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Pitt History Shows 4-Star Recruits Aren’t Necessary for Success



Pitt has won succeeded throughout Pat Narduzzi's tenure with three-star recruits rather than the the best high school talent

Four and five-star recruits are something that always have college fanbases talking.

Depending on the level of program, fans judge how well their team did recruiting by how many four-star recruits their team signs.

Pitt isn’t on the level of the college football elite in Georgia, Ohio State and Notre Dame in terms of the number of four-star recruits they bring in, but as they continue to win, that number is increasing.

In this current Class of 2024, Pitt has received commitments from four four-star recruits and there’s a good chance that number increases in the near future.

The funny thing is that when you look at things, a large majority of the players that have had success and gone on to the NFL during the Pat Narduzzi era, they have been three-star recruits or lower.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett, Jordan Addison, defensive linemen in Calijah Kancey Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones, defensive back Dane Jackson, running back Israel Abanikanda, offensive lineman Brian O’Neill and others didn’t receive a 4-star designation by the recruiting services.

Linebacker SirVocea Dennis, who came to Pitt as a two-star in the Class of 2019, played an important role during his four seasons with the program. He led the team in tackles during that time with 57 in 2020, 87 in 2021 and 94 in 2022. Dennis finished his four-year career as a Panther with 233 tackles, 36.0 tackles for loss, 15.0 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as the mike linebacker.

This is not to say that bringing in four-star players isn’t important, however, it doesn’t mean that your program can’t have success if you don’t, and Pitt is a posterchild for that.

The other aspect of this is just because you’re a four-star recruit, that doesn’t guarantee you success.

Since taking over in 2016, Narduzzi and his assistants have brought in 18 Rivals 4-star recruits and the results on most of those players has been shaky.


Class of 2016
Damar Hamlin, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 5.9 rating.
George Hill, Hubbard, Ohio, 5.8 rating.
Kaezon Pugh, Aliquippa, 5.8 rating.
Ruben Flowers, Lima, Ohio, 5.8 rating.

Class of 2017
A.J. Davis, Lakeland, Fla., 5.8 rating.
Charles Reeves, Steubenville, Ohio, 5.8 rating.
Paris Ford, Steel Valley, 6.0 rating.

Class of 2018
Mychale Salahuddin, Washington DC, 5.9 rating.

Class of 2019
Davis Beville, Greenville, S.C., 5.8 rating.

Class of 2020
Rashad Battle, Fairburn, Ga., 5.8 rating.
Jahvante Royal, Fort Lauderdale, Fla, 5.8 rating.
Dayon Hayes, Westinghouse High School, 5.8 rating.

Class of 2021
Naquan Brown, Virginia Beach, Va., 5.8 rating.
Elliot Donald, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 5.9 rating.
Nahki Johnson, West Mifflin High School, 5.8 rating.

Class of 2022
Samuel Okunlola, Brockton, Mass., 5.8 rating.
Ryan Baer, Eastlake, Ohio, 5.8 rating.
Isaiah Neal, Baltimore, Md, 5.8 rating.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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11 months ago

Definitely good stats to know about. Yes, the Pitt program has definitely been successful and Narduzzi, and staff, have done a fantastic job at maximizing the true abilities of his lower rated recruits. However, I’m not sure if it’s realistic to win a National Championship (the true stated goal that has been exclaimed by various Pitt players) without doing a better job at landing the high-performing elite recruits. Let’s face it, this is why Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Clemson are almost always ranked in the Top-5 nationally. Pitt has leapt over a big/enjoyable hurdle winning the ACC, and finally… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Giovanni

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