Pitt football | Panthers net 19 recruits, restock QB room | Sports

PITTSBURGH – Pitt signed 19 recruits to its 2023 class and added three transfers as the early signing period began Wednesday.

Recruits could begin sending their letters of intent at 7 a.m.

Isaiah Neal, a defensive lineman out of St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, was the first signee announced via coach Pat Narduzzi’s Twitter account at 7:18 a.m.

The Panthers restocked their quarterback room, a necessary step for the team. Starter Kedon Slovis entered the transfer portal, backup Nick Patti is moving on after the Sun Bowl and Derek Kyler is out of eligibility.

The biggest name to join Pitt is transfer quarterback Phil Jurkovec from Boston College. Jurkovec is a Pittsburgh native who graduated from Pine-Richland High School.

He has one year of eligibility remaining. Jurkovec’s most successful season at Boston College came under Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti when Cignetti held the same position in Chestnut Hill.

“Phil – big, athletic, tough, leadership-type guy, something we desperately need in that room,” Narduzzi said. “He brings the leadership that maybe we lacked a year ago, and again, he’s tough. He’s had some great years up there in Boston College.

“We’re happy to be able to finally bring him home because we’ve recruited him hard for years.

“He’s going to have the best year of his life here in Pittsburgh this season.”

Christian Veilleux, a transfer quarterback from Penn State, also committed to Pitt after visiting over the weekend. Narduzzi called Veilleux a “serious, serious guy.”

Both Pitt and Cignetti – who was at Boston College at the time – offered Veilleux out of high school.

The Panthers lost a 2023 quarterback recruit when Kenny Minchey decommitted from Pitt in mid-November before flipping to Notre Dame.

“We had to go on a hunt, and I wasn’t going to take just anybody. I didn’t care if we had to go to Alaska to find a guy,” Narduzzi said. “Our staff did a great job of evaluating, our recruiting staff, and coaching staff, of just finding another guy.”

That other guy is high school quarterback Ty Dieffenbach from out of Agoura High School in California.

“We’re excited about what all three of those quarterbacks are going to do in that quarterback room this year,” Narduzzi said.

Pitt’s highest-ranked member of the 2023 class is linebacker Jordan Bass out of Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia.

“We think this guy can be a special guy. He could probably go out and help us at receiver as well. We may try him there,” Narduzzi said of Bass.

Narduzzi also mentioned that he experienced a first during his home visit with Bass and his family.

“I think in all my years, 33 years of coaching. it’s the first time that a family has invited us to put up the Christmas tree, and that tells you something,” Narduzzi said. “We helped put the Christmas tree up, so that’ll be something I’ll remember forever. We put the tree up. I hope it’s still up. I hope we didn’t mess it up too much.”

In addition to Jurkovec, the Panthers added four more Pennsylvania natives in Florida transfer Donovan McMillon, who attended Peters Township High School just south of Pittsburgh; linebacker Braylan Lovelace from Leechburg; wide receiver Kenny Johnson from Dallastown; and defensive back Cruce Brookins from Steel Valley High School in Homestead.

Narduzzi says recruiting locally is crucial for the Panthers.

“The city of Pittsburgh is awful important to us. We want to recruit these guys,” Narduzzi said. “We want to recruit the best in this area, guys who can help us win another championship.”

The 22 players that signed with Pitt include three offensive linemen, three quarterbacks, two running backs, four wide receivers, three defensive linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs.

Amanda Filipcic-Godsey is a freelance writer in Pittsburgh. She covers Pittsburgh sports for CNHI Pa. newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaFGodsey

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