Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A look at Pitt's football recruiting- Defense

Defensive Line

Roster:  It's on defense where the Panthers should get better in a very dramatic way. Pat Narduzzi and his defensive staff can really recruit, and players will love to play for Narduzzi and his charismatic defensive staff. But also, there's a lot to upgrade.

The defensive ends at the moment are suspect in both high end talent and depth. This is the last year for Ejuan Blair and Shakir Soto will have just one year after this. True sophomore Rori Blair has a chance to be very good as does incoming juco player Allen Edwards. But after that there's a big drop off.  Bottom line, this group needs a major overhaul.

At defensive tackle, the situation is just as dire since Darryl Render and Khaynin Mosley-Smith will be moving on after this season, and Tyrique Jarrett will be gone after next season.

2016:  Narduzzi added a big piece of the puzzle already by adding Tennessee transfer Dewayne Hendrix.  He's a former big time recruit that will have three years to play. He has the potential to be a star. But I expect two more at this position. The good news is, there are a lot of good choices.

Philadelphia end Karamo Dioubate is a clone of Hendrix and he is expected to visit Pitt next month. But the competition is brutal. Zach Gilbert, son of former Pitt star Sean, lives in North Carolina, but the staff is trying to get him to follow in the footsteps of his father. He's excellent. A couple of undersized sleepers from Philadelphia, Shaka Toney and Andre Mintze, are in the mix, and both could be good once they get bigger. In all, there's about 16 offers still remaining from around the country.

Like at end, quick playing time will help in landing quality tackles. A local, Rashad Wheeler, is a Pitt/PSU battle, and it would be a big win if the Panthers can land him. New Jersey's Michael Dwumfour showed well at Pitt camp, and now the Panthers are a major player in getting his commitment.  Harrisburg's Anthony Long tried to commit to the Panthers once so he could end up doing it again. About ten others are offered from around the country, many from Florida, including stud Aaron Thompson, who has Pitt among his top group.

2017:  Harrisburg's Damion Barber and Virginian Tyjuan Garbutt already have offers, and both should be major targets. Garbutt picked his first offer up at Pitt camp last week but he is expected to have many more. A must get is Donovan Jeter of Beaver Falls. He is the brother of Pitt basketball player Sheldon Jeter.  He will probably end up at defensive tackle.


Linebackers

Roster:  Nicholas Grigsby graduates after this season and Bam Bradley, Mike Caprara, and Matt Galambos will be gone after next season, but the underclassmen are a good start to improving the position.

Quintin Wirginis is just a sophomore, and James Folson and Jamal Davis are redshirt freshmen. They all have good potential. Incoming freshmen Anthony McKee and Salem Brightwell have an even higher upside. Five good young players is a nice start, but you can't have a great defense without great linebackers so more high quality additions are needed.

2016:  There's no WPIAL prospects at this position, or in Pennsylvania really, so this linebacker class is more of an unknown. There's nearly 20 offers out there to uncommitted players and with recruiting ace Rob Harley the linebacker coach, I wouldn't worry about them adding a couple of really good additions. One real gem would be Cameron Brown of Maryland. The 6'6" Brown has Pitt in his top 10 and he loves Narduzzi.

2017:  The staff already has seven offers out for this class which shows just how much they want to land top linebackers in this year. One local, David Adams of Central Catholic, will be a major target.


Defensive Backs

Roster:  This is may be the most interesting unit on the team because Narduzzi is known for great secondaries, there's already good young talent on the roster, and there's a chance to get amazing talent here in the next few years.

Lafayette Pitts is the only senior and there is plenty of good young talent.  Reggie Mitchell and Terrish Webb will be around for two more years and Avonte Maddox, Pat Amara, Dennis Briggs, and Phillipie Motley all have talent. If that's not good enough, incoming freshmen Malik Henderson and Dane Jackson are good, Jay Stocker is potentially excellent, and Jordan Whitehead has star potential. The future is bright even without a potential great DB class or two coming.

