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Pitt Offer is Dream Come True for 2027 WPIAL DB Zachary Gleason Jr.



Pitt target Zachary Gleason Jr.

Zachary Gleason Jr. wasn’t expecting an offer from Pitt so soon, but he couldn’t be happier now that it’s officially arrived.

Gleason — a 6-foot, 165-pound defensive back from Chartiers Valley in Bridgeville, Pa. in the class of 2027 — picked up his first Division I offer from Akron on Monday, following a standout performance at the Pitt Rising Stars camp over the weekend, and the Panthers followed suit on Tuesday.

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“It means a lot, like Pitt has always been a dream since I was little,” Gleason told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “And I never thought I would get it so early, but it shows whatever you do, if you work hard, you can fulfill that dream.”

Cory Sanders, who watched Gleason up close over the weekend at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, was impressed with the way he carried himself as one of the younger players in attendance. Gleason is a long, aggressive corner who can smother wideouts at the line of scrimmage and in coverage.

“Coach (Sanders) said I have good attention to detail, coach things up, I can get it on it real quick and do the drills smoothly,” Gleason said. “I just went in, got a lot of reps, as many reps as I could, and played football.”

Sanders extended the offer on Tuesday, speaking with Gleason and Chartiers Valley head coach Aaron Fitzpatrick, but it was the performance over the weekend that laid the foundation for a strong relationship.

“He’s a real cool dude, coach Cory,” Gleason said. “He was talking about my length and my size, how I can do well in one-on-ones. I’m a pretty technical dude, just able to go out there and play football. And I have attention to detail to his coaching.”

The relationship with the coaching staff is one thing, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that Gleason grew up watching the Panthers. He’s a big fan actually. He grew up with the likes of Damar Hamlin and Dane Jackson and Jason Pinnock gracing the Pitt secondary, and Hamlin — who has gotten to work with through his 7v7 squad Evolve — grew into his favorite player.

“I love watching Damar Hamlin play,” Gleason said. “I try to model my game after him.”

It’s still very early in Gleason’s recruiting chase, as he enters his sophomore season at Chartiers Valley, but with two offers rolling in over the last two days, it’s a good bet that will continue — especially as he takes trips to Penn State and Miami (Oh.) for camps this summer.

Gleason is confident that he’s going to keep a level head through the process. He’s staying hungry and humble for his late father.

“I plan to just keep working, keep grinding and whatever comes my way, comes,” Gleason said. “I’m not really worried about, just gonna continue to play football and grind. … My dad would always tell me that I haven’t done nothing yet, and he’s not with us to this day, so that’s what keeps me real focused, dong all the stuff for him.”

Pitt is the first Power Four school to extend Gleason an offer, and that won’t be forgotten. He already has a strong bond with the school and the football program.

“I love going to Pitt games, watching Pitt,” Gleason said. “I love Pitt.”

WPIAL Class of 2027 with Pitt Offers

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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