Pitt continued to exert its influence on the recruiting trail in Virginia on Tuesday, as it made the final six of Naquan Brown, a star defensive end and linebacker out of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach. The other five finalists for Brown include LSU, Miami, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.
Of the six programs still in contention for Brown, three have received visits: Penn State, Pitt and Virginia Tech. Pitt and Virginia Tech are also the only two programs still involved with Brown that have gotten multiple visits, with the Hokies getting four and the Panthers getting two to the Nittany Lions' one. However, Brown told Adam Friedman of Rivals that he took virtual visits to LSU and Miami and plans to virtually visit Tennessee as well.
The 6’3”, 200-pound recruit holds a three-star rating from 247Sports, which ranks him as the No. 27 weak-side defensive end in the 2021 class and the No. 14 prospect in Virginia. Rivals has a higher opinion of Brown, as the recruiting website has him as a four-star linebacker and ranks him No. 133 in the nation, No. 6 at his position and No. 5 in Virginia.
Despite the relatively low rating, 247Sports still envisions Brown as a “multi-year starter at a top-20 program” as well as a “second-day NFL draft pick.” Specifically, 247Sports national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn previously noted in the recruit’s profile that he “plays fast and is fearless” and is “willing to sacrifice [his] body to make play.” He added that Brown has plus athleticism that allows him to be effective in coverage but must work on defending the run, improving his technique and adding weight.
Last season at Ocean Lakes, Brown estimated that he had 70 tackles, including 11 tackles for losses and 12 sacks. However, the Dolphins declined as a team, going 8-4 after a 13-1 campaign in 2018. Brown is a teammate of recent Pitt commit Myles Alston, and should he choose to align with the Panthers, he would become the fifth recruit from Virginia's Hampton Roads region to join the program.
Aside from Alston, Pitt’s current contingent of Virginia commits includes Rodney Hammond, a running back out of Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk; Malik Newton, a running back out of Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk; and Trevion Stevenson, a linebacker out of Phoebus High School Hampton. Pitt receivers coach Chris Beatty has played a key role in bringing in more talent from Virginia, and he has been the primary recruiter for Brown. However, Pitt associate head coach Charlie Partridge has been involved as well and could be vital to securing a commitment.
Recruiting analysts have pointed to Virginia Tech and LSU as favorites to land Brown, but there is no consensus on a front-runner. Brown noted that he may commit in early July.