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Big upcoming two-week period for Pitt football recruiting

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Pitt has one of the biggest ends to a recruiting cycle in recent memory and the question is: Can they close?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With National Signing Day fast approaching, it is time to see how this staff has built relationships over the past year and to see how good Pat Narduzzi is at closing the deal with recruits. The staff has been in place for over a year and in winning eight regular season games in 2015, finally broke the string of four consecutive six-win years. In the process, they have received some nice local (and non-local) commits. With still have some holes to fill, the question is: Can they close and close big?

One of our writers, Jim Hammett, broke things down recently in an interview. That link is worth checking out and the next two weeks will be big ones for the Panthers. Looking into past years, I'm not sure Pitt has ever had this many big-time recruits still thinking things over with the Panthers still in great position with so many.

We'll keep things simple here and tell you that this weekend is a position of need, while next weekend, the local big boys come into town. As we all know, the Panthers are losing a fair amount on the interior of the defensive line and are in need of an influx of big talent. As fate would have it, two large individuals, who happen to play in that position on the football field, are in Oakland. Four-star (according to Rivals) DT, Amir Watts, has made the trip and so has USC commit Keyshon Camp. While Camp is a three-star (again, according to Rivals), the fact that he's committed to USC, but visiting Pitt is an eye opener. The competition is fierce for these two and Pitt seems to be in good position for both.

Even though this weekend shows Pitt knows where they must improve (and improve quickly), next weekend is the one that could make the headlines. That's because national recruits Khaleke Hudson, Damar Hamlin, and Darnell Salomon will be in town. I think we all know the first two names on this list, as they are McKeesport and Central Catholic bred, while the third one might be a bit of a mystery. Hudson and Hamlin are local and they are big-time and it's been a furious battle with the big boys for these two since this time last year. Salomon is a newer name on the list. He's a receiver and his story is one you should check out. He is mega-talented, but has had off the field issues.

The other factor is also if the Panthers will be able to hold onto all of the guys they've had commit thus far. That's always an issue and is something to watch in Narduzzi's first true class.

Without mentioning anyone else (and there are others), you can see that this weekend and next weekend are the difference between a massive haul for Narduzzi and staff or it could be ho-hum or it could be a big bust. It all depends on if Pitt's new staff has built up enough of a relationship over this last year and are they Mark Melancon type closers? We'll see and we won't have to wait long.

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