I'm sure none of you really remember the recruitment of Robert Foster a couple of years ago. That was a very long and secretive recruitment that obviously didn't end well for the Panthers. The entire time that story was taking place, however, the one thing I constantly heard was one of Robert Foster's Central Valley teammates might be as good if not better than he is. At the time, that was his sophomore teammate Jordan Whitehead.
Whitehead did indeed turn out to be the star everyone thought he would be. Rivals ranked him a 4* recruit, the #1 player in PA, the 6th best cornerback, and the 75th best player in the country (for comparison, Tyler Boyd was 6th, 12th, and 103rd respectively) He earned offers from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and a few others. It became clear as time went on though that his recruitment was going to come down to four schools: Ohio State, West Virginia, Penn State, and Pitt. It seemed each week that a different school was the favorite, but quite honestly I don't think anybody but his extreme inner circle knew what they were talking about. Whitehead kept things extremely close to the chest,. He took official visits to all four schools with Pitt being the first and Penn State being the last with all four visits basically in September. He made his decision on October 3rd, and chose the University of Pittsburgh citing wanting to play immediately, possibly play on offense, and most importantly stay close to home as the most important reasons he chose the Panthers
Since he committed both Penn State and West Virginia fans threw out every possible rumor they could that he was gonna flip to their school almost on a weekly basis. Whitehead never wavered publicly, never took visits to other schools after committing, and helped recruit others to Pitt the last couple weeks of the recruiting year. He did cause quite a panic among Pitt fans when he announced he was no longer enrolling early to Pitt, and was going to play basketball for Central Valley. That lasted all of about two weeks, but Whitehead did not enroll early. Either way, he still didn't cause Pitt fans legitimate worry. He even moved up the signing of his letter of intent from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. to calm fans' nerves. Make no mistake though: Pitt got someone Penn State and West Virginia wanted desperately, just like they did with Tyler Boyd. Jordan signed his letter of intent at about 7:19 am this morning.
Now on to Jordan Whitehead the player.
Whitehead is 5'10", and about 180 lbs. He's very well built, and moves fluidly. He's not afraid to initiate contact with opposing receivers on defense, and has a knack for finding the right hole on offense. He was a three year varsity player for Central Valley, and his senior year in terms of rushing had 1933 yards on 148 carries (13.1 yd/rush average) with 120.8 yards per game. He finished with 22 touchdowns rushing, and 3 touchdowns receiving. Jordan also took 3 punt returns and 2 kick off returns to the house this year for touchdowns. He averaged 1.9 touchdowns a game overall, which is simply unreal. That was just on offense and special teams.
On defense, Jordan had 7 picks, with one pick six in his senior year, along with a forced fumble recovery. He also finished with 100 total tackles on his senior year, for about 6.3 a game.
I think it's fairly rare to see a freshman have an instant impact on a team, especially for a team like Pitt that rarely gets a 5* or the most highly rated guys. Tyler Boyd was obviously an instant impact player, and I legitimately think Jordan Whitehead can be that for Pitt too. I think at the very least he will see the field, if not compete for the starting cornerback position on defense. He plays exactly the way Narduzzi likes his corners to play, and Whitehead will be the highest rated cornerback Narduzzi has ever coached. Considering Narduzzi has had multiple first round NFL cornerbacks, that's saying something. He's the kind of player that would have success at a number of different positions, and Pitt fans are surely very glad to have him.