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New to the Zoo: William Jeffress commits to Pitt

The four-star recruit averaged 24.4 points per game in Erie last season

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel added a blue-chip recruit to his 2020 class on Tuesday, as William Jeffress, a four-star forward out of McDowell High School in Erie, Pennsylvania, announced his commitment to the program.

"The time has come for me to announce my decision," Jeffress said in a video posted on Instagram. "I want to go to a team where we can strive together to reach the next level, to a place that intrigues me with its pursuit of excellence. Even more, I want to be coached by someone who will challenge me as a dream chaser, feed my hunger as a scholar and an athlete, and develop me as a leader. Most importantly, I want to go to a place where I can see myself grow as a young man."

"That place is the University of Pittsburgh. That coach is Jeff Capel. My heart now beats for the City of Champions. Hail to Pitt."

The 6’7”, 195-pound forward is a consensus four-star recruit, and prior to reclassifying from the 2021 class to the 2020 class, Jeffress was considered one of the top 75 prospects in the nation by 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals. The elite recruit chose Pitt from a top 10 that also included Baylor, Memphis, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Villanova and Virginia as finalists.

Jeffress’ recruitment was impacted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented him from visiting all the schools in his top 10. However, Jeffress was able to attend Pitt’s matchup with Miami at the Petersen Events Center on Feb. 2, and at the time, Tom Reisenweber of the Erie Times-News reported that Pitt was “high on the list” of Jeffress’ possibilities. That proved to be a theme in his recruitment, and ultimately, none of the competitors for Jeffress were able to wrest him away from the former powerhouse just down the highway from his hometown.

The forward leaves Erie as McDowell’s all-time leading scorer, as he contributed 1,673 points in a span of three seasons. During his standout career, he averaged 21.2 points per game as a freshman, 24.0 as a sophomore and 24.4 in his final season with the Trojans. Jeffress also captained the McDowell varsity squad from his freshman year onward, earned all-state honors on multiple occasions and won a gold medal with the U.S. national team as a sophomore.

At Pitt, Jeffress will co-headline the 2020 class with fellow four-star recruit John Hugley, a power forward out of Lyndhurst, Ohio. The two will be joined by Max Amadasun, Noah Collier and Femi Odukale, and the five-player class ranks 20th in the country according to Rivals and 13th according to 247Sports.