Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt coaching staff landed one of the top 40 offensive tackles in the country on Thursday, as Ryan Baer of North High School in Eastlake, Ohio, announced his commitment to the team. Pitt appeared to be a dark horse in Baer’s recruitment but made a strong push late to edge out contenders like Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan State and Virginia.
“Thank you to every teammate and coach at Eastlake North for not only making me a better player but a better man these past four years,” Baer said in a Twitter message. “With all that being said, I would like to announce my commitment to the University of Pittsburgh.”
Baer holds a four-star rating from Rivals, which has him ranked as the No. 31 offensive tackle in the 2022 class as well as the No. 10 prospect in Ohio. Meanwhile, 247Sports considers Baer a three-star recruit and places him at No. 38 among offensive tackles and at No. 14 among Buckeye State recruits.
The 6’8”, 331-pound tackle is the first four-star recruit Pitt has added to its 2022 class, and he chose the program from an offer sheet with 28 schools represented. Baer notably chose Pitt over offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. With that said, Baer held offers from Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan State and Virginia as well, and they were considered the teams to watch for Baer, with Kentucky thought to be the favorite.
However, over the last few weeks, Baer trended away from Kentucky, a program with four-star tackles Grant Bingham and Kiyaunta Goodwin already secured. Pitt and Michigan State then emerged as late contenders in his recruitment, and even though Pitt was the only member of the quintet of top competitors for Baer not to receive an official visit, the staff managed to impress him enough on an unofficial visit on June 15 and in subsequent conversations to secure a pledge from the prospect.
Baer is the third offensive lineman to join Pitt’s 2022 class, as the Panthers coaching staff landed Isaiah Montgomery and Ja’Kavion Nonar in June. Baer is by far the largest recruit in the 2022 class, and he is the largest offensive line prospect Pitt has brought in since 2020, when the team landed 6’7”, 340-pound tackle Michael Statham out of Baltimore.