After a relatively slow start to the 2018 recruiting class, the Pitt football program is beginning to gain momentum as three players verbally committed this weekend.
Cornerback Judson Tallandier, defensive end John Morgan and linebacker Wendell Davis — all rated three-star recruits by 247Sports — announced their decisions on Twitter.
🎬 A Big Dream Turning Into A Reality..
📍Largo, MD -> Pittsburgh, PA ! 🏁
— Judson Tallandier Ⅱ (@iamjtii) June 2, 2017
Tallandier chose the Panthers over 13 other programs, including multiple ACC teams. He is ranked by 247Sports as 18th best player in the state of Maryland and should be able to make an immediate impact in the Panthers secondary.
“After long thought, prayer and consideration, I feel most comfortable with my decision and have chosen to continue my education and become a better man and athlete at the University of Pittsburgh,” Tallandier said.
Pitt’s pass defense was atrocious last year, giving up 333.2 passing yards per game — worse than every other team in major college football except Arizona State.
Tallandier won’t be coming to Pitt alone though, as he and Morgan played together at DeMatha Catholic. Morgan — a 6-foot-2, 236-pound prospect — is ranked just behind his teammate as the No. 20 player in the state and the No. 47 weak-side defensive end in the nation.
I AM FULLY COMMITTED TO : THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH 🐱 pic.twitter.com/zU23NWzsSX
— IT'S MY BIRTHDAY 😭 (@K1NG__JAY) June 4, 2017
“I have decided to make my dreams come true,” Morgan said on Twitter. “I will be taking my talents to The University of Pittsburgh.”
The Panthers are in need of depth at the position after losing several key players from last year’s unit. Second-team All-American Ejuan Price, two-year starter Tyrique Jarrett and Shakir Soto graduated while redshirt junior Jeremiah Taleni was dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons. These players will need to be replaced in order for the team to keep improving, and the addition of Morgan could be the first of several this offseason.
Rounding out the group is Davis, a 6-foot-2 recruit out of Richmond, Virginia. 247Sports currently has him ranked as the Panthers best recruit with a rating of .8522 out of one. The website also has him as the 15th best player in the state and 51st best outside linebacker in the country.
— Wendell Davis (@wendellwdj) June 2, 2017
“Excited to say that I’m committed to the University of Pittsburgh,” Davis said on Twitter.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi’s class now includes seven players, six of which are rated as three-star athletes. The lone exception is defensive end Noah Palmer, who is currently unrated.
The group began very centered around offense, as three of the first four commits were on that side of the ball. But after this weekend, things have evened out and the team is beginning to address its more urgent needs on defense.
Currently, 247Sports ranks the group No. 47 in the country and No. 11 in the ACC. And while that’s a considerable jump from last week, it’s far below the team’s 2017 class — ranked No. 36 in the country and No. 7 in the ACC. June is usually a big month for the program, and those numbers could rise if Narduzzi can build on the momentum going forward.