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Pitt FB Recruiting

Closer Look at the First Weekend of Pitt Official Visitors – Offense



A Pitt football helmet sits at a player's feet during a timeout against Virginia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now.)

Pitt has done a solid job of building the foundation for its class of 2025, but the June official visit window is when the Panthers add more than ever.

There are six commitments in the class as it stands before the first visit window, but if the past few years are any indication, the Panthers will add a handful of commitments this weekend, next weekend and the weekend after that.

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But of course, the weekend is already underway. The first crop of official visitors is already in Pittsburgh. So, let’s take a look at those on the offensive side of the ball.

Three commits, one quarterback and two wide receivers. Two more wide receivers, two offensive linemen and a tight end are also in town.

Pitt quarterback commit Mason Heintschel.

Photo courtesy of Mason Heintschel’s Twitter account.

Mason Heintschel — 6-foot-2, 220-pound three-star quarterback from Clay in Oregon, Ohio (COMMIT)

He committed to Pitt in March over offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Coastal Carolina, Kent State, Liberty, Ohio and Toledo.

Pitt extended Heinstchel his first Power Four offer back on Feb. 9. It was an effort spearheaded by Archie Collins and furthered by a strong bond built with Kade Bell — an instant connection that has led to daily communication.

Heintschel carried Clay as a junior, racking up over 3,000 yards of total offense and 33 touchdowns despite a lackluster offensive line in front of him, and he looks like the ideal fit in a Bell-led offensive scheme.

247Sports rates Heintschel as the 55th-ranked quarterback and 43rd-ranked recruit from Ohio while Rivals rates him as the 32nd-ranked recruit from Ohio — and a 5.6 Rivals Rating.

Heintschel was a little-known recruit when he committed to Pitt, but he has the potential to explode during his senior season. He’s an excellent value.

Byron Nelson — 6-foot-3, 280-pound three-star offensive lineman from Katy in Katy, Tx.

He holds offers from Arkansas State, Cal, Colorado State, Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Pitt, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulane, UTEP and Vanderbilt.

Nelson has been hearing from Pitt as part of the Panthers’ push into Texas, with Jeremy Darveau extending an offer on Feb. 8.

247Sports rates Nelson as the 105th-ranked interior offensive lineman and 202nd-ranked recruit from Texas while On3 rates him as the 57th-ranked interior offensive lineman and 145th-ranked recruit from Texas.

He hasn’t been to Pittsburgh yet, but what better time than the present? He’s a mauling run blocker who would fit in well on the interior of the offensive line.

Denzil Williams — a 6-foot-3, 295-pound three-star offensive lineman from Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, N.Y.

He holds offers from Boston College, Bryant, Buffalo, Delaware, Duke, Fordham, Georgetown, JMU, Massachusetts, Monmouth, Temple and UNLV.

Williams has been in contact with Pitt for quite a while, ever since former offensive line coach Dave Borbely first reached out in the spring of 2023, but it’s really picked up since Jeremy Darveau extended an offer in May.

Pitt has specifically told Williams where he’d slot into the lineup at Pitt, but it’s likely on the interior of the line.

Williams is rated as the 110th-ranked interior offensive lineman and 12th-ranked recruit from New York by On3, but neither 247Sports nor Rivals have rated him yet.

Pitt is near the top for Williams, so if Pitt is ready to lock in his commitment (which is usually the case for official visitors), there’s a decent chance he will leave Pittsburgh as a Panther.

DaMarion Fowlkes — 5-foot-10, 170-pound three-star wide receiver from Good Counsel in Olney, Md.

He holds offers from Boston College, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Charlotte, ECU, Indiana, JMU, Kent State, Liberty, Memphis, Old Dominion, Pitt, Temple, UNLV, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

Former running backs coach Andre Powell initially extended Fowlkes an offer last year, during the season in October, but JJ Laster picked up right where Powell left off. And it’s led to an official visit opportunity.

Fowlkes hasn’t been ranked by any of the major recruiting services, but he does hold a 5.5 Rivals Rating.

