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Pitt Football Recruiting: Despite recent recruiting hype, Panthers' class still lightly regarded

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few weeks, there's been a lot of buzz surrounding Pat Narduzzi's first recruiting class at Pitt - and with good reason. Narduzzi has brought a lot of enthusiasm to the program and, as I wrote recently, has been really active in social media.

Narduzzi has helped Pitt land several quality players as the program tries to put together a class after the defection of Paul Chryst. But heading into National Signing Day, overall, the Panthers' class still comes up short in the rankings.

As of Sunday night, Rivals had Pitt's 2015 class ranked 58th in the nation. That ranked the Panthers near the bottom of the teams in P5 conferences. Kansas, Maryland, Purdue, Colorado, Iowa State, Oregon State, Michigan, and Florida are the only ones, in fact, slotted below the Panthers. 247's composite rankings were a little more kind to Pitt, ranking them 48th. That's better, but still pretty low in the grand scheme of things.

Per Rivals' ratings, Pitt has secured two pretty good players in four-star recruits cornerback Jordan Whitehead and running back Darrin Hall. There are no five-star recruits, though, and the Panthers are also taking five two-star players in a fairly small class thus far (16 players). For all of the energy surrounding Narduzzi's 'gets', it's important to remember that there are several unknowns here.

Don't get me wrong - Narduzzi appears to be exactly what Pitt's program needs. He's active in social media, something that's extremely important in today's recruiting climate. More importantly, he not only realizes the importance of recruiting, it's actually something he loves to do. Narduzzi also has built a coaching staff with assistants having significant experience in different areas of the eastern half of the U.S. And considering the limited time he had, blaming Narduzzi isn't a realistic option. With the time he's had, in fact, you can argue that the job he's done is above average.

It's also worth pointing out that Michigan State had a lot of success even without getting the top players. Even if the Panthers aren't able to haul in a bunch of five-star kids, it doesn't mean that they can't have any success. And somewhat along those lines, the rankings, as we all know, aren't exactly a 'be all end all' type of deal. Several lower rated players have turned into fine players. Most recently, James Conner has turned into one of the top running backs in college football, despite being only a three-star recruit with no significant offers outside of Pitt's.

Still, as a rule of thumb, you always want to see as many four- and five-star guys as possible. And while Narduzzi should have more success when he has an entire year to recruit a class, the Panthers' group is falling a little short, at least according to the rankings. We'll see if that changes at all as Pitt scrambles to finish things off.

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