Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt coaching staff landed a recruit at a position of need on Monday night, as they managed to flip Jake Renda, a tight end out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, who had been committed to Michigan State for just over a month. Renda had previously committed to Michigan State on the Fourth of July.
“I would like to thank [Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker] and [Michigan State tight ends coach Ted Gilmore] for giving me the opportunity to live out my dream of playing football at the next level,” Renda wrote in a message posted on Twitter. “But, in the words of Andrew Carnegie, ‘Pittsburgh entered the core of my heart when I was a boy and cannot be torn out.’ I am beyond excited to announce that I am 100 percent committed to the University of Pittsburgh. Thank you to Coach Narduzzi and [Pitt tight ends coach Tim Salem] for staying with me and believing in me. My recruitment is closed.”
The 6’5”, 230-pound recruit holds three-star ratings from both 247Sports and Rivals and drew a total of 11 reported offers over the course of his recruitment. Aside from Michigan State and Pitt, Renda’s offer sheet included Arizona, Boston College and NC State.
Although Renda has been recruited as a tight end, he played quarterback at Notre Dame High School just outside of his hometown of Trenton, New Jersey, last season and accounted for 16 total touchdowns. However, he was noted for his quickness and athleticism in Trenton, as he clocked a 4.6-second 40-yard dash, and he will transition to a full-time tight end role upon transferring to IMG this fall.
“I would describe myself as someone who differentiates himself because of his speed and athleticism at the position and ability to gain yards after contact,” Renda told Jeff Dullack II of Sports Illustrated in June. “I also see myself as a tight end who can do many different things on the field.”
If Renda lives up to his billing, he could make a major difference at Pitt, as the program has been in dire need of a reliable tight end since the departure of Scott Orndoff after the 2016 season. Since then, Pitt has not had a single tight end who logged 200 receiving yards in a season. In 2019, the position group was led by Rutgers transfer Nakia Griffin-Stewart, who had 185 yards. The year before, Will Gragg led all Pitt tight ends with 31 yards.