Kade Bell has a type when it comes to the wide receivers he’s recruiting, and Fowlkes fits that mold. He’s a shorter, faster wideout who can play inside and outside. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a strong visit leads to a commit by the time he leaves.

Pitt wide receiver commit Tony Kinsler.

Photo courtesy of Tony Kinsler’s Twitter account.

Tony Kinsler — 5-foot-11, 165-pound three-star wide receiver from Spruce Creek in Port Orange, Fla. (COMMIT)

He committed to Pitt over offers from Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, FAU, Georgia Southern, Indiana, Marshall, UMass, Tulane, USF, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Western Michigan.

Pitt was the first school to jump into the fray for Kinsler, with Pat Narduzzi and former wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood extending an offer on Jan. 25, 2023. The relationship progressed over the last year and a half, enough to secure his commitment.

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.

247Sports rates him as the 635th-ranked recruit in the class (100th-ranked wide receiver and 87th-ranked recruit in Florida) while Rivals rates him as the 19th-ranked all-purpose back — holding a 5.7 Rivals Rating.

Kinsler is a unique athlete in that he’d likely be able to play running back or wide receiver at Pitt, and he was pitched exactly that kind of hybrid role in the offense.

Bryce Yates — 6-foot, 160-pound three-star wide receiver from Matoaca in Chesterfield, Va. (COMMIT)

He committed to Pitt over offers from Appalachian State, Buffalo, Charlotte, Duke, East Carolina, JMU, Marshall, Maryland, UMass, Old Dominion, Temple and Yale.

Pitt jumped into the fray for Yates late last year, with former assistants Tiquan Underwood and Andre Powell leading his recruiting chase, but the Panthers coaching staff was heavy on Yates afterward. Narduzzi was a constant throughout Yates’ entire recruitment.

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.

Bell sold Yates on serving as a do-it-all slot receiver, in the mold of LSU’s Justin Jefferson in the 2019 season.

Ja’Kyrian Turner — 5-foot-9, 160-pound three-star athlete from South Sumter in Bushnell, Fla.

He holds offers from Delaware, Eastern Michigan, FAU, Nebraska, Pitt, Texas State, USF, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

Turner has been hearing from Pitt since early last year, with former tight ends coach Tim Salem leading the charge, but he’s continued to hear from Pat Narduzzi, Kade Bell and Lindsey Lamar since.

247Sports rates Turner as the 66th-ranked athlete and 89th-ranked recruit from Florida while On3 rates him as the 85th-ranked athlete and 141st-ranked recruit from Florida.

50 carries for 533 yards (10.6 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns, 15 carries for 203 yards (13.5 yards per reception) and three touchdowns — adding 37 tackles (15 solo), three interceptions and five pass breakups.

Turner is another wide receiver who’s smaller and faster, which is what Kade Bell likes. There will be a lot of wideouts in Pittsburgh over the weekend, including two commits, so there’s a lot of competition.

Max Hunt — 6-foot-5, 210-pound three-star tight end from Plant in Tampa, Fla.

He holds offers from Arkansas State, Bowling Green, ECU, Georgia Tech, Indiana, JMU, Middle Tennessee State, Pitt, Toledo, UAB and West Virginia.

Pitt jumped into the chase for Hunt earlier this year, with Cory Sanders officially extending an offer on Jan. 31. He’s a major tight end target in the class — a position of need considering the Panthers haven’t landed many tight ends over the last couple of classes.

Hunt has been given a 5.5 Rivals Rating by Rivals, but he hasn’t been ranked by 247Sports or On3.

Hunt showcased his offensive ability as a junior at Plant last season, hauling in 36 receptions for 424 yards (11.8 yards per reception) and six touchdowns. He’s long and lean, but it shouldn’t be a problem to pack on a few pounds of muscle to bolster his blocking at the next level.

If the visit goes well, it wouldn’t be a surprise to have Hunt leave Pittsburgh as one of the newest Panthers.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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11 days ago

Continues to be an underwhelming set of recruits compared the rest of the ACC let alone other power 4 conferences. I think you can only coach up so far.

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