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Robert Jackson places Pitt among top 10 schools

The in-state defensive end trimmed his list down from 19 offers

Nov 9, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA;  A Pittsburgh Panthers helmet sits on the sidelines against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. North Carolina won 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in the last four days, Pitt was named a finalist for a coveted recruit, as Robert Jackson, a defensive end out of Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, Pennsylvania, placed Pitt in his top 10.

The other nine finalists included Arizona State, Cincinnati, Indiana, Nebraska, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Temple would be considered the Philadelphia-area recruit’s hometown school, but Rutgers is also within 100 miles and Pitt is the only other in-state school in Jackson's top 10.

The 6’6”, 245-pound defensive end holds three-star ratings from Rivals and 247Sports and has drawn 19 scholarship offers over the course of his recruitment. The most notable programs cut from contention include Boston College, Iowa State, Maryland and West Virginia.

Until 2019, Jackson had yet to play football and was best known as the center on the Archbishop Wood basketball team. However, his 7’2” wingspan intrigued the football coaching staff, and he was eventually convinced to take his talents to the gridiron where his stock quickly rose.

Among the programs in Jackson’s top 10, Syracuse was the first to offer, Virginia was the last, and Rutgers was the school he most recently visited. Virginia is also eyeing Jackson as a tight end rather than a defensive end, setting it apart from the other nine finalists, according to Brian Dohn of 247Sports. And Virginia Tech may have an edge in that it is home to Archbishop Wood alums Raheem Blackshear and Nasir Peoples.

As for Pitt, the program officially offered Jackson on March 24 and has not hosted Jackson for a visit, but it has earned a reputation for its fierce defense. Last season, Pitt led the FBS with 3.92 sacks per game and was ranked 15th in the nation in total defense. No other team in Jackson’s top 10 ranked among the top 30 teams in total defense.

Jackson is set to announce his decision on July 27, and at this time, no clear front-runners have emerged in his recruitment.