Earlier this month, Naquan Brown, a star linebacker and defensive end out of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, placed Pitt in his top six alongside LSU, Miami, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. And on Wednesday evening, he announced that he had passed over Pitt and committed to LSU, the defending national champion.
“I am very thankful to have this opportunity, and I would like to thank all of the college coaches who have taken an interest in me and recruited me,” Brown said in a video. “After much consideration, I would like to announce that I will be continuing my next four years at the real LBU: Louisiana State University.”
During his recruitment, Brown took multiple visits to Pitt and Virginia Tech prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but LSU emerged as the front-runner after he virtually visited the school. All told, he drew 30 total scholarship offers from schools as geographically disparate as Boston College, Florida, Nebraska, and TCU. Nine of those offers were from ACC programs and seven were from programs in the Big Ten.
The 6’3”, 200-pound recruit holds a four-star rating from Rivals and a three-star rating from 247Sports. The former ranks him as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the nation, the No. 5 recruit in Virginia and the No. 133 recruit in the 2021 class, while the latter considers him the No. 27 weak-side defensive end in the 2021 class and the No. 14 prospect in Virginia.
Last season at Ocean Lakes, Brown racked up about 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 was a teammate of Pitt commit Myles Alston at Ocean Lakes, and he would have been a key piece in a growing movement at Pitt, as four recruits from Virginia’s Hampton Roads region have joined Pitt’s 2021 class and more could follow.
In addition to Alston, Pitt has landed commitments from 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 in Hampton. The influx of talent from Virginia has been due in large part to the efforts of Pitt receivers coach Chris Beatty, who manages Pitt’s recruiting efforts in the state. And while he was the primary recruiter for Brown, he had help from Pitt associate head coach Charlie Partridge.
While missing out on Brown after making his final six will certainly sting for Pitt’s staff and fans, Pitt will at least benefit from his decision indirectly, as he chose LSU over ACC Coastal rivals Miami and Virginia Tech. In addition, he opted against joining in-state rival Penn State, choosing “the real LBU” instead.