This has been an annual post for me since I started at Cardiac Hill. You can check out my rankings from 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014. But what I like to do is rank the incoming recruits, and I take a variety of things into the equation. I look at stars, offers, and even watch some Hudl.
It’s more of a list of the recruits I am most excited about for the class, not so much based off of someone else’s rankings. I’m certainly not a recruiting expert, but even recruiting experts aren’t always recruiting experts. A good player can come from anywhere, so my guess might as well be as good as someone from Rivals or ESPN.
I will note, I don’t include transfers when it comes to recruiting. While Taysir Mack and Stefano Millin are quality players, they technically can’t help in recruiting rankings calculated by the websites. Which leads me to another topic, here is where Pitt ended up among the recruiting websites for team rankings.
20. Cameron O’Neill WR 6’2” 190 Phenix City, Alabama (Glenwood School)
Next Best Offers - Wisconsin, Illinois, Virginia
It’s rare for Pitt to go into Alabama and snag a recruit, but this is the second class in a row that that has happened. Cam O’Neil committed to Pitt back on August 1. He joins Cameron Bright as the second native of the Yellowhammer State on the Pitt roster. He chose Pitt over old coach Paul Chryst, so that’s always a plus. It seems Pat Narduzzi is looking for the next Jester Weah for this program. Pitt seemingly has a number of slot receiver options, but they are still looking for a taller receiver option, and perhaps O’Neil can fit that bill down the line.
19. Noah Palmer DE 6’4” 225 Jefferson Hills, PA (Thomas Jefferson)
Next Best Offers - Toledo, Akron, Bowling Green
Noah Palmer comes from a very successful Pittsburgh-area high school football program, Thomas Jefferson. Palmer was a member of three consecutive WPIAL championship teams for coach Bill Cherpak. He was not highly recruited, but seems like he could be a real sleeper for this class. Pitt needs an influx of talent and depth at defensive end, and taking a chance on Palmer does not seem like a bad idea. He could be a high reward player for Pat Narduzzi, and getting back in the pipeline with Thomas Jefferson is never a bad idea.
18. Ricky Town QB 6’4” 210 Ventura, California (Ventura CC)
Next Best Offers - None
Ricky Town came out of nowhere to join this recruiting class, but he could be one of the most vital pieces as well. Town instantly becomes Kenny Pickett’s top backup after the offseason departures of Ben DiNucci and Tom Macvittie. Town was one time a top recruit nationally, as he was graded as a four-star out of high school when he chose USC. He eventually found himself at Arkansas before returning to his hometown to play for a junior college there. Town has the talent, just needs somewhere to put it together. He won’t start for Pitt, but he will be a play away from getting on the field all season long.
17. David Green DT 6’1” 260 Pittsburgh, PA (Central Catholic)
Next Best Offers - Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Minnesota
David Green comes from strong pipeline program Pittsburgh Central Catholic. He is an athletic lineman that showed the ability to be an effective fullback at the high school level. He will need to add a bit of size to play interior line in the ACC, but he is a solid recruit that Pitt landed over two primary recruiting rivals, WVU and Virginia Tech.
16. Nick Patti QB 6’3” 195 Montvale, NJ (St. Joseph’s Regional)
Next Best Offers - Boston College, Rutgers, Cincinnati
Pitt got it’s quarterback commitment for this class back on May 10. Nick Patti is the second straight Pitt quarterback recruit to come from the Garden State following in the footsteps of Kenny Pickett. Patti played for prep power St. Joseph’s Regional and played against some of the top competition in the Northeast during his high school career. He is likely set to redshirt this year, and should compete for the top backup spot in 2019.
15. Erick Hallett CB 5’11” 175 Cypress, Texas (Cy-Fair)
Next Best Offers - Washington State, Houston, Memphis
Erick Hallett was a late addition to this class, and the connection may be to Pitt’s new defensive coordinator, Randy Bates, who is supposed to have strong ties to Texas. Hallett played for an undefeated state championship team in one of the highest classifications in Texas. He led his team in interceptions and was also the top return man. Hallett has a lot of speed and should have a chance to make an impact at corner after a redshirt season.
14. Wendell Davis LB 6’2” 215 Richmond, Virginia (Benedictine)
Next Best Offers - Michigan State, West Virginia, Duke
Wendell Davis is the lone linebacker in this class after Pitt has hit the position hard for the past few years. It’s still early to project which spot he will play in Narduzzi’s system, but he has the frame to add weight, or stay smaller and play on the outside. Davis had an impressive film and picked the Panthers over Michigan State.
13. Kaymar Mimes DE 6’5” 230 Long Branch, New Jersey (Long Branch)
Next Best Offers - Wake Forest, Boston College, Rutgers
Pat Narduzzi has made a habit of stealing Rutgers commitments in his tenure at Pitt, and Kaymar Mimes (pronounced Mims) falls into that long line of players. Narduzzi has a direct connection to Mimes, as his brother, Shilique Calhoun, played for him at Michigan State. The New Jersey product has the size you would want in a defensive end, and has some athletic ability as well. He caught four touchdowns for his high school team this year as a tight end.
