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February 5, 2016

Time to glance at some of the coverage.

Pitt did very well with the local talent this year. And it was a steady accumulation of local players. Not all from one visit or another. One here. One there. A few days, a week, a month even would pass between verbals. They all kept coming to the same conclusion that the combination of the coaches recruiting them and the local team were where they wanted to be.

The end result being that with only two exceptions, Pitt kept the best local players. That is a huge change, especially since this year and next are among the better years in terms of quality players coming out of the WPIAL ranks.

One of the last local recruits to verbal to Pitt was arguably the most important one for Pitt to get. Damar Hamlin. There are, arguably, higher ranked recruits in this class. And god knows, you can’t play any level of football any longer and have big success without a good QB — which Pitt appears to have landed as well. But in terms of need, local interest, and beating the big names in college football for his service. There was no one bigger for the coaching staff to land.

The coaches have said that they expect him to compete for a starting cornerback spot this year, and others do as well.

Damar Hamlin, a 6-1, 175-pound cornerback from Pittsburgh picking between Pitt, Ohio State, Penn State and ND: “The loosest hips and the best feet of any cornerback I’ve ever seen,” one longtime defensive coach in a Power 5 conference said. “He’s 6-1. He’s long. He’s physical and he’s fast. He’ll be a first-round corner.”

That quote came before signing day. If you watched the Pitt signing day special on Root Sports last night (or watch here), you might here echoes of that quote when Coach Pat Narduzzi talks about Hamlin and pretty much cops to being the source.

The coverage was very positive for Pitt locally, as the coaches closed strong. Giving a real sense of momentum for the program. No last minute losses, instead gains.

What sets this class apart from others of recent Pitt vintage is that the coaches had to fight off raids from other Power 5 schools and stick with some players who were willing to flip.

For example, Pitt signed three-star defensive tackle Keyshon Camp of Lakeland, Fla., after he had committed to Miami (Fla.) and USC and was on Missouri’s radar.

When Rutgers fired coach Kyle Flood, safety Phil Campbell and 365-pound offensive lineman Justin Morgan became Pitt recruits. Of Morgan, Narduzzi said: “He can hug you, and you might be gone.”

Penn State offered wide receiver Maurice Ffrench of New Jersey, Brashear cornerback Therran Coleman and Central Catholic defensive tackle Rashad Wheeler after they long had been committed to Pitt.

“They just flat-out turned them down,” Narduzzi said, referring only to “such and such school.”

“I don’t need to say which school,” he said. “What’s most important is that the kid gets what they want.”

Cornerback Henry Miller of Kissimmee, Fla., and linebacker Chase Pine of Williamsburg, Va., received late overtures from Miami and Virginia Tech, respectively, listened to them but stayed with Pitt.

Pitt also took Clairton wide receiver Aaron Mathews after he had been committed to Penn State for a month.

“He turned it up a little bit when I committed to Penn State,” Mathews said of Narduzzi. “There were coaches in and out of the school almost every day.”

Pitt’s recruitment of Mathews reached its zenith when a spot opened after Narduzzi soured on former Maryland wide receiver Juwann Winfree, who committed to Pitt in December.

“We traded lack of character for character,” Narduzzi said, never mentioning Winfree by name.

Narduzzi is really, really good at taking direct shots without ever being direct. Like a sniper.

Then adding two more kids who Pitt wasn’t even on from day one, shows how strong this coaching staff is at recruiting.

Just after 9 a.m., three-star defensive tackle Keyshon Camp, who previously committed to USC, called Narduzzi to give him the news that he had chosen Pitt over Missouri, Michigan and the Trojans.

“I can’t wait until you’re playing in this defense,” Narduzzi told Camp on the phone.

A few hours later, just before Narduzzi was set to meet with the media, Cooper City, Fla., defensive end Rashad Weaver called Narduzzi to give him the same news. Weaver previously committed to Michigan, but the Wolverines pulled his scholarship offer to clear space for other prospects.

“They dropped him for whatever reason,” Narduzzi said. “He’s a guy that really adds depth to our defensive line in this class.”

The whole staff deserves a lot of credit. They go in waves. They work together, so the recruit gets comfortable with more than one coach at a time.

Campus Insiders gave Pitt the edge in winning Pennsylvania this year.

Who won the state of Pennsylvania?
Pittsburgh. Pat Narduzzi is making his presence felt at Pitt, on and off the field. The second-year coach outhustled Penn State’s James Franklin in Pennsylvania, picking up gems like LB Kaezon Pugh and CB Damar Hamlin as well as plenty of depth. Franklin did sign two of the state’s premier talents, RB Miles Sanders and OG Michal Menet, so the newcomer cupboard will hardly be empty in Happy Valley.

Of course, momentum is now the next wave. God, junior day (weekend?) starts today.





Its all about money for the NCAA. There will be no harsh sanctions or punishment. Slaps on the wrist. The NCAA is a fat WHORE.

