I've delayed posting about this, mostly because so much is unknown right now. But one thing we do know is that Pitt's once highly-ranked recruiting class could be falling apart.
Pitt's class isn't just fading, it looks like it might be falling apart completely. There are always going to be recruiting losses when new coaches come in, but the big problem that Pitt is facing is the school is losing perhaps its best recruits.
There's four-star running back, Jameel Poteat, who has now verballed to Cincinnati.
Four-star cornerback, Kyshoen Jarrett is headed to Virginia Tech.
There's four-star athlete, Bill Belton, who is at the very least reopening his availability.
Same with QB Gary Nova, DE Deonte Gibson, DB Lafayette Pitts, and CB Andre Givens.
And Desimon Green, though he reportedly likes Mike Haywood (both links require subscriptions).
In all, about half of Pitt's recruits have either decommitted or are wavering. And some are bigger losses than even their ratings indicate. In Jarrett, Pitt lost out on one of the top corners in the nation. How do you think he would have looked in that secondary? In Belton, they lost an all-purpose type player who could have been used anywhere. In Nova, they lost a potential future QB - and it's well known that you can never have too many good QB prospects because so many simply don't work out.
None of this, of course, is Mike Haywood's fault. He can't control players' decisions and obviously can't be held even a little responsible for any of this happening. But to blow it off as meaningless would be foolish. Pitt has gone from having a top 15-20 recruiting class to now scrambling just to fill scholarships with quality players.
Pitt won't have any problem filling its allotted number of scholarships, but this late in the game, Haywood is going to be hard pressed to land a lot of top players, most of whom have already decided where they're going or at least narrowed their choices down.
Paul Zeise of the PG mentioned today the possibility of Pitt landing "better and/or better suited to play his system." As I wrote on Tuesday, that's probably a bit misguided. First, Zeise particularly references 'some of his own recruits', referring to Haywood. That implies players Haywood was recruiting at Miami of Ohio or players he'll recruit for Pitt. But Miami recruits likely aren't on the same level of most of Pitt's recruits and as I just mentioned, many top players have already made decisions as to where they're going. And considering Pitt has lost three and four star recruits, I have a hard time believing that Pitt will now be able to land 4s and 5s.
And also as I mentioned Tuesday, by all accounts, Haywood will run a pretty similar system that Wannstedt did. I don't know how different the type of recruits will be.
Look, we all know how these recruiting rankings work. You get two-stars that end up being studs and five-stars that are duds. I get it. But no one in their right mind would rather have lower-rated players than higher-rated ones.
We've still got a while to see how this plays out, but right now it's not looking good.