Earlier this week, three Pitt football coaches took the unconventional step of showing up at the newsroom of the News-Press newspaper in Fort Myers, Florida, in an effort to recruit.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell called it a “boss recruiting move,” though the unorthodox visit was not without its detractors. One critic, who identified himself as the compliance director at James Madison University, went so far as to accuse the coaches of committing a recruiting violation.
However, Jerry DiPaola of the Tribune-Review later reported that no recruiting rules were broken, as the coaches “did not discuss the recruits with anyone from the newspaper.”
The three coaches included recruiting coordinator Rob Harley, offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and receivers coach Kevin Sherman. They arrived at the same time as six local prospects, who were at the News-Press building for a photo shoot related to a sports awards ceremony, including Pitt targets Shocky Jacques-Louis and Jeshaun Jones.
“For about two hours, the three Pitt coaches, six recruits, two local high school coaches and some others talked and snacked on holiday newsroom snacks amid newsroom staff as the individual photo shoots took place,” Seth Soffian of the News-Press reported.
Jacques-Louis, a receiver for Dunbar, and Jones, a receiver for South Fort Myers, are both considered three-star recruits, according to 247Sports. They were joined by Fort Myers linebacker Jordan Weatherbee, North Fort Myers linebacker Fa’Najae Gotay, Dunbar defensive end Rocky Jacques-Louis and North Fort Myers receiver and defensive back Joe Wilkins Jr.
Pitt was one of 23 schools to offer Wilkins, though he committed to Notre Dame on Nov. 6. Similarly, Gotay drew 21 offers, one of which was from Pitt, but named a top three of Maryland, Illinois and Syracuse the same day the Pitt coaches showed up to the photo shoot.
However, it seems the coaches' primary reason for the visit was to bolster their receiving corps with Jacques-Louis and Jones, and they may have made progress on that.
On Tuesday, the same day as the photo shoot, Jacques-Louis tweeted a final three that included Pitt, Kentucky and Tennessee. What's particularly notable about that is the fact that he previously decommitted from both Kentucky and Tennessee earlier this year, making Pitt the only new option on the table.
Jones, who may be the most sought-after recruit in the bunch, has drawn offers from more than 30 schools, according to 247Sports. He’ll be narrowing his options down to a final four in the near future, and according to Soffian, Pitt will make the cut.
All of this action on the recruiting trail came about a week ahead of the early signing period for college recruits, which begins on Dec. 20 and continues until Dec. 22.