Pitt landed its first 2021 commitment on Tuesday, as Nahki Johnson, a linebacker out of West Mifflin Area High School just a few miles southwest of Pittsburgh, announced his decision to stay home and play for the Panthers in a message posted on Twitter.
”I just wanna thank God for guiding me through my decision,” Johnson wrote in the message. “Thank you to all my coaches and teammates for molding me into the player I am and [am] still becoming. Most importantly, thank you to my loving and caring family for making me the young man I am today. I love my home at Pittsburgh, so the real question was, ‘Why leave?’ 150 percent committed to Pitt.”
The 6’3”, 220-pound linebacker holds three-star ratings from both Rivals and the 247Sports composite. Both recruiting sites also consider him one of the top 20 players at his position and the No. 9 prospect in Pennsylvania in the 2021 class. Although Johnson made his decision relatively early, he still amassed 12 offers from notable schools, including Iowa State, Michigan, Mississippi State, Penn State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
In addition to building on Pitt’s recent success on the recruiting trail, Johnson’s commitment represents another major pickup in relation to Pat Narduzzi’s effort to convince top local recruits to stay home. Another victory on that front came on Saturday night, when Dayon Hayes, a defensive end out of Westinghouse High School, opted to stay home as well.
Johnson won a WPIAL title at Steel Valley High School under Ironmen head coach Rod Steele in 2018, and he transferred to West Mifflin Area High School shortly after. However, Steele accepted a job as West Mifflin's head coach after that, which prompted the WPIAL to declare Johnson's transfer athletically motivated and rule him ineligible for his junior season. He is expected to appeal the decision.