Recruiting Roundup: Pitt football nabs two 2020 recruits

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Recruiting Roundup: Pitt football nabs two 2020 recruits

Football head coach Patrick Narduzzi had the opportunity to interact with potential recruits at Saturday’s Blue-Gold Spring game.

Football head coach Patrick Narduzzi had the opportunity to interact with potential recruits at Saturday’s Blue-Gold Spring game.

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Football head coach Patrick Narduzzi had the opportunity to interact with potential recruits at Saturday’s Blue-Gold Spring game.

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Football head coach Patrick Narduzzi had the opportunity to interact with potential recruits at Saturday’s Blue-Gold Spring game.

By Tyler Moran, Staff Writer

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With the spring football game officially in the books and NCAA men’s basketball final signing date approaching on May 15, it’s time for some more recruiting news for the Pittsburgh Panthers. In the final installment of the year, we’ll talk about more football and basketball recruits who look to become future Panthers. This includes two committed football recruits and another basketball recruit that Pitt unfortunately lost out on.

Football

A lackluster Pitt spring game Saturday afternoon ended on a high note as the Panthers landed three-star offensive tackle Michael Statham shortly after the matchup. Statham is the second commit of Pitt’s Class of 2020 and will provide the Panthers with well-needed depth in the trenches. Standing at 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, Statham is a big body that Pitt will hope to mold into a capable pass protector one day.

Pitt added the first member to its Class of 2020 a week before when three-star defensive end Samuel Williams committed April 6. Though he’s unranked by composite recruiting site 247Sports.com, Williams is a solid pickup as an edge rusher for Pitt. His athleticism and high football IQ are enticing traits for a recruit, and Pitt hopes to have found a diamond in the rough. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, the Panthers may even move him to linebacker because of his intangibles.

It’s always nice to have a player like Williams on your roster, since there’s no shortage in demand for versatile, multipositional talents. Pittsburgh also strengthens its Florida pipeline with this commitment — Williams hails from Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He could become a defensive Swiss Army knife for the Panthers in the future, potentially lining up on the edge or dropping back into coverage when needed.   

The Panthers are looking to bolster their backfield in the future as they actively pursue two dynamic running backs on the recruiting trail. Three-star Jaedon Henry and three-star Torrance Davis both visited campus during the spring game and described Pitt’s atmosphere as impressive. Getting to meet former Pitt standout and current NFL running back LeSean McCoy certainly didn’t hurt, but we’ll see down the line whether it was enough to sway either athlete.

Henry holds offers from Pitt, Boston College, Missouri and Southern Mississippi. The Panthers are the front-runner to land Henry as he stated that Pitt was his “favorite.” He also attends the same high school as Pitt Class of 2019 running back Daniel Carter.

Henry’s smaller frame allows him to be quick and agile in the backfield, aspects that will be noted in the Panthers’ offensive philosophy change from power running to a more spread-out, passer-friendly system.

Davis fits the mold for a prototypical Pittsburgh running back. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, he picks up his yardage by scrapping for yards up the middle instead of bouncing to the outside. Davis is also in higher demand as he holds offers from Pitt, Penn State, Michigan State, Kentucky and Cincinnati.

Although their running styles are different, the duo would complement each other quite nicely. Pitt could wear out the defense by running it up the gut with Davis before bouncing it outside with Quadree Henderson-esque jet sweeps using Henry. We may see this come to fruition in Pitt’s future.  

Men’s basketball

We’re just under a month away from the NCAA men’s basketball national signing day and the Panthers are still looking to add recruits to its Class of 2019. Committed recruits Gerald Drumgoole and Justin Champagnie already signed their official letters of intent on Wednesday. Now, Pitt has two potential recruits on its radar that would add size down on the block, something the Panthers have needed for awhile now.

Before discussing those recruits, we must acknowledge another recruit that Pitt sadly lost out on after being so close to landing him.

Seven-foot center Ibrahima Diallo announced his commitment to Ohio State on April 14 after narrowing his choice down to the Buckeyes and the Panthers. Diallo will likely redshirt his first year at Ohio State, which is a shame considering he definitely would’ve seen the floor for the perennially undersized Panthers.

Diallo is the second recruit that Pitt lost out on in the last month, as junior college shooting guard Sean McNeil ended up committing to West Virginia. Pitt was looking to make McNeil a Panther, but now the team will get to play against him next season.

With Diallo officially off the radar, the Panthers can devote their recruiting efforts to four-star JUCO power forward Khadim Sy. Sy visited Pittsburgh on April 11 and seemed to enjoy his time on campus. He announced his top five schools and Pitt made the list alongside East Carolina, Arkansas, LSU and Ole Miss.  

LSU seemed to be the early front-runner to land the former Virginia Tech commit, but Sy hasn’t even taken an official visit there. Pitt needs to do whatever it can to get Sy on this roster. As a 6-foot-10, 240-pound post presence, he would instantly insert himself into the starting lineup. His polished and aggressive playing style would go a long way in helping the Panthers improve as a team.

Sy isn’t the only power forward Pittsburgh is actively recruiting. Three-star Olivier Nkamhoua is another recruit that could play under head coach Jeff Capel in 2019. Nkamhoua visited Pittsburgh on April 1 and has Pitt in his top three schools along with Illinois and Tennessee.

Nkamhoua isn’t as big, fast or strong as Sy, but he would add needed depth at the forward position. Standing at 6-foot-8, he would also add some size to a relatively short Panther roster. If Pitt were to land both Sy and Nkamhoua, Sy would likely move to the center position to cut down on the amount of power forwards on the team.

There’s one final recruit that Pitt is targeting, though it may be a longshot. The Panthers are in the discussion to land five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly. Quinerly played at Villanova this past season and has decided to transfer from the program.

Quinerly would be a sophomore if he decided to come to Pitt and would instantly provide a level of top-notch talent. He’d be the only five-star recruit on the Panthers’ roster and could play alongside guards Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens. The backcourt would become crowded with sheer talent, but it’s better to have an embarrassment of riches than nothing at all.

The odds of Pittsburgh acquiring all three of these recruits is slim, yet possible. The Panthers have four open roster spots due to the departures of guard Khameron Davis and forward Malik Ellison. Khadim Sy is the best bet to join Capel’s Class of 2019, and his abilities are what the Panthers need the most to advance as a program.

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