12. V’lique Carter DB 5’10” 170 West Palm Beach, Florida (Oxbridge Academy)
Next Best Offers - Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kentucky
Pitt was able to flip this Iowa State commitment right before the early signing period. The hard-hitting safety from Florida may be small, but plays bigger than his size. He was a big play waiting to happen for 10-2 Oxbridge Academy this season. Carter should redshirt this season, but will give Pat Narduzzi another talented player in the secondary for the future.
11. Habakkuk Baldonado DE 6’5” 230 Italy (Clearwater Academy International)
Next Best Offers - Michigan State, Nebraska, Central Florida
It’s not often you will see a recruit from Italy, but recruiting is a weird game. This was a big signing day win for Narduzzi, as he beat out Michigan State and “national champion” Central Florida along with Scott Frost and Nebraska. Baldonado is powerful, athletic, and raw athlete that could be the steal of this class. He posted monster numbers during his only year of playing football in America. We’ll see what happens, but you have to like the programs that were involved in on this kid late in the game
10. Tyler Bentley DT 6’3” 300 West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West)
Next Best Offers - Michigan State, Louisville, Kentucky
Pitt flipped the imposing defensive lineman from Kentucky a while back. Bentley held offers from all of the big boys like Alabama, Goergia, and LSU at different points during his recruitment. He should have the ability to redshirt this year with the chance to get on the field in 2019.
9. John Morgan DE 6’3” 235 Hyatsville, Maryland (DeMatha Catholic)
Next Best Offers - Penn State, Virginia Tech, Maryland
Pitt landed the talented defensive end from Maryland back on June 4. He comes from national powerhouse DeMatha Catholic, which is never a bad school to have ties with for recruiting. Morgan had a solid offer sheet and was a nice building block for the class back in the busy recruiting month for June. I like him the most of the four defensive ends they brought in, but he will likely be heading towards a redshirt.
8. Chase Brown OL 6’6” 310 Ashburn, Virginia (Lackawanna Community College)
Next Best Offers - TCU, Virginia Tech, Tennessee
Chase Brown will come to Pitt with two years to play. He may also be one of the few incoming recruits that will challenge for a starting job right off the bat. Pitt returns two starters up front, so there will be three new starters on the line this year, and Brown should have as good of a chance as any to come in and lock down a starting job.
7. Judson Tallandier DB 6’2” 180 Hyatsville, Maryland (DeMatha Catholic)
Next Best Offers - Georgia, Kentucky, NC State
Tallandier is Pitt’s second prospect from DMV powerhouse, DeMatha Catholic. He is a bigger corner and could likely end up at safety during his time at Pitt. Tallandier committed to Pitt back during the June rush that netted a good portion of this class.
6. Blake Zubovic OL 6’5” 310 Belle, Vernon, PA (Belle Vernon)
Next Best Offers - Penn State, Michigan State, Virginia Tech
Blake Zubovic was one of the best linemen in the state of Pennsylvania this past season. He was a nice recruiting win for Pat Narduzzi at the time. Pitt has manufactured some pretty impressive offensive lines in recent seasons behind the strength of local players. Zubovic has all the tools and talent to follow in those some footsteps.
5. Marquis Williams CB 5’9” 165 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (Cardinal Gibbons)
Next Best Offers - Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Michigan State
Marquis Williams is an undersized, yet very athletic corner from the Sunshine State. He played for one of the top teams in Florida this season and had a very productive season against some of the best competition in the country. Avonte Maddox just had a solid career with the Panthers, and it seems like Williams has an even higher upside.
4. Jake Kradel OL 6’4” 290 Butler, PA (Butler)
Next Best Offers - Ohio State, Wisconsin, UCLA
Jake Kradel was the top ranked lineman in the WPIAL this past season, and had the offer sheet to back it up. As I mentioned with Zubovic, Pitt has built some very good lines with local guys and it seems like Kradel is the type of kid that can be a multi-year starter after a redshirt.
3. Shocky Jacques-Louis WR 6’0” 170 Fort Myers, Florida (Dunbar)
Next Best Offers - Tennessee, Michigan, South Carolina
Pitt was able to scoop up Jacques-Louis, a one time Tennessee commitment, after the Butch Jones firing. He has offers from tons of major programs, and for good reason - he is a playmaker. Pitt needs more speed all across the board, and that is what they are getting here. Pitt has some experience returning at receiver, but Jacques-Louis may have a chance to crack the lineup right away with his ability.
2. Devin Danielson DT 6’3” 290 Jefferson Hills, PA (Thomas Jefferson)
Next Best Offers - Wisconsin // Michigan State // UCLA
As I mentioned in my intro, I’m not a recruiting expert. But I’ll say as much - Devin Danielson is criminally underrated by the scouting websites. He can really, really play. Danielson should be a very good player at the college level.
1, Mychale Salahuddin RB 5’11” 190 Washington D.C. (Woodson)
Next Best Offers - USC, Oklahoma, Michigan
Pitt’s last recruit for the 2018 recruiting class happened to be the best one. Rivals and 247 grade him as a four-star and call him the best player in Washington D.C. Rivals also calls Salahuddin as the top all-purpose back in the country. He was a one time USC commitment, but ended up at Pitt after wanting to stay on the East coast. Salahuddin should push for immediate playing time.