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Pitt loses Khadry Jackson to North Carolina

JUCO tight end Travis Koontz may also get flipped from Pitt

Pittsburgh v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Former Pitt commit Khadry Jackson backed off his verbal pledge to Pat Narduzzi and his staff on Sunday afternoon, and on Tuesday night, he announced that he will be heading to North Carolina instead. The safety out of Windermere Prep in the Orlando, Florida, area delivered the news via Twitter.

Jackson did not provide a statement on his decision, but it followed the hiring of Mack Brown on Nov. 27. Brown previously won a national championship as the head coach at Texas and was selected to replace outgoing head coach Larry Fedora, who went 5-18 over the last two seasons but managed to go 6-0 against Pitt since 2013.

The news of Jackson’s decision is germaine to the Pitt fanbase because of North Carolina’s status as a rival not only in the ACC, but within the ACC Coastal Division. As a division rival, the Tar Heels play the Panthers on an annual basis, so the loss of a talented recruit like Jackson has the potential to impact Pitt directly for the next four to five years.

Most members of the Pitt faithful never got an opportunity to familiarize themselves with Jackson or his style of play, as he was only associated with the program for about six months and played his high school ball in Florida. However, he was a coveted recruit who held three-star ratings from 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN. Jackson also had offers from eight Power Five programs, including Iowa State, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, NC State and Rutgers in addition to North Carolina and Pitt.

Jackson is the second 2019 recruit to backpedal on his commitment to Pitt, as junior college tight end Travis Koontz decommitted on Oct. 4. Koontz has yet to publicly declare Pitt out of the running for his services, but he voiced his apparent displeasure with the coaching staff’s pitch, which emphasized the tight end’s role as a run-blocker rather than a pass-catcher.

Koontz currently holds offers from LSU, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, TCU and Texas Tech. He may also receive an offer from Georgia. The tight end is set to announce his decision on Dec. 19.