Pitt lands cornerback, kicker on signing day

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Pat Narduzzi has lived, labored and fretted via a number of nationwide signing days throughout a school teaching profession that spans three many years.

Now, underneath NCAA guidelines adopted three years in the past, he will get to do it twice per 12 months.

However the 53-year-old Pitt coach rolls with the occasions and stated, “Generally, you need to improvise and regulate.”

Consequently, he has uncommon depth at kicker, with two on scholarship: returning senior Alex Kessman and Ben Sauls, who was one among two recruits to signal Pitt letters of intent Wednesday. They are going to be joined by returning walk-on kicker Sam Scarton.

Sauls and Rashad Battle, a four-star cornerback from Fairburn, Ga., give Pitt 18 recruits in its class of 2020, together with 16 who signed in December. Battle is rated the No. 36 cornerback within the nation and the No. 36 general prospect in Georgia by Rivals. He had presents from 31 faculties, together with Baylor, Iowa, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

Rivals.com ranks Pitt’s class 45th within the nation and eighth within the ACC. However there are three four-star prospects: Battle, defensive again Jahvonte Royal of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Westinghouse defensive finish Dayon Hayes.

Final 12 months, Rivals handed out 4 stars solely to quarterback Davis Beville from Pitt’s class.

Plus, transfers Lucas Krull, a decent finish from Florida, and Joey Yellen, a quarterback from Arizona State, have already got enrolled. Pitt nearly didn’t get Sauls’ signature on a letter of intent after Narduzzi initially wished him to stroll on for the primary semester this 12 months earlier than occurring scholarship in 2021.

However Sauls, who kicked subject targets of 49, 50 and 55 yards final season for Tippecanoe Excessive College in Tipp Metropolis, Ohio, received “slammed,” Narduzzi stated, with 5 scholarship presents. Final week, Sauls verbally dedicated to Iowa State. He beforehand dedicated to Boston Faculty earlier than former coach Steve Addazio was fired.

Regardless of Sauls’ dedication to the Cyclones Narduzzi saved recruiting Sauls — a typical tactic in recruiting at Pitt and elsewhere — with assistants Andre Powell, Randy Bates and Charlie Partridge getting concerned.

At that time, Narduzzi determined it wouldn’t be sensible to carry Sauls’ scholarship for a semester. If having two kickers places Pitt over the 85 scholarship restrict, there most likely will likely be some attrition earlier than the beginning of coaching camp.

“He has a robust, explosive leg,” Narduzzi stated. “He’s an impressive kicker, among the best within the nation.”

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Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Assessment employees author. You may contact Jerry by electronic mail at [email protected] or through Twitter .


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