Comment by TX Panther 02.05.16 @ 9:09 pm

Gasman, the effort to resurrect Paterno’s image is what bothers me the most. Sandusky worked for him starting in 1966. He was the architect of Linebacker U, coaching the linebackers in 1970.

He started the Second Mile in 1977. He retired from football at age 55 in 1999. His first charge of pedophilia was in 2002. It is impossible to believe that no one suspected anything was wrong from 1977-2002. People don’t become pedophiles in their late 50’s. How many undocumented times were these issues brought to Paterno’s attention? There was at least one other time, that is known.

Paterno obviously knew or suspected something was very wrong for a long time. People had to look the other way for many years. People that worked at the second mile and spent time with these kids has to have suspicions. People intuitively know these things and protect their children. These poor kids had no one to protect them and the guys that should have looked the other way.

Paterno was fired and his statue taken down for a reason. People want to look the other way again and deny what happened.

Comment by gc 02.05.16 @ 9:17 pm

I would be very disappointed if they burn MacVitte’s RS, and I would be shocked if they did. You’re right gc, Peterman has to stay healthy all season.

A couple of these new guys played a running QB in HS and could run a triple option or wildcat for a couple plays too.

Comment by Jackagain 02.05.16 @ 9:26 pm

Well, the self sanction strategy that Louisville is taking was the same route Syracuse took to lessen or control future NCAA actions. The whole deal at North Carolina was out and out academic fraud. They were giving out “A” grades for their players with what the report refers to as courses with “little or no academic rigor.” They were cheating for a long time and were caught and still nothing has happened.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.16 @ 9:29 pm

GC,

No doubt the statue will be back, completing the blasphemy. It is oh, so consistent.

And you are correct: ol Jerry didn’t suddenly wake up, mid-life, with a hankering for little boys. I am sure there were rumors and while they were winning, deaf ears and blind eyes…
It always amazed me that he retired at the peak…supposedly as other schools (MD) were pursuing him.

Comment by Gasman 02.05.16 @ 9:42 pm

Sadly, more time to do the unthinkable if you’re not working.

Comment by Grizzly1 02.05.16 @ 9:47 pm

The quarterback issue is simple, They have to get Berke, DiNucci and MacVitte ready to play, just in case Peterman gets hurt. I include MacVitte just in case the other two don’t get there. Sometimes you get lucky. If you don’t have to you don’t burn his red-shirt, all the better. But I think they will have DiNucci and Berke ready. The 1976 Pitt National Championship team lost Heygood, then Cavanaugh, and Ussic, a walk on, started and won a few games. Matt Cavanaugh was able to come back and play well in the Sugar Bowl game.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.16 @ 9:57 pm

I really hope the 3 stooges do time, they will be treated as if they committed the crimes themselves. They deserve worse.

Comment by Nick 02.05.16 @ 10:06 pm

Yewcik, I believe

Comment by gc 02.05.16 @ 10:10 pm

Again…is this a Penn State blog. We know the history. Let it go gents.

Focus on Pitt.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.05.16 @ 10:39 pm

notrocketscience, guess what’s our next big football game coming up?

I suggest you get used to it since now we’re really recruiting against them head to head and will be playing them for the 4 years.

And Barnes is on record about wanting to extend it.

Gasman, the prairie pigeons need somewhere to take a crap.

Comment by Jackagain 02.05.16 @ 10:56 pm

notrocket, any time a sports scandal comes up, it will be compared with the biggest scandal ever.

Louisville provided hookers to recruits and parents and friends. Pitino is crying the blues about missing the tourneys. Should have been fired when he was caught screwing his girlfriend on a table in a friends restaurant. Obviously winning basketball is more important in Kentucky than ethics, morality, good taste etc.

Besides no one wants to talk about our big game tomorrow.

Comment by gc 02.05.16 @ 11:13 pm

Oh yeah…Virginia….I almost forgot.

Comment by Jackagain 02.05.16 @ 11:53 pm

Had a dental practice in the heart of Penn State territory for 30 years. One Saturday back in the late 80’s I get called in for a dental emergency and low and behold the patient is an avid Penn State fan. Dressed head to toe in blue and white. I said you must be a PSU fan and he yells in my face ‘ I am Penn State proud’. It took me a second to get a grip but I finally told him it was in his best interest to change his attitude since I was a Pitt grad.

Comment by Oklahomeboy 02.06.16 @ 6:33 am

Chase Pine will be a great LBer for us but no way he sees the field as a Freshman. Both McKee & Brightwell will keep that from happening. These two guys could make life for Caprara tuff both have the speed that our LB corps have lacked forever.

The Freshmen I think will be key contributors in 16 will be Hamlin, Camp, Flowers and Miller. I was really worried about losing Miller to Miami. His skill set is awesome and at 6’3″ his upside is huge. Don’t be surprised to see Miller in games this season when the opposition has a mismatch with a tall WR against our fast but short CB Maddox. Sometimes size trumps experience.

