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Central Catholic lineman Matthew Altsman joins Pitt as preferred walk-on

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NCAA Football: North Carolina at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The parade of Pitt-bound preferred walk-ons continued on Tuesday, as Matthew Altsman, an offensive lineman out of Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School, announced his commitment to Pat Narduzzi’s program in a message posted on Twitter. Altsman is the second player from Central Catholic to join the Panthers as a preferred walk-on in 2020, as Gusty Sunseri committed three weeks ago.

Altsman primarily played at guard in high school and was part of a Central Catholic offensive line that paved the way for Vikings running back Eddy Tillman to run for 100-plus yards in nine straight games in 2019. That streak included a 242-yard performance by Tillman against Norwin on Oct. 4 and a 206-yard game against Mt. Lebanon on Oct. 25.

“It’s nice to run behind this line,” Tillman told Bob Orkwis of TribLive.com after the Mt. Lebanon game. “They open big holes, and all I have to do is split them. ... Those guys make it easy for me sometimes.”

The 6’1”, 265-pound lineman does not hold a star rating from any of the three major recruiting websites, but he did draw offers from Valparaiso and Howard as well as a positive review from Elite Football Network.

”Matthew is a good prospect in the 2020 recruiting class," Altsman's Elite Football Network player evaluation reads. "He plays the majority of the time as a offensive guard but does get some reps as a nose guard [and] defensive tackle. He is a great athlete for his size and is at his best pulling and being the lead blocker off tackle. He gets excellent leverage and packs a strong punch at the point of contact. He is a finisher and can redirect. He would be a Power Five player if he wasn’t only 6’1”. He does play a little on [defense] and really could be an outstanding [nose guard]. He has the tenacity, motor, and athleticism.”

It's unclear what role Altsman will play at Pitt. In terms of size, he is a better fit as an interior defensive lineman, and he has experience playing in that position alongside Central Catholic defensive end and Pitt target Elliot Donald. However, the Panthers already have significant depth on their defensive line, so Altsman could end up on special teams or as a reserve offensive lineman.