Counting down to signing day: Defensive backs

Written by Sam Werner on .

We’re less than 24 hours away from 7 a.m. tomorrow, which is that magic hour when recruits can finally fax in their national letters of intent into Pitt. Before we get to today’s position group, here’s a link to my story from today’s P-G about how recruits are feeling leading up to tomorrow’s big day.

With that, on to the defensive backs...


Early enrollees: None.


Verbal commitments:
Rachid Ibrahim (6-2, 170 lbs)
The Avalon School (Gaithersburg, Md.)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 89 S
ESPN: 3*, No. 79 RB


Titus Howard (6-2, 165 lbs)

Clairton High School (Clairton, Pa.)

Rivals: 2*, NR

Scout: 3*, No. 47 S

ESPN: 2* No. 92 CB


Remaining targets: None.


This is another area that isn’t a huge position of need for Pitt in this class. The only defensive backs graduating from last year’s team are Jarred Holley and Andrew Taglianetti, and Ray Vinopal is a guy that’s more than ready to step into a starting role at the safety position. Jahmahl Pardner will be back from injury, too, and figures to play a role at the safety position.

I included Rachid Ibrahim here (as well as at RB) because this is where he’ll most likely play for Pitt, especially starting out. Ideally, he’ll take a redshirt in 2013, but if one or two injuries occur at safety, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him work his way onto the field. While there’s certainly talent at safety, there isn’t a ton of depth (Jevonte Pitts is the only other guy besides Jason Hendricks, Vinopal and Pardner). Talking to Ibrahim’s coach, Tad Shields, he said Ibrahim is a hard-hitter who excels coming up and making plays in the running game. As a young player, that’s generally a good way to work your way onto the field in certain situations as you learn the more complex coverage packages.

Titus Howard, meanwhile, likely projects as a cornerback for Pitt. That’s a position where Pitt is fairly stacked heading into 2013, so he’ll definitely take a redshirt. He’s a guy who has good instincts and ball skills in the secondary, and should gain a lot from working with K’Waun Williams and Lafayette Pitts for a year. He’s a little bit more of a project, but there’s no reason he can’t turn into a productive cornerback for Pitt down the road (plus, if he convinces his friend Tyler Boyd to stick with Pitt, it’s all worth it).

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