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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.

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February 4, 2016

What a fine finish to a hard fought and victorious recruiting season!  Here is Pitt’s “Signing Day Special” presentation of the 23 young men who just signed on the dotted line to play football for the University of Pittsburgh.  They posted great write ups and videos of each recruit – well done Pitt and thanks for the info.

Before we start digging into the details of the class, here is a great 40 minute video of Pat Narduzzi’s 3:00 pm press conference where he discusses this 2016 recruiting class. Does he look like a happy guy to you?

I agree with the commenters who said that this may be the best overall recruiting class since Dave Wannstedt’s time at Pitt.  Rivals.com has us with 23 recruits who average out to 3.13 stars apiece; five 4*s, 16 3*s and two 2* on the whole.  Not too shabby at all.

The excitement for recruiting is as high as any I can remember it being over the last 15 years, as is the excitement for the program and especially the coaching staff.

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As far as the recruiting rankings go:

Rivals — 30th (5th in ACC)

Scout — 27th (4th in ACC)

ESPN — 31st (5th in ACC)

247 — 26th, though 30th in their composite rankings (4th in ACC)

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February 3, 2016

NLI Day 2016

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:59 am

It’s here. The year long sprint is reaching its end. Pitt looks to finish strong. Maybe a couple final flourishes with some announcements at 9:30 am and 3 pm. Finding out if Pitt has a last minute flip away *cough* Chase Pine *cough*. And hey, there’s cake.

When I asked [Gateway (Fla.) High School coach Marlin] Roberts about Gateway cornerback Henry Miller, who is committed to Pitt but considering Miami, Roberts said he expected him to sign with Pitt:

“If not, it’s going to be an awkward ceremony. I’ve already ordered blue and gold balloons and a blue and gold cake,” he said.

Awkward would be the right word.

Coach Pat Narduzzi will hold his press conference — where he can officially talk about the recruits at last — at 3pm.

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February 2, 2016

Well, it was certainly a big day for Pitt football and HC Pat Narduzzi yesterday.  Both local recruits 4* DB Damar Hamlin (Central Catholic) and WR Aaron Mathews 3* (Clairton) made verbal commitments to play for us.  This is what the staff, the fans and the other present and future local recruits have been waiting for.  Hamlin is the Great White of this year’s crop of WPA players and Narduzzi reeled him in.

Both kids are truly filling positions of need – Hamlin certainly with the graduation of CB Lafayette Pitts and that may happen as quickly as this season, and Mathews helping to ease the pain of 4* Juwann Winfree departure from Pitt to Colorado U.  Mathews won’t be seeing much playing time as a true FR but he’ll help out down the road.

So, Because of this good news and because you guys need your Pitt fixes while at work here, is a compendium of snapshots of media articles to get you through your day.

First off, here is the P-G’s take on Winfree bolting this recruiting class.

Without Winfree, Pitt is left with four-star prospect Ruben Flowers and three-star Maurice Ffrench (who could play defense) as its only receiver commitments for 2016. That’s a position of need for the Panthers heading into next year without Tyler Boyd, who opted to leave after his junior season to enter the NFL Draft.

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February 1, 2016

The Pat Piper Gets Hamlin

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 6:54 pm

Work with me here, I am desperately trying to avoid the cliched headlines for a big recruiting win.

Roughly 36 hours until signing day kicks off and Pitt received the big verbal to top off this recruiting class.

Unless you do everything to avoid recruiting, then you already know that Damar Hamlin a top recruit in Pennsylvania and a consensus 4-star cornerback was making his choice tonight.

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January 29, 2016

With less less than five days until LOI Day, Feb 3rd, and when we’ll have the final listing of our 2016 recruiting class I thought we could take a step back and hear some stories about Pitt’s recruiting in years past.

Take a minute and listen to these two pieces.  I ran across them the other day and waited until we were sick of Pitt basketball to post them.

First we have how recruiting has changed over the last 35 years or so and then we’ll follow up with a piece on how James Conner was flying under the radar until Pitt figured things out.

Varsity Xtra; Recruiting Different as Night and Day. By Mike White Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Jan 28, 2011.  Exactly five years and one day ago today we read this:

Here is a piece written about our great RB James Conner.  This was published by Bleacher report back on July 19, 2015 before Conner’s injury in our first game and of course before his diagnosis and subsquent, and ongoing, battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

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January 26, 2016

Pitt and the rest of the ACC officially released the 2016 Football Schedule today. While opponents have been known for a while, the dates have not. Let’s take a look! (more…)

January 25, 2016

Digging a bit into my Kinks library for that one.

Last night Amir Watts a 3- or 4-star DT/DE from Chicago tweeted out that he was done with recruiting.

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January 24, 2016

Pitt got a nice commit to improve depth long-term at the linebacker spot. Elias Reynolds verbaled to Pitt last night as expected. The ILB had been committed to Rutgers, but reopened following the turmoil in Piscataway. He’s the third flip from Rutgers to Pitt.

He’s not a high-star recruit, but he has potential. After decommitting from Rutgers, the Brooklyn, NY native had offers from Cuse, Wake Forest, Maryland and Illinois. He narrowed it down to Pitt and the Illini.