This coming season we will also see a positive transformation in our DL. The new names will be Edwards, Hendrix, Dintino & Camp. With Price coming back for a sixth year as well this crew is going to cause many a soiled underwear for severely pressured opposing QBs.

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.06.16 @ 6:59 am

@Oklahomeboy, now please don’t tell me that you dug out the expired lidocaine from the stockroom labeled “reserved for knucklehead penn state fans” for his anesthetic. That would be unethical. LOL.

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.06.16 @ 7:07 am

One thing is for sure, there will be a whole lotta competin join on come Spring and Fall camps.

Another good report yesterday regarding James Conner’s cancer treatments. He continue has not lost any of his “size”.

I’ll continue to pray for this young man and also our Blather friend who HATES OHIO STATE. May you both get healthy soon.

HTP!

Comment by Erie Express 02.06.16 @ 7:53 am

From the Trib: Returning linebackers Bam Bradley and Anthony McKee might be limited by shoulder injuries when spring drills begin next month. … Coaches are expecting 33 junior prospects on campus this weekend.

Comment by Erie Express 02.06.16 @ 8:09 am

@Oklahomeboy

You should have neutered him

Comment by Jim from Dallas, Tx 02.06.16 @ 9:10 am

Here is a clip and an article about the strippers and escorts in the Louisville scandal. Watching it makes Pitino’s denial look absurd. This had been going on over long period of time. This make you appreciate what Jamie Dixon has accomplished in running a clean program. Especially when you realize he recruiting against Lousiville, Syracuse, and North Carolina with their academic scandal.

link to espn.go.com

Comment by Justinian 02.06.16 @ 9:18 am

Guys – we may want to roll back expectations on MacVitte until he actually throws a pass against college talent in the fall camp.

I hope he does well enough to get the QB2 practice snaps all season – and that Peterman doesn’t get injured at all. That way if MacVitte doesn’t have to actually play in a game we can redshirt him for 2016 and get a full 4 years after he’s been taking snaps.

But lets remember that only 1 year at QB in HS is a huge difference than most QB recruits have and we also need to think in terms of MacVitte being a long term project (like almost all QBs are in college). I’d bet we see him get regular PT in ’17 or probably ’18 at the earliest.

Comment by Reed 02.06.16 @ 9:31 am

Remember back when Ben Howland left to take the UCLA job. Calperi was interested in coaching at Pitt. However with the scandals Calperi left behind at UMass and Memphis, the Chancellor nixed any thought of hiring him. Kentucky had no such qualms. All they wanted was a proven winner. Louiville showed the same attitude in football program when they hired Bobby Petrino.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.16 @ 9:40 am

Reed, I don’t expect MacVitte to play. Unless you’re Dan Marino, it normally takes a few years for quarterbacks to develop. Berke and DiNucci have been in the program and by next season should have improved enough to take a few snaps, if need be. Hopefully Peterman stays healthy and that won’t be necessary until the 2017 season.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.16 @ 9:45 am

Gc, I stand corrected on “Yewcik” I’ve never been known for my spelling. Hey I agree with your comments on Paterno looking the other way regarding Sandusky. Edmund Burke words sum it up best.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Comment by Justinian 02.06.16 @ 9:58 am

Justinian, hadn’t seen that clip, leaves absolutely no doubt. What will the hapless NCAA do? Where did Powell, get the money? Pitino, like Paterno didn’t know anything was going on, yeah right.

At least the Penn State Board fired everyone. Where is the Louisville Board? How about the ACC what will they do? Nothing of course, no action on UNC, Syracuse, and now this. Jameis Winston? What can be done? How many other schools are getting kids laid? What about Vanderbilt? Franklin’s Vandy Girls? Gang Rape.

What a cesspool!

Comment by gc 02.06.16 @ 10:10 am

Gc, Neither the ACC or the NCAA have done anything yet about the North Carolina’s academic fraud, with their fake classes where they gave “A”s to their athletes. This had been going on for 18 years and they won National Championships in that period of time.

link to cnn.com

Comment by Justinian 02.06.16 @ 10:24 am

Tom Yewcic was the walk on that saved Pitts season for Cavanaugh to play in the Sugar Bowl.He played for Conemaugh Valley,outside Johnstown where he later went into the Insurance Business and became a State legislator. He was helping me to thread the maze of DEP bureaucracy as we reviewed a stream project involved on my property. While estimating a particular distance he said with conviction”thats 25 yards” then looked at me and smiled as he said “anything less than 100 yards trust me I know the distance”. Regarding current state of football I have given up on professional sports and limit my attention to Div 1 college ball emphasis Pitt and HS ball .The big money is ruining all sports in this country.In the fifties The Steelers had to pay to play in our stadium, now we have to pay to play in theirs. I also say let go of PS and WV they left us so why give them games to help their recruiting exposure when we can play teams from anywhere in the country and become a more national team. PS did not even draw a decent crowd for their last Pitt game at 3 Rivers Whch Pitt won.

Comment by Pitt60 02.07.16 @ 4:55 pm

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