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Pitt makes top five of three-star cornerback Akim Sledge

The 6'0", 160-pound recruit had one pick as a cornerback and 437 yards and four touchdowns as a wide receiver in 2020

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt recently lost its top recruiter in Virginia, as Chris Beatty left to take a position in the NFL. But it seems the inroads he made there are still intact, as the program is in the running for a number of prospects from the state. That includes Akim Sledge, a cornerback out of Life Christian Academy in Chesterfield County, who placed Pitt in his top five on Sunday.

Boston College, Maryland, Stanford and West Virginia all join Pitt as finalists for the recruit, and Sledge cut eight programs from his offer sheet to reach his top five. The programs no longer in contention for Sledge include Buffalo, East Carolina, Howard, Liberty, Nebraska, Penn State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

The 6’0”, 160-pound cornerback holds three-star ratings from 247Sports and Rivals. The former ranks him as the No. 43 cornerback in the 2022 class and the No. 16 recruit out of Virginia, while the latter places him at No. 28 in the state. ESPN has yet to evaluate Sledge.

Sledge is actually the second Life Christian Academy standout to name Pitt as a finalist, as Desaun Williams, a three-star guard on the team, placed the program in his top five back in January. The two have further overlap in their top fives, too, as Sledge and Williams both have Maryland and West Virginia as finalists.

Despite the cancellation of the 2020 high school football season in Virginia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Life Christian Academy played five out-of-state games last year and went 2-3. Sledge played in four of his team’s five games and had one tackle for a loss and one interception at his primary position. The prospect also tacked on 437 yards and four touchdowns on 22 catches as a receiver.

At this point, it is unclear when Sledge may come to a decision, and no clear front-runner has been named in his recruitment. It is also currently unknown how the loss of Beatty will impact Pitt’s pursuit of Sledge, as he was his primary recruiter prior to his departure. However, the fact that Pitt made the cut over the weekend is undoubtedly a positive sign.