Pitt received some welcomed news today, as Ocean Township (NJ) quarterback Kenny Pickett pledged to the program. Pickett was a one time Temple commitment who opened his recruitment back up last month, and has since visited Pitt twice in that time. His most recent visit came this weekend, and of course he did not leave town a second time without making a commitment.
Pickett's final college choice came down to Pitt and Boston College. Iowa also offered recently, and his other offers consisted of Temple, Buffalo, Connecticut, and Toledo. He grades out as a three-star by Rivals and 24/7. Scout calls him a two-star, while ESPN does not have a ranking for him. Rivals says he is the 22nd ranked prospect out of New Jersey, while 24/7 puts him as 17th in the state while also being the 36th pro-style quarterback overall.
It's an interesting dynamic as one recruiting service calls him a pro-style and another gives him the dual-threat label. He stands in at 6'3" 190 and is credited with a 4.77 40 yard dash time on his ESPN page. In his junior season, he threw for 1,796 yards and 19 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. He also rushed for 336 yards and 5 scores while leading Ocean Township to a 9-2 record in 2015. In his film, he does display some mobility and athleticism especially in keeping plays alive while feeling pressure coming off the edge. I'm not sure whether that distinguishes him as a true dual-threat, or just a quarterback athletic enough to make plays when needed.
Landing a quarterback each year in college football recruiting is imperative. In recent years, the trend has been to land your quarterback as early in the process as possible. Many factors go into that reasoning for both the program and the prospect alike, but nonetheless in the year 2016 that's how things are in college football. If you recall last year, Pitt took a commitment from Tom MacVittie before he ever started a game in high school. It's just the way things work, get your quarterback and go from there.
So for it to be June 5, you could almost say it's a tad late in the game in getting their quarterback. It's probably due partially to Jim Chaney's departure and Matt Canada's relatively short tenure here at Pitt. Still, it took Canada a few tries to find a viable option for this class (which Pickett certainly is), and that can be concerning as on overall indictment on him. Yes, Narduzzi and everyone on the staff recruits, but the quarterback position is generally handled primarily by the QB Coach or Offensive Coordinator. So we'll have to see how Canada approaches it in the future, and of course that's off to a rough start with Pitt's top 2018 QB prospect off the board as local five-star Phil Jurkovec committed to Notre Dame very early in his recruitment.
Kenny Pickett is a solid recruit by this staff, and should help add depth to the most important position on the field. In fact, he may find himself in a race for immediate playing time if you examine the roster. Nate Peterman and Manny Stocker will be gone after this season, thus leaving the position in the hands of Ben DiNucci, Tom MacVittie, Kenny Pickett, and Central Florida transfer Bo Schneider. So in a sense, the 2017 quarterback race will be perhaps as a wide-open as a competition for the quarterback job in recent memory at Pitt. Sure, we all think and hope MacVittie will live up the hype, and even Bo Schneider has some real, live game experience, but it's just all too unpredictable at this point. Could they add a transfer, or even perhaps a second quarterback recruit in this class? It's possible at this point.