— @CoachDuzzPittFB) February 2, 2016
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi posted this six-second video on Twitter on Monday night, a reaction by his entire staff to Central Catholic defensive back Damar Hamlin announcing on KDKA-TV that he will sign with Pitt.
Hamlin said he didn’t phone Narduzzi until after his announcement, so this is real, live, raw emotion. Upon viewing it, my first thought was: How would they react if they someday win the ACC? Also, why only six seconds. I wanted to see more.
Anyway, the coaches’ pride and joy are appropriate and well-deserved. These guys traveled all over the country, jumping from airplane to rental car to airplane all in the same day, talking to parents and coaches while hunting down prospects they believe will make Pitt a better team.
And they won’t be done after Wednesday. They plan to play host to 33 junior recruits this weekend.
With the approach of Wednesday’s signing day, Pitt’s 2016 class is shaping up as one of its best in many years (at least in the post-Wannstedt years). There are five four-star prospects, according to Rivals.com, and four of them play defense — a major area of need at Pitt.
Narduzzi looks like he will walk away with an impressive collection of Pennsylvania players — seven of the top 21 in the state, according to Rivals, led by No. 4 Hamlin and No. 7 Kaezon Pugh of Aliquippa. All seven played for WPIAL or City League schools.
The class is top-heavy with defensive players (14 of 22, with many people believing Lakeland, Fla., defensive tackle Keyshon Camp will pick Pitt on Wednesday and make it 15). Narduzzi saw a void and addressed it.
In my opinion, the class will rise and fall on the development of quarterback Thomas MacVittie, who may have to be the starter as soon as 2017. His signature on a letter of intent is critical, especially after Pitt lost quarterback prospects Tre’Von Chapman, Wade Freebeck and Alex Hornibrook off their 2013-15 commitment lists. (Chapman, actually, enrolled before he was dismissed in the wake of a domestic incident in 2013.)
There are players from eight states on Pitt’s ’16 list, with five below the Mason-Dixon Line (North Carolina, Florida and Virginia.) Of course, linebacker Chase Pine of Williamsburg, Va., defensive back Henry Miller of Kissimmee, Fla., and Camp are flirting with other schools. So stay tuned.
Neither Pitt nor Penn State are dominating the state, however. Yes, Penn State lost No. 14 Aaron Mathews to Pitt on Monday, but coach James Franklin still has commitments from three of the top six, including No. 1 Miles Sanders of Woodland Hills.
And, by the way, let me jump up on my soapbox for a minute:
Those people questioning Sanders’ mother assumed preference of Penn State need to mind their own business.
I can’t say I know for sure that she wants her son to go to Penn State (recruiting news is so much presumption, guesses and lies), but I know this:
In almost all cases, mother knows best.