Pitt football has almost rounded out its squad for the 2018 season after National Signing Day Wednesday.
Some players who signed were expected, including Belle Vernon offensive lineman Blake Zubovic and linebacker Wendell Davis of Richmond, Virginia, who both gave their verbal commitments to Pitt last year.
Still, five brand-new Panthers have signed on to play, adding depth and youth to the team.
Among these new recruits is top prospect Mychale Salahuddin, who picked Pitt over Syracuse in a dramatic reveal. Regarded as one of the nation’s top all-purpose backs and widely considered the top overall prospect from the Washington, D.C., area, Salahuddin rushed for 1,274 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at H.D. Woodson High School.
Graduate transfer tackle Stefano Millin will join Salahuddin on offense. As an undergraduate athlete at Kent State, he played 35 career games — starting 30 of them.
On defense, the Panthers snagged Erick Hallett, a defensive back from Texas who gave his verbal commitment to Pitt just a few days ago. The cornerback — regarded as one of Houston’s top prospects — was reportedly recruited by new defensive coordinator Randy Bates.
Joining Hallett are linemen Kaymar Mimes and Habakkuk Baldonado. At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Mimes is also a three-star commit and compiled 87 tackles, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries last season.
Baldonado, who hails all the way from Rome, gained serious recruiting interest despite playing just one season of high school football in the United States. Aside from Pitt, he was offered scholarships to Michigan State and UCF. Baldonado played three years of American football in Italy before moving to Florida in 2017, playing defensive end and receiver at Clearwater Academy International.
During his single season there, he accumulated an impressive 30.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries on defense. He averaged 24.4 yards per reception and scored two touchdowns as a receiver.
Today’s signees bring Pitt’s total 2018 recruit class up to 22 after college football’s new early signing day, which occurred in December. The program has also exceeded its limit of 85 scholarships, which means more adjustments to their roster entering the season.