Pitt added a seventh recruit to its 2022 class on Wednesday, as Ryland Gandy, a cornerback out of Buford, Georgia, announced his commitment to the team. Gandy is the fourth prospect to commit to Pitt this month, as Jordaan Bailey, Addison Copeland and Jimmy Scott all joined the program in June.
"I'd be lying if I said this process was easy," Gandy said in a message posted on Twitter. "There were many stressful days and many sleepless nights. I've prayed about it and talked to my family, and I feel like I have made the best decision for me and my future. With that being said, for the next four years, academically and athletically, I will be taking my talents to the University of Pittsburgh."
The 6’0”, 170-pound Buford High School cornerback holds three-star ratings from Rivals and 247Sports. Rivals considers him the No. 66 cornerback in the 2022 class, while 247Sports places him at No. 51. Rivals also ranks him No. 69 in Georgia, and 247Sports has him at No. 50 in the Peach State.
Gandy visited campus on June 3 and was impressed with what he saw, but with a subsequent visit to West Virginia set for the following weekend, he declined to pull the trigger on his pledge until he had time to mull over his respective experiences at the rival schools. Gandy also had a visit to Virginia set for Friday, but it seems the Cavs staff failed to make an impression soon enough.
“Pitt set the bar,” Gandy told Chris Peak of Panther Lair. “It’s going to have to be perfect on these other visits, because Pitt set the bar really high for the other schools to meet.”
All told, Gandy had 17 offers to choose from, 14 of which came from Power Five programs. Some of the most notable offers were extended by Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, USC and Virginia Tech. But his non-Power Five offer sheet was also impressive, as it included the likes of Cincinnati, Notre Dame and UCF.
At Buford, Gandy was a key member of a Wolves team that went 13-1 and won a Class 6A championship in 2020. In the team’s 14 games, the Buford defense held opponents to seven points or fewer on nine occasions. The year before, the Wolves capped off a 14-1 campaign with a Class 5A championship before reclassifying to the 6A level. Again, the Buford defense was solid, as it held opponents to seven points or fewer seven times.
Pitt can offer Gandy a shot at playing time and a bridge from high school to the NFL if he makes the most of his opportunities. During the Pat Narduzzi era, Pitt defensive backs have been in demand, as the school has placed the likes of Paris Ford, Damar Hamlin, Dane Jackson, Ryan Lewis, Avonte Maddox, Jason Pinnock and Lafayette Pitts on NFL rosters. And given Gandy’s skill and experience with a winning team, a similar fate could await him if he can adapt to the college game and shine at Pitt as he has during his time at Buford.