Pitt’s 2019 recruiting class came together in a hurry over the weekend, and it became abundantly clear early on that the Panthers coaching staff was looking to bolster its defense. That trend continued when strongside defensive end Bryce Nelms announced his commitment to Pitt on Sunday evening, becoming the 10th member of Pat Narduzzi’s newly assembled class.
The native of West Orange, New Jersey, announced his decision in a message posted on Twitter.
“I would first off like to thank God for blessing me with the love for the game and skill set to be a Division I athlete,” Nelms said in the message. “I would also like to thank all the coaches who have given me an opportunity to play for them, as well as my parents, coaches, family and friends for being my support system. I am proud to say I am committed to the University of Pittsburgh.”
Rivals and 247Sports both consider Nelms a three-star recruit, and both place him among the top 20 recruits coming out of New Jersey in 2019. He held a total of 16 offers, including 10 from Power Five programs. Pitt notably beat out ACC rivals Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia for Nelms’ services in addition to Rutgers, the school long favored to land him.
During his junior season at West Orange High School, Nelms came up with four quarterback hurries and 31 total tackles, including three tackles for a loss and one sack. His ability to get into the backfield will benefit a Pitt team that dropped from eighth in the country in sacks in 2016 to 79th in 2017, as its production on that front was roughly cut in half in the span of a year.
In May, Nelms took part in the Under Armour Baltimore camp and was listed as a top performer by ScarletNation.com recruiting analyst Shawn Brown, who discussed his performance.
“Nelms, at his best, is quick off the football, and his length allows him to engage offensive linemen quickly, showing surprising strength at a lean 6-foot-5, 255 pounds,” Brown said. “He needs to continue to add more moves to his arsenal to make him a more effective pass-rusher.”
Also worth noting is the fact that the New Jersey recruit was in attendance during Pitt’s upset victory over Miami last November, according to Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports, and if Sunday’s news is anything to go by, it seems the high-profile win is paying dividends on the recruiting trail.