Pitt finally got some good recruiting news Friday, when Newburgh Free Academy (N.Y.) Jalen Williams gave a verbal commitment to Paul Chryst and the Panthers.
Williams is Pitt's second verbal commitment of the 2014 class, joining Traverse City (Mich.) offensive lineman Connor Hayes. He's listed as a 3-star on Rivals, Scout and 24-7. Williams made his commitment on an unofficial visit to campus this weekend, choosing the Panthers over offers from Temple, UMass, Buffalo and Old Dominion.
"From the beginning of the whole recruiting process, they've done a good job making sure that he knew that they were very interested in him as far as just mail and staying in contact, that type of thing," Newburgh Free Academy football coach Bill Bianco said. "Then obviously, the program with the tradition of it, it's a football school and a football town. He's a football guy. Obviously a lot of people would be interested to play at Pitt."
Pitt defensive ends/linebackers coach John Palermo is actually a graduate of Williams' high school, and served as his primary recruiter. Bianco said this familiarity also played a role in Williams giving his pledge.
"The coaches [at Pitt], I can't say enough," Bianco said. "They've shown him just a lot of respect throughout the whole thing. They made him feel comfortable, made him feel wanted every time we were there."
Williams is listed at 6-2, 180 pounds, which is pretty good size for a safety.
"First off, he's a tremendous character kid," Bianco said. "On top of being a character kid, he's 6-2, 185-195 pounds. He's got great ball skills, very smart, intelligent, not really a loud-mouth, just a worker who loves football. He's a football junkie."