On Monday evening, Pitt football learned that a local high school star would be staying home.
Central Catholic’s Damar Hamlin committed to the University of Pittsburgh via an announcement on KDKA Pittsburgh.
Hamlin is a six-foot-one, 179 pound defensive back. He is a consensus four-star recruit across Rivals.com, ESPN and 247 Sports, and those sites rank him the 13th, 7th and 14th best defensive back nationwide, respectively. All three sites consider him one of the 150 best recruits in the country.
Numerous top-flight football programs courted the standout defensive back, who received interest from nearly 50 schools, including the likes of Clemson, Miami. Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Stanford.
On June 3rd, Hamlin tweeted that he had narrowed his list down to ten schools, and on December 24th, announced a final three of Pitt, Penn State and Ohio State.
As all three of those school’s hats rested on the table of the KDKA studio desk, Hamlin paused for some thank yous before the decision.
“First I would like to thank God, because without him, this wouldn’t be possible,” Hamlin said on the broadcast. “I would like to thank my coaches for preparing me for each game every week. I’d like to thank my family, just for mental support, emotional support.”
He then faked a reach to other side of the table before finally grabbing the gold Pitt script cap and announcing his intention to play for his hometown Pitt Panthers.
Hamlin said on and off-field reasons shaped his decision.
“I felt like I could accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish [at Pitt] academically and on the field,” Hamlin told KDKA. “Academically, I can be the businessman I want to be. And athletically, I bought into Coach Narduzzi’s plan, and I want to get my city back where it should be.”
Hamlin’s announcement was also preceded by some more good news for the Panthers, as former Penn State commit and Clairton wide receiver Aaron Mathews announced that he was switching his pledge from the Nittany Lions to the Panthers.
According to MaxPreps.com, Hamlin compiled 83 tackles as a senior down the road at Central Catholic, while picking off two passes and recovering three fumbles.
Hamlin joins a growing list of local top-tier recruits who decided to stay home at Pitt, which includes 2015 ACC Rookie of the Year Jordan Whitehead and first-team All-ACC wideout Tyler Boyd.
Hamlin enters a talented group of defensive backs at Pitt, joining Whitehead, junior Avonte Maddox, seniors Reggie Mitchell and Terrish Webb, as well as other talented incoming freshmen like Therran Coleman.
The defensive back will officially sign with Pitt on Wednesday as part of National Signing Day.
Pitt and Hamlin will open the 2016 season on Sept. 3 against Villanova at Heinz Field.