2016:  Tony Butler is already in the fold, at least for now. He's a perfect fit for Narduzzi's defense.  There's been a worry that he could flip, and while he would be a great addition, there's potentially so much talent in the unit that it may prove to not be devestating in the long run if he did flip. As any Panthers fan knows, WPIAL stars Damar Hamlin and Khaleke Hudson are the big time possibilities. Hamlin can project at corner or safety, while Hudson is a safety.  Other locals, cornerback Therran Coleman and safety Bricen Garner, are just two of many that are interested in the Panthers. Bottom line, when Narduzzi is your coach, defensive backs are interested.

2017:  The Panthers may already have an embarrassment of riches by this time, but it could get even better. Two locals, cornerback Lamont Wade, and safety Paris Ford, are as about as elite as prospects come, and the Panthers will be heavily involved with both.  Connor Hayward, son of Ironed, is also a top safety that has an offer.

43 comments:

  1. So you mentioned Narduzzi can really recruit. Can you provide evidence of this other than what you think might happen?

    So far, we have 3 recruits. The one on defense is wavering, so let's look at where we stand from what I have heard.

    Defensive Line, you mention
    Dioubate - We have no real shot.
    Gilbert - We have a shot, but I am hearing UNC
    Wheeler - Pitt/PSU. I think he ends up at PSU
    Dwumfour - We land him
    Long - We land him
    Mintze - We land him
    Toney - Will end up at PSU

    Linebacker
    Cam Brown - You only mention him but we have slim to no shot here. PSU or ND

    Cornerback -
    Hamlin - Ends up at Pitt
    Garner - Pitt
    Coleman - Pitt
    Hudson - Penn State
    Butler - Michigan

    Outside of landing Hamlin, I don't see the evidence that Narduzzi is some great recruiting. Please tell me more if I'm wrong.

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    1. I assume you also talk to dozens of people at Pitt, outside college coaches, HS coaches, players, and parents. I get accused of being snarky when I say things like this but it's not like I'm just sitting here in a vacuum and guessing.

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    2. Feel free to tell me which you think they will get that I said they wouldn't on my list. I'll bet you any money Dioubate and Brown do not end up here. Outside of Hamlin, nothing on that list screams wow what a recruiter.

      Plus, if they are going to land them then that begs the question why haven't they?

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    3. Once again you keep telling me who they are not going to get when in reality you have no idea. Also, there's about a hundred offers whose names I haven't mentioned.

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    4. Well, you've talked to family, friends, coaches, parents....you should have a good idea who they are in good shape for if you have so much info on how great Pitt is doing. Put your name on some class predictions. I just made a list above. I think mine is fairly accurate.

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    5. I don't understand people complaining in the middle of June about the number of commits Pitt has. This staff is recruiting aggressively, and the final number only matters on letter-of-intent day.

      Good grief, people will find anything to complain about.

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    6. I don't make predictions eight months before signing day. The fact that you think it works like that says it all.

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    7. this is definitely one of the whack job trolls from scout who is a few fries short of a happy meal.

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  2. Fact is that many of these kids themselves have no clue where they will end up. There seems to be more uncomitted this year than in the past.

    Pitt is still an unknown with the new staff and all, but I'm confident that Pitt will get a handful of them, especially on defense.

    bill

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  3. The only person in the world that has as much info as me is Chris Peak, and he also thinks Pitt is going to end up with an excellent class. So that's pretty telling.

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    1. I don't know where the info about gilbert favoring unc over pitt is coming from. My kids go to the same high school as gilbert. My son says that gilbert is constantly wearing pitt gear. The rumor around the school is that gilbert has already decided on pitt and hasn't announced yet. I think he just may want to have some fun and take his visits.