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January 20, 2016

 It is getting close to crunch time.

The all-important recruiting Letter of Intent Day (LOI Day) is fast approaching; February 3rd is the date this year with April 1st as the last day the National Letter of Intent (NLI) can be signed for players to qualify for the 2016 recruiting class and football season.

Pitt is pushing hard for verbals from Central Catholic’s 4* Safety Damar Hamlin, a and Khaleke Hudson a 3* Athlete from McKeesport.  Both are local guys who Narduzzi very much wants to land for several reason, not the least of which is that they are local kids and both are being recruited by Penn State and other top name programs like OSU and Michigan and have many other prime offers.  If Narduzzi lands these two guys other recruits will sit up and take notice for their future choices.

On the other side of this is the angst we have about kids who are already committed to Pitt being actively recruited by other programs up to and sometimes including LOI Day. Such as highly sought after 3* Henry Miller of Kissimmee, FL. He’s a CB who will serve us well in two ways: first he’s a good play and we need CBs but secondly, he’s a Florida recruit and if you want your program to grow into a solid winning one those Florida kids with their speed are good ones to land.

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January 18, 2016

FB Bits & Pieces – 1.18.16

Filed under: Football,Media,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 11:12 am

Huh, maybe those continuing phone calls from other schools to Tom Macvitte are getting answered.  Mike Vukovcan of KDKA reports this:

“**Source tells me that Pat Narduzzi and OC Matt Canada have an in home visit tonight with QB Thomas MacVittie. I think it’s becoming quite clear that MacVittie is a HUGE priority in this recruiting class.

**The offer yesterday to 2017 QB Matt McKay (Raleigh, NC) is an interesting one. McKay is the ultimate dual-threat quarterback as evidenced by his 46 combined touchdowns this past season.

Here are the HUDL highlights of McKay’s JR season in HS.  You can skip the ad after a few seconds.

Vukovcan is full of interesting stuff, here is a bit of speculation on his part:

**Here’s a name to keep your eye on: Derrick Green. He’s a former 5-star running back for Michigan. However, he’s graduating this spring and announced he’s going to be a graduate transfer.

I received a message from Green last night and he told me that he’s interested in looking at Pitt and making a visit. I’m hoping to do an in-depth interview with Green later today.

Green played sparingly last season for first year coach Jim Harbaugh. In 9 games this season, Green rushed for 158 yards on 47 carries and scored 2 touchdowns. For his career, Green has totaled 898 yards on 212 carries and 7 touchdowns.

At 5’11 and 240 pounds he’s be the hammer in the backfield… maybe we bring back the Fullback a bit more?

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January 15, 2016

While the 2016 basketball season is underway and through the football off season I’ll try to chip in with some historical Pitt football stories once a week, or more if I can, via audio podcasts on The Blather…. hence “BlatherCasts”.  Most will be read from already published books, articles in magazines and yearbooks and old newspapers’ coverage of the football program, team, personnel and the University itself.

Pitt Man and author Sam Sciullo Jr.,  has written four excellent books on Pitt athletics.  His most well know work was in putting together the University of Pittsburgh Football Vault: The History of the Panthers (“The Pitt Vault”) which is a great fun look at just what the title describes.

The Pitt VaultHe also has written Tales from the Pitt Panthers, my favorite of his, which is a compendium of anecdotes about the football and basketball programs.   I truly love how this book is being described in the linked Goodreads page… it starts:

“The Pitt Panthers or the Pittsburgh Panthers? Even their name evokes an argument, a touch of controversy. For anyone who has followed the football and basketball fortunes of the University of Pittsburgh, however, controversy is just one of many facets of Pitt’s programs throughout the institution’s very long history.”

Man, ain’t that the truth and it has just multiplied over the time since the book was published in 2004.  Hey, had he waited 10 years he would have been able to include Wannstedt, Graham and Chryst!

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January 11, 2016

It’s the end of the college football season. Pitt isn’t a participant, but Head Coach Pat Narduzzi will be taking part in the Film Room telecast of the game on ESPN2 starting at 8:30.

Feel free to comment on his brilliant insight and how recruits should be beating a path to Oakland if they are paying attention.

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January 8, 2016

Annexing Canada

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:51 pm

I had no choice. I tried to type something simple, like, “Matt Canada Hired as New OC.” But it went through the Mandatory Wordplay Headline Generator  and came out as “Pitt Fans Prepping to Blame Canada.” Another simple explanatory headline on his joining the coaching staff came out as, “Canada Invades Pitt.” So, embrace the bad wordplay and all it entails.

Almost as soon as the surprising announcement of Matt Canada being fired from NC State less than a week ago, the possibility of Canada becoming Pitt’s OC made a lot of sense. There was some prior history between Canada and Head Coach Pat Narduzzi on the Northern Illinois University staff for a couple of years. Canada has a solid rep as an OC, and his offensive style meshes with what Narduzzi wants. Add in the fact that Canada was not just a power 5 OC, but one within the ACC.

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