Pitt was dealt a tough blow on Friday, as Chris Beatty, an ace recruiter and the team’s wide receivers coach, accepted a position on the staff of the Los Angeles Chargers, according to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN. Beatty will serve as the Chargers' wide receivers coach alongside former Pitt defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill, who also accepted a position on Brandon Staley's new-look Chargers staff last week.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi acknowledged Beatty's departure several hours after the news broke, and he expressed his gratitude to Beatty for his contributions to the team.
"Chris did outstanding work as our receivers coach the past two seasons," Narduzzi said in a statement on Beatty. "He was a major asset for us as a teacher as well as a recruiter. We are grateful for Chris' efforts at Pitt and wish him and his family the very best with the Chargers. I know he's had aspirations to coach in the NFL, and I'm confident he'll make a great impact on Coach Staley's staff."
The loss of Beatty to the NFL could have a devastating effect on Pitt’s recruiting efforts in Virginia, which was the assistant coach’s territory. Over the last two years, Beatty developed a pipeline to Pitt in the heart of the ACC footprint, and he succeeded in attracting several elite prospects to the Steel City.
Thanks to Beatty’s work on the recruiting trail, Pitt signed four of the top 20 prospects out of Virginia to its 2021 class. That included four-star recruits Naquan Brown out of Virginia Beach and Rodney Hammond out of Norfolk and three-star prospects Malik Newton out of Norfolk and Myles Alston, a teammate of Brown’s at Ocean Lakes High School.
Beatty was only with Pitt briefly, as he signed on in 2019 as a replacement for Kevin Sherman, one of the original members of Narduzzi’s staff at Pitt. But during his time in Pittsburgh, Beatty oversaw a season in which Maurice Ffrench caught a record 96 receptions for 850 yards and four touchdowns. Jordan Addison also thrived under Beatty in 2020, accruing 666 yards and four touchdowns and earning freshman All-America honors.
With that said, there was a glaring issue with the Pitt receiving corps that needed to be resolved, as the team was among the national leaders in drops for both of Beatty's seasons at Pitt. And if there is a silver lining in losing a recruiter of his caliber, it is that the team can potentially address that problem and improve its passing game now that Beatty is gone.
Beatty is the second member of the Panthers coaching staff to depart this offseason, as Pitt linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Rob Harley left to join the Arkansas State staff as a defensive coordinator under Butch Jones. Harley was recently replaced by Bucknell defensive coordinator Ryan Manalac. It is unclear who Pitt will target to replace Beatty.