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  4. This "Pitt only has 3 commits and 1 is wavering" narrative that has popped up in the last 2-3 weeks is getting really boring. Sorry to the Pitt fans whose instant gratification button isn't being pushed and they are not happy about it. It's June. Not much happens in the world of college football in June. This staff is out there trying to rebuild connections with high school coaches, and donors, and Pitt fans in general who have drifted away from the program thanks to the mediocrity of the Smiler (and the mediocrity in general), in addition to building relationships with the kids themselves, and they're still coming together as a staff no doubt, they've only been together since late January. And they're dealing with the infrastructure upgrades to Pitt's football facilities, and working with the players already on the roster. They're doing a lot of stuff that doesn't get into headlines or even most "mainstream media" news stories about Pitt football. They don't have a large number of scholarships to offer anyway this year, since PC loaded up with large classes to do the badly needed job of getting some depth on the roster after the attrition suffered thanks to Wanny's badly handled departure and the horrible decisions to hire Haygood and Graham.

    By LOI day next year Pitt will have a full class and from what everyone is saying except the same people who are always negative and don't have any inside information anyway, it will be better than any Pitt recruiting class since Wanny.

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    1. How dare you bring facts and common sense in to this discussion. Clearly a troll.

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    2. seriously, you troll scout, not you come here to troll? Get a life loser (start by leaving your parent's basement)

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  5. there are people who dislike Pitt for whatever reason & will be negative just like folks are negative about Lebron - it does not take a rocket scientist - to see and read = whats going on at PITT - with the new and vastly improved staff - and the fact that Coach Duzz is - born to be a head coach with nothing but a very bright future at PITT - great exp @ MSU and ready and anxious for his own gig when the time and place were right & PITT IS CERTAINLY IT !! With coaches like Chaney + Conklin + Harley etc + the job they did late - recruiting their first class speaks volumes to me The WINS will come believe me PITT as Chris has mentioned many X's is a sleeping giant - PITT & PITTSBURGH have so much to offer any student athlete and Narduzzi fits right in big time #H2P

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  6. Chris, what are your thoughts on Jeremiah Jones? He's camping at Pitt and it wouldn't surprise me if he committed if he got an offer.

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    1. Jones has been telling Pitt players for months that WVU hasn't been giving him much attention and that he wants Pitt to offer. I don't know if they will at this time though. They have bigger targets at safety.

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    2. What a reversal of fortunes, WVU loses a kid because he isn't feeling the love from the WVU staff. If only Narduzzi was here for Dravon Henry... :/

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  7. Mark Gilbert is the kid I would love Pitt to land. He is one of the most polished high school corners I've looked at. Too bad a Duke lean.

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  8. If Narduzzi wins big this season, come LOI signing day we'll be just fine with a solid class full of four star commits and another class in the wings ready to join the party in 2017. Just win!

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  9. Doke:

    What do you mean when you say that Anthony Long tried to commit? How do you try to commit but not actually commit?

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    1. He committed on Twitter but Pitt didn't accept it.

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    2. What kind of commit will Pitt find acceptable? Phone call? Email?

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    3. I live in Harrisburg. Like Doke said, he tweeted his commitment but he was told, so I am told, that Narduzzi will not accept commitments from players who are no currently academically eligible to play at Pitt. Long meets the NCAA minimums, so I am told, but is not currently eligible to enroll at Pitt. His GPA is too low for Pitt because they have slightly higher standards.

      I was told, and I'm not an insider or anything I just know from around town, that he was told Pitt will take 3 DTs in this class and that if his grades after the fall semester are good enough to qualify at Pitt and they haven't taken 3 DTs yet, he can commit. If Pitt already has 3 DT commits or his grades do not qualify him for Pitt he'll have to move on. He and WR Kobay White (also MCD) both have BC offers and surprising to me, BC uses the NCAA minimum and he'll go there if he cant get in to Pitt.

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    4. Thanks for this explanation. So his GPA rather than the mechanism he used to commit - i.e., Twitter - is the issue. Can you tell me what MCD means?

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    5. Sorry. Shady's old high school, Bishop McDevitt HS in Harrisburg.

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    6. I actually grew up in the Harrisburg area, and I remember that school in the pre Bishop McDevitt days when it was simply called Harrisburg Catholic. The name changed to McDevitt when I was in high school, and I still remember the night that our small school on the west shore beat the much bigger Bishop McDevitt on their field in the first football game of the year. It's still a great memory to this day!

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  10. Narduzzi and staff have generated interest and excitement that this program has not experienced in 35 years!! Get onboard and donate and buy season tickets!! Winning cures all ills and Pitt finally got it right with this hire!!

