Keeping up with Pitt’s recruiting trail


Anna Bongardino | Contributing Editor

Pitt Men’s Basketball currently has four-star small forward Gerald Drumgoole and three-star power forward Karim Coulibaly committed for the 2019 season.

By Tyler Moran, Staff Writer

Recruiting is the lifeline for any college sports team to have continued success. Having a recruiter who can sell a vision and relate to young people at the head of the process can work wonders in bringing high-level talent to a program. Recruiting doesn’t receive much press because it happens behind closed doors, but it often determines which programs become great, and which great programs become elite.

The Pitt News teamed up with Pitt Recruiting to bring you all the recruiting information you need to know to keep up with Pitt Athletics.

Men’s basketball

Our first order of business will be men’s basketball, as the recruiting season is in full swing with the regular season winding down. Head coach Jeff Capel has already left his mark on the recruiting process, nabbing two prospects to commit for the Class of 2019 so far — four-star small forward Gerald Drumgoole and three-star power forward Karim Coulibaly.

Drumgoole and Coulibaly shouldn’t be the only prospects coming to Pittsburgh next season. Twins Julian and Justin Champagnie — three- and four-star recruits, respectively — visited campus Feb. 16 when the Panthers faced off against Virginia Tech. Both prospects play small forward and were originally part of the Class of 2020, but recently decided to reclassify to the Class of 2019.

The race for the twins has come down to Pitt, Seton Hall, Rutgers and Dayton, with Pitt holding the edge according to Landing the Champagnie twins would be a massive win for Capel and the Panthers as they continue to try to strengthen the class and build depth on the squad.

Julian and Justin weren’t the only ones from the Class of 2019 to visit Pitt for the Virginia Tech game. Pitt also hosted Ibrahima Diallo, a 7-foot center from Senegal who played basketball for Prolific Prep in California. Diallo flew under the recruiting radar until his visit with Pitt, and acquiring him would fill one of Pitt’s most obvious problems — size. Pitt currently has one player taller than 6-foot-9, and the team’s leading rebounder, first-year guard Au’Diese Toney, is only 6-foot-6.

Shooting has also been an issue, and adding Drumgoole will help resolve the team’s 3-point woes. Plus, getting Diallo would drastically help the Panthers improve their rebounding. When a guard is your team’s leading rebounder, that’s a problem. Diallo’s tall stature and big body will create a presence on the block and on the boards.

Diallo had a great time on his official visit to Pitt, which is a positive news for the Panthers. He also has visits with Ohio State and LSU. Those visits are set to happen in March, so expect a decision around then.

The lone prospect from the Class of 2020 that visited against the Hokies was four-star guard D.J. Gordon. Gordon plays for local First Love Academy in Washington, Pennsylvania. The high school junior attended multiple Pitt games this season and has been actively recruited by assistant coach Jason Capel.

Gordon is a very talented guard that would bring much needed depth to the guard position for Pitt. When Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens are juniors, turning to a player of Gordon’s caliber will be beneficial in the long run. This talent has not gone unnoticed — Gordon has already fielded offers from Arizona State, Dayton, TCU, South Florida, Virginia Tech and Wichita State. Don’t expect a commitment from Gordon anytime soon, but definitely keep an eye out for him next season.


There isn’t as much football recruiting news to report, as the start of the season is still six months out. Pitt’s spring game is scheduled for April 13, so football will become more prevalent as we await that game and the upcoming season.

The Panthers were able to make a late addition to their Class of 2019 by landing graduate transfer tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart. Griffin-Stewart comes to Pittsburgh from Rutgers and fills the team’s dire need for a player at that position.

Griffin-Stewart has speed, size and versatility — all the qualities that new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple likes to use in his tight-end-heavy offense. He should easily step into the starting tight end role and will be an upgrade from former Pitt tight end Tyler Sear, who transferred mid-season after catching just two passes.

Pitt also offered a scholarship to hometown product and three-star defensive end AJ Beatty. Beatty, a junior at Central Catholic just down the street, currently has 28 offers from other programs, including Pitt, Boston College and Indiana. The Panthers have a great chance to land him for the Class of 2020 being that he is from the area.

This acquisition would add key depth to the defensive line, although Beatty would most likely be redshirted for his first-year season. A commitment could happen in the near future, or down the line during the 2019-20 season. Either way, Beatty would be a great replacement to Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones II, the Panthers’ current pass rushers.

The last bit of recruiting news comes from Tony Grimes, the No. 1 cornerback for the Class of 2021. The four-star recruit from Virginia Beach, Virginia, announced his list of Top 15 schools, including Pitt on the list.

Grimes is a long shot for the Panthers, but his interest is worth mentioning as Pitt is in the same company as Alabama, Texas A&M and TCU, to name a few on the list. Grimes would instantly become the No. 1 cornerback on the roster and strengthen the Panther secondary.