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Pitt Fans ‘Getting What They Deserve’ in New WR Commit Tony Kinsler



Pitt wide receiver commit Tony Kinsler.

Tony Kinsler never forgot that he received his first official offer — Power Four or otherwise — came from Pitt. It may have been former wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood initially, but once new offensive coordinator Kade Bell reached out, a connection was formed.

But throughout the process, even before Bell and wide receivers coach JJ Laster arrived, Pitt always made him feel important. No one sent more mail than the Panthers.

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Kinsler — a 5-foot-11, 165-pound three-star wide receiver from Spruce Creek in Port Orange, Fla. — knew it was time to commit when Bell made a recent trip to visit him in Port Orange. He committed to Pitt Monday night over offers from Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, FAU, Georgia Southern, Indiana, Marshall, UMass, Tulane, USF, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Western Michigan.

It was the relationship with the Pitt coaching staff, primarily with Bell and Laster, that made Kinsler feel like he was ready to commit to Pitt. There’s communication just about every day.

“Ever since coach Kade came to see me in the middle of track season, we just always kept a good connection,” Kinsler said. “I met the receivers coach, and we kept a good connection. We just kept communicating, and I feel like Pitt is the right place to go.”

It didn’t hurt that Kinsler was pitched a similar role to the one he occupies at Spruce Creek. Bell told Kinsler he wanted a player who could get the ball in space and make things happen. Kinsler feels like he’s that player.

“I’m going to be playing slot, a little bit of wideout and he said I’d be getting the ball at running back, too,” Kinsler said. “Basically just giving me the ball and letting me go to work.”

Kinsler isn’t the biggest wideout, but he possesses the speed that new offensive coordinator Kade Bell desires in his wide receivers. Kinsler certainly fits the new mold that has emerged this spring. But it goes deeper than just being a smaller, faster wideout — his explosion and balance, at least at the high school level, are difference-makers. It wasn’t even about getting him the ball in space; it was about just getting him the ball any way possible.

Kinsler carried the ball 24 times for 322 yards (13.4 yards per carry) and four touchdowns and hauled in 64 receptions for 1,050 yards (16.4 yards per reception) and 12 touchdowns — serving as a dynamic all-purpose threat for Spruce Creek.

“(Pitt fans are) getting a dog,” Kinsler said. “I’m a dog. Off the field, I’m a cool person. I like to fish and whatnot, I’m a chill guy, but on the field, it’s go time.”

247Sports rates him as the 626nd-ranked recruit in the class (100th-ranked wide receiver and 86th-ranked recruit in Florida) while On3 rates him as the 795th-ranked recruit in the class (46th-ranked athlete and 96th-ranked recruit from Florida).

Now that Kinsler is committed, putting his recruitment process in the rearview mirror and looking ahead to the official visit scheduled for June 6-8, he’s excited for what’s to come. And relieved he can focus solely on what’s to come.

“I just really feel stress relief,” Kinsler said. “I’m really locked in, I really feel like I can focus on one school and I’m ready to get to work. It means a lot (being a Pitt Panther). I’m ready to work; Pitt fans are getting what they deserve.”

Pitt holds four commitments in the class of 2025, Kinsler, three-star wide receiver Bryce Yates (Chesterfield, Va.), three-star defensive lineman Trevor Sommers (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), three-star quarterback Mason Heintschel (Oregon, Ohio) and offensive lineman Shep Turk (Jefferson Hills, Pa.), and it’s not unlikely that a couple more soon join the class this spring.

Kinsler and Yates form a solid foundation for the class of 2025, two fast, quick-twitch wide receivers for Bell and the offensive staff to work with.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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