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Pitt football staff impressions from high school coaches and recruiting coordinators

All eyes have been on Pitt and their ability to recruit, but how do those in the high school scene feel about the Panthers?

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NCAA Football: ACC Media Days Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of talk about the Pittsburgh Panthers and their ability to recruit players, especially after the highs and lows of the 2023 class. Still, the Panthers ended up with a top 50 overall class according to 24/7 Sports. Pitt is currently sitting at 48th nationwide for the class of 2023 and 8th in the ACC. The Athletic was able to dig a little in their 2023 ACC recruiting confidential to offer some insight into just how these high schools viewed the ACC staff and who stood out to them the most.

Since 2018, the Pitt Panthers have been the best at recruiting out of Pennsylvania in the ACC and have had success in New Jersey and Maryland as well. Even though Pitt may not be top three they are still successful in the state of Florida as well. Out of the 19 players that have signed their letters of intent with the program, 7 of those players have come from the sunshine state.

Florida has long been a hotbed for recruiting talent and Pitt has done their work in making their presence known within the Florida community. This was acknowledged by a recruiting coordinator from the Central Florida region when asked which school works the hardest in his area.

Central Florida recruiting coordinator: Pittsburgh. Miami has jumped in the boat for real since Cristobal has been there. After that, Clemson, Florida State. (FSU defensive line coach Odell) Haggins is like a mainstay in our area. Georgia Tech is pretty strong, too. Iowa State is another school that’s here all the time. Since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen Ohio State the entire time. Without question before Cristobal, it was mainly Pittsburgh. (Safeties coach) Cory Sanders has done an unreal job in the four years I’ve been here.

It was just the recruiting coordinator that felt that sentiment, three head coaches, One from New England and two from South Florida also recognized Pitt as one of the hardest-working programs in the ACC.

New England coach: Miami, Pittsburgh, and Virginia from the ACC and then Michigan State, Texas A&M, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, South Carolina, and Ohio State from elsewhere. Those were the main ones.

South Florida coach 1: Pittsburgh from the ACC. After that, the SEC and Big Ten do a great job. They’re more active with us than the ACC schools. Schools like Michigan State, Penn State, and Alabama.

South Florida coach 2: Florida State. North Carolina State has been really good, too. Their coaches seem to always send me a little text message the week of a game. Pitt has been pretty good with that. Miami of late has been pretty good with that. But I would say North Carolina State, Pitt, Florida State, and Miami in that order. Outside the ACC, I’ve always had a good relationship with Georgia. Florida has done a good job lately. Alabama. Big Ten, it’s been Penn State, Ohio State, and a little bit of Michigan.

Head coach Pat Narduzzi got glowing reviews from the New England coach not only as the coach he hears from the most but one of the coaches he would want his son to play for. That coach wasn’t the only one to hold that sentiment for Narduzzi to trust them with their son. One of the South Florida coaches as well held that same view of Narduzzi thanks to Pat’s straightforward nature.

South Florida coach 3: (Former Louisville and current Cincinnati coach) Scott Satterfield, Pittsburgh’s (Pat Narduzzi), and Florida State’s (Mike Norvell). For me, I like genuine, real people. Don’t BS me. Just tell me straight up. People who lie and BS, I’m not with that.

While Narduzzi received his fair share of credit some assistant coaches got their recognition as well. Corey Sanders has been one of the most visible coaches from the ACC in the Central Florida recruiting trail which was touched on earlier but a couple of other staff members have been visible on the South Florida recruiting trail. Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge has consistently been able to help mold and develop NFL-level players and has also done a great job developing relationships with high school coaches as well.

South Florida coach 1: (Pitt’s) Charlie Partridge does a good job developing relationships.

South Florida coach 2: (Pitt’s Charlie) Partridge is the guy. He hits me up at least once a week.

Tiquan Underwood was also recognized by a South Florida coach as well for being really sharp.

Most of those asked wouldn’t touch on the NIL side of things but did mention that Miami was the biggest NIL player in the conference with a collective that outmatch even some of the biggest programs in the country but there is a stigma still around the ACC in compared to the SEC. While one coach told a player it was a mistake to choose another program over the ACC, especially with the educational value of the ACC, the conference has ground to make up in the national recruiting scene.

Central Florida recruiting coordinator: The ACC does have to fight the stigma. There’s a big-time receiver I know who would’ve gone to Miami, but he just couldn’t see himself playing in the ACC. I’ll be honest with you, but Pittsburgh was more scared of Miami and its NIL than anyone else. The Big Ten just isn’t as big for us as it is in other places. The SEC definitely holds weight. There’s no doubt about that.

While Pitt may have an internal struggle in competing in the NIL space, one thing they will not do is back down from any recruit even if a powerhouse program has them on their radar.

South Florida coach 3: even if a guy has an SEC offer, ACC teams have continued to recruit my guys. Florida State, Louisville, Pittsburgh, they’re not intimidated by the SEC.

Recruiting has always been a complicated and fluid process that has only gotten more difficult to navigate now with NIL entering the picture. Regardless, the Pittsburgh Panthers continue to make a strong impression on the recruiting trail and when they have their target, will fight until the end to bring them to Pitt.