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  11. When you only have about 15 ships to offer and iit is June you don't load up a class with the lower level talent you could get in June (given Pitt's recent history). What good is it just to have numbers when you have plenty of 4 star talent that won't commit to Pitt or anywhere else for months who want to see Pitt's fall season performance before making a commitment decision for or against Pitt.

    Narduzzi and staff are doing exactly what they should be recruiting wise at this point..in time given the situation.

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  12. Thanks Chris I was wondering when you going to come out with some information on recruiting. Question they seem to have a lot of players at their camps but they didn't really give a lot of offers. Do you know if there was a lot of kids there that have offers already from the coaching staff? Thanks

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  13. Look, the first actual recruiting class where Narduzzi and staff will have a chance to actually develop relationships will be the 2017 class. Recruiting is really changing to where the coaches and staff start on these kids in 9th and 10th grades. This is why one of the issues plaguing the program has been lack of continuity.

    We have some nice players and some are going to come to Pitt in 16, but the nicer classes should be in 17. He will need to battle to keep his staff intact if we have 2 really good years recruiting and in the win loss column. Two top notch recruiters that Narduzzi couldn't bring with him to Pitt from MSU, are landing a couple nice defensive players and that is expected. Put up 8 wins in the coming season and the classes will definitely get stronger. With 8 wins, the recruiting pitch turns to "we won 8 games without you. We think you are worth one to two more wins. At that point, we are looking at 10 wins and high rankings" . That becomes realistic to top recruits. Compare that to PSU. PSU will never beat OSU, MSU and Michigan in the same year. They have no shot to win the big10 although this coming year their schedule is so easy, they will win their first 7, easily.

    Give Narduzzi some time. Panther fans need to step up and fill the stadium for YSU. That will help the negative recruiting about yellow seats.

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  14. Chris, for whatever reason, Pitt seems to have had trouble getting any commits from McKeesport. This year, Hudson is the big catch but it appears his focus is elsewhere and it is longer shot for him than the other WPIAL prize prospects to commit to Pitt.

    Is there any reason why we cannot recruit there ... Coach Smith maybe?

    bill

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    1. He said that the previous coach didn't want Pitt recruiting his players but the new one is okay with Pitt. And the Panthers are very much in it with him.

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  15. Doke - I am reading through this trail and am guessing that 'Anonymous' will soon start quoting 40 yard dash times. Do you know what I am saying? Stay away from that loser and keep up the great work!

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  16. Thanks for the update on the defensive side of the ball regarding recruiting. As you stated at the very beginning of the article this is the area of greatest need, or so it appears at this point. Continuing to patiently wait until at least the end of September before expecting any movement on the commits.

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  17. Blather is reporting macvittie is not firmly committed. Like Butler he is reported to be looking around. Any truth to this?

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  18. Chris, in response to the above I listed info that is in the formal Rivals.com recruits listing and it states only Macvitte is 'comitted'. If that is wrong it is Rivals with the false info, not The Blather who only referenced it.

    BTW - I used your two good recruiting articles that you just posted as links for our readers to get more info on PITT recruiting. Thanks for those..

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  19. All 3 players are, or were, listed as committed by Rivals. However, there were no commitment dates listed for either Butler or MacVittie. Maybe that U.S. The source of the confusion in Pantherland?

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  20. ^^^ I think that's right and I use the dates I always take the 'commitment date' as when the recruit formally verballed his intentions to play football at a school. If that verbal date isn't in effect, or if that date is erased, that's a different story. Anyway, apparently Macvitte isn't backing out so that's good.

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  21. All four recruiting sites have them committed but all of them are not signed. Ramblings of them wavering are just that. The staff no doubt is in their ears constantly to keep them committed. Personally I think this class will be better than most think.

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  22. The hiring of Narduzzi is a godsend. Over the course of the next several years he will lift up the program to a consistent 8-10 win plateau. I am not concerned about recruiting. He and his staff will do a great job in all areas. The big picture looks great. No one should be complaining.

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