Signing day is tomorrow, so I think barring anymore unforeseen de-commitments from this current group of players, we know what Pitt is bringing in for next year. As we have seen through the year, recruiting rankings and stars don't always mean everything, but I am going to give you another set of rankings anyway. Here is my crack at ranking the best of the new recruiting class as it stands now.
Ben DiNucci was the Pennsylvania AAAA player of the year this past season. He set records for his performance, and yet he received little interest from FBS level teams (only four offers) and he opted to go the Ivy League route before Pitt flipped him. I think he has plenty of upside and isn't really expected to much this season or even in 2016 for that matter. He has two years to learn and work on his footwork and compete as a redshirt sophomore in 2017.
14. Gentry Ivery 6'1" 205 WR Mansfield, TX. Highlights.
Pitt picked up a rare commitment from the state of Texas, and at that, a curious one. Ivery is a bigger wide receiver with good speed and ability, he played at the highest level of Texas HS Football, and had ZERO offers. I think Pitt has a project on their hands, but watching his film I see some Dorin Dickerson in his game. Maybe a future H-Back type player.
Allen Edwards is a Junior College Defensive End from Miami, but played his college ball in Massachusetts the past two seasons. Pitt has some open spots at defensive end with some transfers this off-season, so bringing on a guy like Edwards made a lot of sense despite his lower rating by recruiting services.
The longest committed player of this class (committed on January, 18 2014) is a pretty solid offensive line prospect coming from Canon-McMillan. He looks like he can probably play one of the interior spots either guard or center in the future. Pitt is well stocked with lineman for a few seasons, so Paulina won't be expected to contribute immediately.
Dane Jackson is a very talented athlete, but was a very under-recruited one. Jackson is one of the best athletes in all of the WPIAL, as he is also one of the top scorers in basketball on top of his football prowess. Personally, I can't figure out why the kid did not receive more attention, and Pat Narduzzi agreed after watching him score 50 in a basketball game. I think Jackson will likely play corner at the next level, but could play on offense if given the opportunity.
Shawn Curtis was the second player to commit to Pat Narduzzi and the new coaching staff. Like a lot of the guys on this list so far, Curtis was under-recruited and likely underrated. Although Curtis did pull in quality offers from Wisconsin, Duke, Illinois, and Mississippi State, he was rated as a two-star by Rivals. The Florida prospect looks like he can stick at linebacker, but certainly has the size to make the move to defensive end. Either way, Curtis probably takes a redshirt, but could be one of the steals of the class.
Malik Henderson has been on campus for the past few weeks as he was the lone player to enroll early for this recruiting class. Henderson is a talented Florida prospect that will have a chance to see the field early, although a redshirt is still possible. He will have a leg up on all the freshmen as he will get to participate in Spring football and will have a good understanding of college life and the playbook before anyone else.
Tony PIlato has great size and athleticism and to me, has the makeup of a big time offensive linemen in the ACC. I appreciate that he is a good basketball player,. and I think if you can move well enough to get up and down a basketball court at 290 pounds, it speaks volumes. Pilato has six other power five offers, but I think he's a guy that probably should have received more. I may be higher on him more than most, but I think Pitt got a good one. He's one that will redshirt and add some strength this year, but should start competing for time in 2016.
Tre Tipton picked Pitt directly over Michigan State back in June, and I think he is one of Pitt's better recruits in this class. There are a ton of questions after Tyler Boyd at wide receiver for this program, and Tipton will have every chance to make a name for himself in Fall camp. He has a lot of people he has to pass over the depth chart, but he does have play-making ability.
Jay Stocker was the first player to commit to Pat Narduzzi, and he is a very good-looking prospect. The top rated safety in Pennsylvania picked the Panthers over 17 other offers. Stocker may be looking at a redshirt with some depth returning at safety, but he is good enough to make things interesting when Fall camp begins.
Anthony McKee was a big get for Pat Narduzzi just a few weeks ago. The three-star linebacker from Ohio had an impressive offer sheet. McKee was a player Pitt long coveted, but many feel Narduzzi was the reason he came here. I think he is probably a year away from playing, as you can see on his film that he played a good bit of safety in high school. He needs to bulk up to play linebacker at this level, but he has the instincts and speed to be a very good linebacker for the Panthers.
I truly believe Quadree Henderson will be a true freshman contributor in 2015. The speedster from Delaware could be a nice compliment to this offense, and could see significant time as a return man as well. Henderson's speed and open field running jumps off the screen in his film, and it looks like he can compete at this level right away.
Saleem Brightwell was another Pat Narduzzi commit late in the game, and like McKee - he is a very talented linebacker with a ton of offers. Brightwell will also likely take a redshirt and could use a year to get bigger and stronger. He is athletic and has a knack for the ball and looks like he can be a solid player in the ACC.
Darrin Hall is one of two four-star recruits in this class. The running back from Youngstown was ranked as the 8th best prospect from the state of Ohio. Darrin Hall has some minor injury issues this past season, but nothing too concerning. He will likely redshirt with James Conner and Chris James set to be the main backs this season, but he should compete for carries in 2016.
Big surprise here..... Jordan Whitehead is an elite talent, and one of the best recruits in the entire country, the best in Pennsylvania for sure. Rivals rates him among their top 100 prospects, and watching his film, it is easy to see why. Whitehead is special with the ball in his hands, and could see some time on offense and certainly on special teams. Pitt is shaky at corner, and Whitehead may even start from Day One at corner, he's that good. You hate to put those kind of expectations on a kid, but it seems like Whitehead is a kid that can handle them.