Pat Narduzzi has already been busy contacting the current Pitt recruits and that is a very important job for him. Pitt has 12 players currently committed, and judging by some of their social media actions, coach Narduzzi has already made some phone calls to these players.
Darrin Hall, Quadree Henderson, and Tre Tipton have been vocal over Twitter with positive words towards Pitt, and by all accounts, Malik Henderson and Alex Hornibrook are still enrolling early next month. Obviously the big name is Jordan Whitehead, and he made it clear that he committed to Pitt and not Paul Chryst. By hiring an excellent defensive coach, you have to assume he remains firm to the Panthers.
Narduzzi will not run a gimmick defense, and most of the personnel in place now and currently committed fits what he would like to do. You would also have to assume he hires a pro-style coordinator on offense given the depth at running back and offensive line that is set up for the next few seasons. So having said that, many of the kids Paul Chryst was contacting in the stretch run will likely remain interested in Pitt if Narduzzi approaches them. Here is who is out there for the taking.
Shareef Miller is the big name on the board, and he currently has Pitt as his number two school choice, just behind Penn State. At this point, you would have to think Miller is all but a done deal to Happy Valley, but if Narduzzi puts the full court press on him, it is not out of the question to think he can pry him away from Franklin. Miller noted that Pitt hired a great coach, and he kept them as his number two choice despite a coaching change. He has a great relationship with some of the current players from Philadelphia, and obviously feels comfortable at Pitt.
Johnny Petrishen was the local superstar for perennial power, Pittsburgh Central Catholic. He had an excellent senior season, and has held Pitt in high regard since he was offered. Petrishen could play anywhere from safety to linebacker, to maybe even wide receiver. He is a talented player, but again Penn State will be a factor. He also lists Northwestern and Virginia as his favorites. It may be all about how hard Narduzzi goes after him.
Jay Stocker is another Pennsylvania safety and Pitt was considered the favorite before the coaching change. He holds offers from multiple Big Ten and ACC teams, and obviously would fit in with Narduzzi. I still think Pitt has an excellent chance, especially if they do in fact hire Tim Daoust as defensive coordinator, as Stocker also has Syracuse high on his list.
Anthony McKee is a big name linebacker from Ohio, and Pitt bringing on Narduzzi may have given Pitt the advantage. He had Michigan State in his final three along with Pitt and Oklahoma. Obviously the Sooners are a factor, but Narduzzi being from Ohio, McKee's interest in playing for Narduzzi, and his interest in Pitt should all play well for the Panthers.
Saleem Brightwell is another linebacker that had Pitt and Michigan State in his final four. The New Jersey product also listed Nebraska in that final grouping, and their coaching change could play a factor as well. Still, you would have to think coupling Pitt with the Michigan State Defensive Coordinator can only help Pitt.
Pitt received a de-commitment from Rob Dowdy a few weeks ago, but Narduzzi's Ohio connections and Dowdy's initial interest in Pitt could help his recruitment moving forward. He would be a nice addition to the offensive line if Narduzzi is interested.
With any coaching change, new names will obviously emerge. Narduzzi may have some kids very loyal to him at Michigan State that could follow him here. New assistants have the chance to bring on players with them, and we may see that when Narduzzi hires a staff. Some of those things may not show up until next recruiting class. Pat Narduzzi will be able to land many of the same players Chryst could, but he was also be able to land others he could not. It will be interesting to see where things go once he is firmly established here.