Jay Symonds, a three-star tight end from the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who became the first member of Pitt’s 2018 recruiting class in March, officially decommitted from Pitt on Sunday. He announced his commitment to Stanford the same day.
Symonds’ decision appears to be about the academic opportunities Stanford affords him rather than the struggles of the Pitt football program this season, but it’s hard to imagine the latter did much to dissuade him from flipping his commitment. He discussed his move on Sunday, per Brian Dohn of Scout.
"I'm very interested in going to medical school, and the opportunity that Stanford provides to play at the very highest level of college football and also prepare me for a career in medicine was a perfect fit for me and what I want to pursue in the future," Symonds said.
Although the 6’4”, 257-pound Symonds is listed as a tight end, he was expected to transition to a fullback and H-back role and eventually take over for George Aston at Pitt. Considering Aston has hardly seen the field this year due to injury and his contributions have been sorely missed, Pitt lost out on what could have been a key addition in Symonds.
For Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers, the news comes on the heels of another recruiting trail disappointment, as three-star all-purpose back Coleton Beck announced his commitment to Virginia Tech on Friday. Beck had his options whittled down to a top five of Pitt, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville and East Carolina in July, but Virginia Tech swooped in with an offer on Aug. 5 and ultimately snagged the Blacksburg, Virginia, native.
Pitt currently has seven running backs and four fullbacks on the roster, and the majority of them are underclassmen. So an influx of backfield talent wasn’t essential in this class. However, with the Panthers currently ranking 108th among FBS teams in rushing offense, the addition of Beck and Symonds might have proved helpful.
Pitt is now down to 13 recruits in its 2018 class, but that could change later this month, as four-star safety Kwantel Raines of Aliquippa is scheduled to announce his commitment decision on Oct. 30.
According to 247Sports’ Crystal Ball, Pitt is the current favorite to land Raines, but West Virginia, Penn State and Florida are also in the running.