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Pitt a dark horse for top-40 center Franck Kepnang

The Panthers rank among the top six contenders to land the four-star recruit

High School Basketball: JUN 02 Pangos All-American Camp Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The search for Terrell Brown’s successor is on at Pitt, and as a result, Jeff Capel and his staff have been in constant contact with a number of centers in the 2021 class. One of Pitt’s top targets is Franck Kepnang, a frontcourt standout at Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and the Panthers staff finds itself in good standing with the prospect.

Corey Evans, a recruiting analyst at Rivals, recently took a look at the top contenders for Kepnang and included Pitt among the top six programs vying to sign the elite prospect. However, Evans ranked Pitt sixth out of the top six teams in contention for Kepnang, and it looks as if ACC rival Miami is in much better position to land the blue-chip center.

“Pitt will bring to campus Kepnang’s former school teammate, Noah Collier, which should only help its pursuit,” Evans wrote in his assessment. “However, if Capel wants to have any chance with Kepnang, further work must be completed, as the Panthers are playing from behind with a handful of suitors in a much better spot with him.”

The five schools currently viewed as stronger contenders for Kepnang include Miami, Ohio State, Oregon, Kansas and St. John’s, with Miami in the top spot. And notable schools that have offered Kepnang but are not considered notable contenders include Dayton, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Syracuse and UCLA.

The 6’11”, 247-pound center holds four-star ratings from Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN. All three of the recruiting websites consider Kepnang one of the top 40 overall recruits in the 2021 class as well as one of the top 10 centers, and ESPN, which ranks him 22nd in the nation and fourth among centers, ranks him No. 1 in the state of Pennsylvania.

Kepnang is not in a hurry to commit, as he has a wide array of options in front of him and plenty of time before he has to sign a letter of intent. So a decision may not be in the offing for several months. Considering Pitt is far from certain to land him as things stand, that is likely a good thing. And in the mean time, the Pitt coaching staff will continue to pursue Kepnang as well as Mac Etienne, Samson Johnson, Dereck Lively II and Efton Reid as they attempt to replenish Pitt’s frontcourt.