Don’t look now but coach Ryan Manalac and Pitt’s coaching staff are quickly turning a lack of linebacker depth into some serious future potential.
With Jeremiah Marcelin’s commitment Thursday afternoon, Pitt has landed six linebacker commitments over the last 12-ish months, three of whom have signed and three of whom are verbal commitments.
With a class of Jordan Bass, Braylan Lovelace and Rasheem Biles in the class of 2023, Pitt landed a handful of intriguing recruits. Bass was Pitt’s highest-rated recruit in the class, Lovelace was Pitt’s top early enrollee of the spring session and Biles offers some hard-hitting potential as he arrives to campus this month.
It was a strong class of 2023, and the class of 2024 is rapidly rounding into shape behind it. Marcelin, Cameron Lindsey and Davin Brewton form a versatile linebacking corps that offers a lot of intrigue.
So, let’s look at the future of Pitt’s linebacking depth:
Jordan Bass — 6-foot-4, 215-pound four-star linebacker from Phoebus in Hampton, Virginia
Braylan Lovelace — 6-foot-2, 220-pound three-star linebacker from Leechburg Area in Leechburg, Pennsylvania
Rasheem Biles — 6-foot-1, 195-pound three-star linebacker from Pickerington Central in Pickerington, Ohio
It’s still too early to realistically determine the impact of the 2023 class, since, you know, there hasn’t been a down of football played yet. But. BUT. There’s a lot of potential here.
Let’s look at each member individually based on quotes from Pat Narduzzi.
“I’ll tell you another guy who has been impressive. Braylan Lovelace, for a true freshman, he’s gonna be going to Prom here in another month, but he’s been impressive as well flying around at the linebacker spot. He had a great kind of chase down — I think Rodney at one point, just had a great angle.”
Lovelace was the only 2023 linebacker to enroll at Pitt in January, and it paid off. He was the top early enrollee of the spring session, according to Narduzzi himself, and he should work himself into a two-deep role throughout fall camp.
He may not have been the highest-ranked recruit in the class, but the hometown kid is certainly someone to watch going forward.
“Coach Manalac and I were at (the state championship game) and hung on the fence. Just watched from down there. And he was the best player on the field by far. He’s gigantic. It says 6-2, he’s 6-4. That’s probably correct. 215 pounds. He’s athletic. He’s tough. He’s smart. He’s got the whole package as well. We think this guy can be a special guy. He could probably go out and help us at receiver as well. We may try him out there.”
I will attempt to tone back my enthusiasm here. I’ve written a lot about Bass since he committed to Pitt, and I still feel like he’s the caliber of recruit who will be able to carve out playing time immediately.
He doesn’t have the advantage of enrolling early, but I expect him to emerge in fall camp as a quick learner and slowly carve out a role in the linebacking corps. He’s a serious impact player down the line.
“Little skinnier guy but really athletic. He’s a punt returner, plays all over the field. Played safety. I mean, he does it all. He returned punts. He got banged up during the year, so he wasn’t able to finish his senior year. So, he’ll come in healthy on Aug. 4, or I guess at the end of July. But just an explosive player that probably will fit out at our Star position. Just an extremely gifted individual athletically.”
Biles put up massive numbers across the board to kick off his senior season in Ohio, but an unfortunate injury ended his season before he could wrap up a truly elite season. But the injury only allowed him to grow closer with Pitt and his future teammates in the end.
Like Bass, he doesn’t have the advantage of enrolling early, but he still has the chance to put together a strong fall camp.
Cameron Lindsey — 6-foot-2, 205-pound four-star linebacker from Aliquippa High in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania
Jeremiah Marcelin — 6-foot-3, 230-pound three-star linebacker from Norland High in Opa Locka, Florida
Davin Brewton — 6-foot, 200-pound three-star linebacker from Red Bank Catholic in Red Bank, New Jersey
The 2024 class hasn’t even signed yet, but it’s a very, very intriguing follow-up to an already intriguing class.
Brewton started off the commitments back in May, and Lindsey and Marcelin followed up with commitments after their official visits to Pittsburgh over the course of June.
So, let’s look in on each of Pitt’s three linebacker commitments in the class of 2024:
Lindsey, admittedly, is the biggest commitment in Pitt’s class of 2024 to this point, serving as both a continuation of Pitt’s Aliquippa pipeline and a truly impactful member of Pitt’s recruiting class on and off the field.
He may not be the highest-ranked recruit in the class, but he’s an outstanding addition, nonetheless.
Marcelin is Pitt’s most recent commitment, pledging himself Thursday afternoon, and he’s the sort of athletic freak that Pitt fans should be excited about in the future. His versatility, with the ability to play inside and outside, is a plus, and he picked Pitt over some serious programs.
Brewton was the first linebacker to commit to Pitt’s class of 2024, and he appears to be a Mike linebacker in Pitt’s system. He’s instinctual and hits hard from the middle of the defense.
Bass, Lovelace and Biles followed by Lindsey, Marcelin and Brewton would be an excellent two-season stretch for Pitt, and it restocks the linebacking corps with potential and versatility in the seasons to come.
Star: Bangally Kamara – Braylan Lovelace – Jordan Bass
Mike: Shayne Simon – Brandon George – Rasheem Biles
Money: Solomon DeShields – Nick Lapi – Kyle Louis/Aydin Henningham
Star: Bangally Kamara – Jordan Bass/Braylan Lovelace – Cameron Lindsey/Rasheem Biles
Mike: Nick Lapi – Jeremiah Marcelin – Davin Brewton
Money: Solomon DeShields – Kyle Louis/Aydin Henningham
Star: Jordan Bass/Braylan Lovelace – Cameron Lindsey/Rasheem Biles
Mike: Jeremiah Marcelin – Davin Brewton
Money: Kyle Louis