ATLANTA -- While much of the attention was focused on Jim Harbaugh and Kirby Smart at the Next Level Elite satellite football camp on Thursday, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi quietly went about his business.
The second-year head coach used his time at the camp to try and evaluate talent and start to make his in-roads in the state of Georgia. Pitt generally focuses its recruiting attention in the traditional Big Ten areas. Narduzzi, however, is looking to expand his focus on ACC and SEC areas.
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"That’s why we are down here. We don’t have a lot of guys on our roster from the state of Georgia,” Narduzzi said. "That’s something that Pitt has never really been in to before. Going in to my second season, that is priority. We are down here now and we have two full-time coaches in this state and we want to continue to cultivate the area and pull some talent.”
It might be a new concept to the Pitt fan base, but Narduzzi has had some success recruiting in the state of Georgia.
"In the past, where I’ve been, we’ve always gotten guys from Georgia,” Narduzzi sai. “Darqueze Dennard was a great one that we had that came up to Michigan State and they are out there. He was a two-star guy that we evaluated and said we liked him and maybe not a lot of people did, but he was a first-rounder with the Bengals. So I know they are out there, it’s just a matter of finding them.”
Coaching at different satellite camps will certainly allow Narduzzi to evaluate talent, but the Pitt head coach also wants to spread the Panthers’ brand in the talent-rich area.
"Obviously you get the opportunity to get the University of Pittsburgh’s name out there in a different state, a different city, whenever you have that opportunity,” Narduzzi said. “There’s a lot of great players out here, a lot of great coaches out here and it’s just good to give your time and to show we are out here looking at kids.”
While Harbaugh might grab the headlines with his barnstorming camps over the summer, don’t expect Narduzzi to do the same. For now, the priority for Pitt will be just to start to make an impact in different areas.
“It’s tough, we aren’t going to do so many of these camps,” Narduzzi said. “You can get to the point where you are wearing your staff out and you’re not fresh as a staff. I think it’s important to get out and hit a few, show that you are out there, show who you are, show off this script Pitt (pointing to his shirt). I think that’s the important thing.”