Former Pitt commit Henry Parrish Jr. made a verbal pledge to join the Panthers last June but publicly announced his decision to back off his commitment in December. On Sunday, after releasing a top four of Ole Miss, Oregon, Pitt and South Carolina on Instagram, the running back out of Columbus High School in Miami committed to Ole Miss.
”These past four years at Columbus been a honor,” Parrish wrote in a message on Twitter. “I love everything you guys did for me, and I’m grateful for it all. With that being said, I will be furthering my athletic career and academics to the University of Mississippi. I feel like this is the best decision for me and my family.”
At the time of his commitment to Pitt, Parrish was a consensus three-star recruit coming off a breakout season in 2018, as he amassed 1,878 rushing yards on a Columbus team that ranked eighth in Florida and 51st in the nation. However, his stock rose in 2019 as a result of several outstanding performances, including one that landed him on ESPN’s SportsCenter, and 247Sports and Rivals upped his rating to four stars. Parrish decommitted from Pitt after his star rating was changed and was courted by several other programs.
All told, Parrish ran for 2,319 yards on 263 rushing attempts and scored a total of 28 touchdowns on the ground in his senior season at Columbus. In addition, he accrued 189 receiving yards and three more scores through the air, bringing his yards-from-scrimmage total to 2,508 and his 2019 touchdown total to 31.
While Parrish would have made a great addition to a Pitt team that struggled to run the ball in 2019, he would have entered a crowded position group and may not have started early. After all, four-star ratings did nor persuade Pat Narduzzi to play Daniel Carter or Mychale Salahuddin as freshmen, and that prompted Salahuddin, a player of similar stature to Parrish, to leave the team.
Even with the loss of Parrish, Pitt retains one four-star running back in its 2020 class in Israel Abanikanda out of Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York. Abanikanda was recently named New York's Gatorade Player of the Year after accruing 1,350 yards and 20 touchdowns on 136 rushes during his senior season.