Longtime Pitt recruits from out of state could provide depth, versatility
February 1, 2017 8:52 AM
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi should have plenty of options with recruits in his 2017 class.
By Brian Batko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Carter Warren, Dontavius Butler, Cam Bright and Kyle Nunn were all in the fold for Pitt football’s 2017 recruiting class well before signing day. Warren was the most recent commitment, in October, while the only prospect who beat Nunn — an April pledge — to the punch was Steel Valley High School star Paris Ford back in 2015.
One common thread between these four out-of-state future Panthers might just be their ability to bring depth and position flexibility to this class, one that’s relatively light on local flavor. There are just four recruits from the WPIAL, and five total from the state of Pennsylvania, Pitt’s fewest in a class in both categories since 2011.
For starters, the second player to join this recruiting class could project to linebacker or safety at the next level. Nunn, listed as a 6-foot-3, 190-pound three-star athlete by Rivals.com, did a little of both this past season as a senior at Findlay (Ohio) High School. Perhaps he’ll have the size to be a full-time linebacker. Perhaps he’ll have enough speed to be a run-stopping safety. That will be up to Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi to decide.
In a similar mold to Nunn is Bright, originally an Ohio native who played at Park Crossing High School in Montgomery, Ala. Most recruiting sites consider him a 6-1, 210-pound linebacker — but they differ on whether he projects to inside or outside, and some simply list him as an athlete. Given a three-star rating by Rivals, Bright chose the Panthers in June and should give Narduzzi another versatile freshman to deploy on defense.
Butler and Warren, meanwhile, aren’t likely to change positions but could have the physical traits to add to the Panthers’ depth on offense from the get-go.
A 6-2, 197-pound wide receiver from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., the scouting report on Butler is that he’s physical, strong and big enough to possibly contribute right away, possibly in a similar role to what Clairton graduate Aaron Mathews did this past season as a true freshman. Butler, a three-star recruit, made his commitment in late July, with Pitt landing three more pass-catchers since then — fellow Florida wideout Michael Smith, as well as WPIAL tight ends Grant Carrigan (Pine-Richland) and Tyler Sear (Neshannock).
Warren is another ready-made college body, or close to it, at 6-6, 320 pounds. He’s an offensive tackle out of Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, N.J., graded three stars by Rivals but is a four-star recruit by ESPN. Warren’s lengthy offer list included Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Virginia Tech when he committed to Pitt in early October. With Bethel Park alum Mike Grimm not returning for his redshirt junior year next season, Warren could be in the mix to compete for playing time in the offensive line rotation.
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