Earlier this year, I offered some graphics detailing where Pitt football coach Paul Chryst has landed recruits. Check it out again if you want, but I won't give the full rundown here right now. The gist of it was that Chryst has looked outside of the local area more so than Dave Wannstedt did during the last three years of his tenure.
I remarked that Chryst's future classes could be even more diverse, but that's not the case for 2015. Pitt's class isn't finalized yet, but with only a few spots believed to be open, it's okay to take a look ahead to National Signing Day.
Chryst's 2015 is far less diverse from last year in terms of locations he has snagged commitments so far. In the 2014 class, Chryst picked up recruits from ten states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. The Pitt head coach still took his fair share of local kids - 13 of his 23 recruits came from Pennsylvania and Ohio. But that's nothing compared to what Chryst has done for the 2015 class.
So far, 12 of Pitt's 15 commits are from Pennsylvania and Ohio. Chryst went into Florida for Malik Henderson and Sekai Lindsay, and into Delaware for Quadree Henderson - but that's been it.
Despite the largely regional focus for 2015, I wouldn't read too much into it just yet, though. In his three classes so far, Chryst has proved he'll go anywhere for talent. I can't fully explain the coaching staff staying closer to home for next year, but I don't think Chryst's focus has all of a sudden shifted.
Chryst has always seemed to focus on finding players that fit his mold rather than being concerned about where they've come from. As I said, his other classes have been diverse. And if you remember, Chryst talked about just that during ACC Media Days this summer, citing that more and more schools are looking outside of their recruiting area, and that it's important to find the 'right' players. Chryst wants to find the best players he can get, regardless of their location.
It could be argued that as Chryst is developing more of a relationship with the local high school coaches that that has played a part of it. I don't doubt that, but some of it is just taking the hand he's been dealt, too. Some players like Ohio offensive lineman Rob Dowdy and Ohio running back Darrin Hall have been kind of unexpected gets for the Panthers. Pitt desperately needed to add a quarterback and Pennsylvania's Alex Hornibrook was there. Jordan Whitehead was arguably the best defensive player Chryst has ever landed at Pitt and he happened to be from western Pennsylvania.
This year may have been an anomaly of sorts - my guess is that Chryst continues to look elsewhere for talented players in future classes. It may not be as diverse as last year's class was, but I would be surprised if such an emphasis on local players is something we see every year going forward.
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