press from Pitt’s coaching staff, with Pat Narduzzi, Randy Bates, Charlie Partridge and Ryan Manalac all spending time with Marcelin during the visit, and the relationship he’s built with Manalac was certainly a factor, too.
“He’s a real cool dude,” Marcelin said. “He’s a young guy, so he’s always cracking jokes and stuff, he really is a players’ coach though, and he’s really smart with the football stuff. So, he’s gonna coach you at a high level, him playing at a high level and stuff, he’s got all the tools to help you get there. He just helped put SirVocea (Dennis) in the league, so he’s got the tools to help you get there.”
Marcelin watched how Manalac worked with Dennis last season, and as he was able to see how he’d fit into the defense as a Mike or Money linebacker, it only became more appealing to work in Pitt’s defense. It fits him to a T, and he fits the defense to a T. It’s a perfect fit.
As a junior at Norland, Marcelin racked up 82 tackles (25 solo), 27 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks as an impact player on the way to a regional semifinal, earning All-County and All-State honors for his efforts.
247Sports rates Marcelin as the 623rd-ranked recruit in the class (39th-ranked edge rusher and 92nd-ranked recruit from Florida) while On3 rates him as the 534th-ranked recruit in the class (59th-ranked linebacker and 66th-ranked recruit from Florida).
Rivals rates him as the 36th-ranked outside linebacker and 85th-ranked recruit from Florida — holding a 5.7 Rivals Rating.
Aside from just Louisville and Maryland, Marcelin chose Pitt over the likes of Auburn, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky, Miami, Ole Miss, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCF and West Virginia. He was an in-demand recruit in the class, and while Pitt’s coaching staff did all it could to secure his commitment, it helped hearing from the current Pitt players.
His host over the visit was Lamar Seymore, who he was acquainted with during their time in the Miami area, and the chance to catch up was important.
“A lot of programs preach it, but hearing it from the guys, it clarifies it for you,” Marcelin said. “He said they really do take care of you. You gotta work for your spot, but that’s everywhere you go, that ain’t nothing unheard of, but the biggest thing is that they really take care of you over there. And if you need help with anything, they’re gonna be able to get it to you.”
And now as the newest Pitt Panther, he’s just excited to get the chance to come back to Pittsburgh — early — and get to work.
“I’m ready to work, I’m ready to come in in January and just put in the work,” Marcelin said. “Come in for a starting spot, that’s just what it is, and it’s time to work.”