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New Pitt WR Commit Bryce Yates Found His Home in Pittsburgh

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Pitt commit Bryce Yates.

Bryce Yates heard from the old Pitt coaching staff late last year, but it meant a lot to him when he continued to hear from the new staff.

Yates — a 6-foot, 160-pound three-star wide receiver from Matoaca High in Chesterfield, Va. — initially picked up an offer from former wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood and the Panthers in late December, but once the old staff left, Kade Bell and JJ Laster were there almost immediately. That mattered.

Bell and Laster emphasized that Yates still had a committable offer. That Pitt staff was heavy on him, made sure he felt like a priority and continued to pursue him heavily.

“Their coaching staff was just amazing off the rip,” Yates told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “When (Pat Narduzzi) made those changes with the new receiver coach, new offensive coordinator, they stepped in and did a pretty good job making me feel wanted.

“When I went up there for practice, they made me feel at home and I know I can trust them. And I know that if I go in and work hard my freshman year, I’ll have a chance to make an impact on the team.”

Yates held offers from Appalachian State, Buffalo, Charlotte, Duke, East Carolina, JMU, Marshall, Maryland, UMass, Old Dominion, Pitt, Temple and Yale. It came down to Duke and Pitt, but it was pretty clear to Yates where he needed to be after his first visit to Pittsburgh for a spring practice in March.

“Yeah, from that moment, I kind of kept it in mind, but even when I left, they contacted me non-stop and made it clear that they really wanted me,” Yates said.

It was his first time in Pittsburgh for anything, about a six-hour drive from his home in Chesterfield, just outside of Richmond, but he felt like family upon arriving. He was picked up; his family was treated like they’d been at Pitt for years and catered to the entire time. It was just a great experience, one that left him wanting more.

Yates initially planned to announce his commitment after his official visits in June, with visits for Duke and Pitt already scheduled, but he felt like he didn’t need to wait.

And now he plans to come to Pittsburgh and make an early impact. Bell told Yates that he sees him as a slot in the Pitt offense, and while it’s ambitious, he compared Yates to NFL star Justin Jefferson during his 2019 season at LSU.

Bell has advertised what he wants to do at Pitt offensively as similar to the LSU offense in 2019. Jefferson lined up in the slot on just about every one of his snaps, over 97%. It would be unfair to expect Yates to match Jefferson, but Bell likened Yates’ twitch and route running to Jefferson.

“Coach Bell told me he’s okay with taking an undersized guy that’s twitchy, can run good routes, get in and out of breaks,” Yates said. “And he said I’m the exact guy because I’m not the biggest, might not be the fastest, but I am twitchy, know how to run routes and can get open.”

Yates was the leading receiver at Matoaca as a junior, racking up 79 receptions for 1,193 yards (15.1 yards per reception) and 15 touchdowns — adding a 20-yard rushing touchdown. And his impact didn’t stop offensively, recording 27 tackles (19 solo), a tackle for loss and a team-high six interceptions.

247Sports rates Yates as the 30th-ranked athlete in the class and the 16th-ranked recruit from Virginia. Neither Rivals nor On3 have rated him yet, but he does hold a 5.5 Rivals Rating.

Yates fits the mold of what the Panthers offensive coaching staff is looking for when it comes to smaller, faster wide receivers. Yates isn’t the biggest wideout, but he’s versatile and has a history of playing fast — and he doesn’t want his impact to be limited to on-field success either.

“I do whatever to make people feel comfortable, make people feel safe,” Yates said. “And on the field, you can get a hard-working receiver that tracks the ball. Very passionate.”

It’s a dream come true for Yates to commit to Pitt. He waited his entire life for the moment he’d be able to commit to the Panthers, and he’s just thankful now that he received the opportunity to do so. Of course, he still has high expectations in the future, too.

“With the new rules for the college playoffs, when I get there in college, Pitt, we will be making the college playoffs,” Yates said.

Pitt now holds three commitments in the class of 2025, Yates, three-star defensive lineman Trevor Sommers (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and three-star quarterback Mason Heintschel (Oregon, Ohio), and it’s not unlikely that a couple more soon join the class this spring.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
27 days ago

160 lbs. glad they fended off Yale and Temple

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