We're just over two weeks away from national signing day, so over the coming days we'll start taking a look at the class Pat Narduzzi is expected to sign on Feb. 3. We'll look at the players Pitt has committed, as well as any top prospects still on the board for the Panthers.
Before we get started, a quick note on scholarship numbers. Pitt currently has 67 scholarships allocated to returning players for 2016 (that includes Ejuan Price, who is very likely to return for a sixth year, per sources within the program). The Panthers currently have 19 players verbally committed for next season (plus transfer TE Chris Clark), and could take a few more. Right now, if every player verbally committed to Pitt signed, the Panthers would be at 87, two over the NCAA's limit of 85. Pitt will likely add at least one or two more players to the fold before signing day, so that pushes the number even higher. This is all a roundabout way of saying that there will likely be some more attrition from the ranks of the upperclassmen before we get to training camp next year.
Of course, this is a subject that seems to come up just about every year and it always has a way of working out. If Damar Hamlin and/or Khaleke Hudson, for instance, want to come to Pitt, the coaches will find a way to make the numbers work. It's a bit tricky because the roster skews to the young side, so there aren't as many clear candidates of players who will move on, so to speak, but it's not a significant crisis or anything.
Now, that being said, let's get to the first position: Quarterbacks.
Thomas MacVittie (6-4, 213 lbs)
Moeller High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 59 QB
247: 4*, No. 8 pro-style QB
Key remaining targets: None
This one should be pretty simple. MacVittie has been committed to Pitt since March, and seems relatively solid in his pledge. LSU has started showing some interest recently, and any time an SEC school gets involved, it's reason to at least be a bit concerned. Still, I would be surprised if MacVittie signs anywhere other than Pitt on Signing Day. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada made visiting with MacVittie a priority when the contact period reopened this week.
As far as where that leaves the Panthers, Chad Voytik's transfer means the quarterback depth chart will still skew very young next season, with Nate Peterman at the top and two guys with no game experience (Adam Bertke and Ben DiNucci) backing him up. Because of that, it wouldn't surprise me if the staff pursued a JUCO quarterback to help bridge the gap, so to speak. That, though, could be a situation where the numbers just don't end up working out (having five quarterbacks on scholarship would be a bit cumbersome). The ultimate goal is usually to take one quarterback every year, but (partially due to coaching changes), Pitt's quarterback recruiting has been a bit uneven in recent years. That led to the addition of Peterman this offseason and a young depth chart for MacVittie to step into.
As with most quarterback prospects, MacVittie will almost certainly redshirt in 2016. Still, he's talented enough that I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a push for the starting job as a redshirt freshman in 2017. The spot will be open, and he has a better recruiting pedigree than both DiNucci and Bertke, even though those two will have the edge on him in experience.