As National Signing Day draws closer and certain aspects of the Class of 2016 become clearer, many others grow cloudier. Trying to predict what will happen in that span is nigh impossible.
However, that doesn't mean we can't follow the stories. Pitt already has 20 targets on board for the Class of 2016, but there are a few high-profile recruits left on the Panthers' board. As the stories change, so will this trend meter in order to most accurately reflect the latest news in Pitt recruiting as the Panthers come hurtling down the stretch to Signing Day and Pat Narduzzi puts the finishing touches on his first true recruiting class.
UPDATE Feb. 1: Pitt is it for Damar Hamlin.
Damar Hamlin is to this year's class as Jordan Whitehead was to the Class of 2015 in the sense that he's a hometown hero who will likely make the most immediate on-field impact of anyone in the recruiting class. He visited Ohio State last week and was at Penn State this weekend. But unless there was a drastic change during that visit, this battle will likely pit Pitt against Ohio State in vying for his commitment.
Pitt has the last crack at Hamlin as he'll be on campus this weekend. That always bodes well for any team's chances to land a pledge from any player, not to mention two of his teammates are already committed to Pitt.
Another indicator in Pitt's favor, based on trends in this season's recruiting class, is that he will announce his decision live on KDKA as a part of the network's evening newscast. Hamlin's Pittsburgh Central Catholic teammates Rashad Wheeler and Bricen Garner each pledged to Pitt on KDKA, as well as Aliquippa linebacker Kaezon Pugh. The sports segment usually runs around 6:40, so tune in.
UPDATE Jan. 29: Hamlin had his final in-home visit from Penn State Wednesday before Ohio State then Pitt visited him last night. Hamlin is now on campus through Sunday, and announced earlier he will make his decision on Monday. So, after this weekend, Pitt will have had nearly four successive days of nearly 24/7 contact with the top prospect remaining on the team's board. Based on how often recruits commit after they take official visits (see: Amir Watts) that bodes well for Pitt's chances of scoring Hamlin's commitment. It also provides Pitt the opportunity to be on his mind throughout that entire time, leaving little room for consideration for Ohio State or any other school that may be on his mind at the time. As time passed, Hamlin's recruitment seemed to trend more and more towards Pitt and that's no different now.
UPDATE Feb. 1: Hamlin visited Pitt over the weekend and was at Sunday's basketball game. He announces tonight at 6 pm on KDKA. I still think Pitt will be it.
Announcement Date: Committed to Pitt Feb. 1.
UPDATE Feb. 1: Hudson did in fact visit over the weekend and was seen sitting courtside with George Hill and Damar Hamlin at Sunday's basketball game. He told Scout Wednesday after he committed to Michigan that he would not take the visit he scheduled to Pitt this past weekend, but the weekend proved otherwise. That's a victory for Pitt, but I'm not sure if it's enough to flip Hudson from Michigan before Signing Day.
UPDATE Jan. 27: Khaleke Hudson committed to Michigan today. All along, I sort of thought that Pitt wouldn't be it for him especially because he didn't even plan to visit during this final recruiting timeframe. Hudson ultimately scheduled a visit for this weekend, but he now does not plan to take it.
What's even most interesting about Hudson's Michigan commitment, to me, is that it marks another year in which no recruit from McKeesport chooses Pitt. The Scout recruiting database dates back to 2003 and the Tigers have produced at least one or more players that signed letters of intent to play at the Division I level in most of those years. None of them signed with Pitt. Of course there could have been some walk-ons or other circumstances throughout the years that gave Pitt a McKeesport player, but it's interesting Pitt hasn't landed any players from a Pittsburgh-area school with an above-average football program on any on of the 12 Signing Days since. Outside linebacker Tymar Sutton committed to Iowa State and Hudson's pledge to Michigan today makes it seems that will make it another year.
Khaleke Hudson, the star athlete out of McKeesport, may be the biggest mystery among the players Pitt's recruiting entering the stretch run. He entertained interest from UCLA, but the Bruins appear to be out of the running. Hudson visited Michigan last weekend, Penn State this weekend and has an official visit slated for Pitt on the last weekend before National Signing Day. The visit alone is a victory for Pitt as Hudson initially planned on not taking an official visit to the Panthers during the final period to do so, on the basis that he already knew the program well enough.
There's no indication of which way Hudson is leaning but getting him on campus during the final weekend of recruitment gives the Panthers an edge, however marginal.
UPDATE: Hudson posted to Twitter that he intends to announce his decision Wednesday and per the poll he posted in the tweet, it's down to Pitt, Penn State, Michigan and UCLA. Hudson was scheduled to visit Pitt this weekend but unless he commits to the Panthers Wednesday, it looks like that visit might no longer be on the docket. Penn State and Michigan might be in the lead here. In my opinion, I don't think Pitt will be it for Hudson but he's been pretty quiet for basically the duration of his recruitment so, like with most prospects, it's tough to say what he's thinking.
Additionally, Brian Dohn talked to Hudson about his visit to Penn State this past weekend.
UPDATE Jan. 26: It's still unknown as to whether Hudson will take his scheduled visit this weekend but the fact he's committing before it and directly after his visit to Penn State probably doesn't bode well for the Panthers' chances. Brian Dohn reports that even though Hudson will commit tomorrow, Pitt won't give up until Hudson signs his letter of intent if he chooses otherwise.
Announcement Date: Committed to Michigan Jan. 27.
UPDATE Feb. 2: Camp will announce his decision tomorrow at 9:30 and Pitt looks to be in the lead for Camp. The defensive line coach at Missouri left for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles and Michigan is locked in on trying to get Rashan Gary, the nation's No. 1 overall prospect. Camp told Scout analyst Corey Bender his final decision is between Pitt and Missouri.
Keyshon Camp visited Pitt this past weekend. When he arrived on campus, he was committed to USC. When he left, that was no longer the case.
Camp has an offer from Ohio State and a visit to Missouri coming next weekend, but the Buckeyes reportedly consider him to be a "Plan B" recruit in that they would only accept his commitment in the event another prospect falls through. It appeared the Panthers want to add at least one more defensive tackle to their class before Watts' commitment, so how the addition of another tackle alongside the already-committed Rashad Wheeler and Bryce Hargrove remains to be seen. Regardless, Camp's addition would be a real coup considering Pitt's recruitment of Camp did not pick up until quite recently.
UPDATE, Jan. 25: Corey Bender reports Camp is focused on four schools with eight days to go: Pitt, Michigan, Ohio State and Missouri. Missouri and Ohio State were already known to be in the mix for him, but Michigan is a latecomer. Camp just visited Pitt, a visit he said he "loved," and he'll visit Missouri in the middle of the week. Bender also notes Pat Narduzzi and Co. made a significant impression on the 4-star tackle while he was on campus. Camp currently does not have plans to visit anywhere this weekend but that could change.
Announcement Date: National Signing Day
Amir Watts committed to Pitt Sunday after his visit this past weekend. He visited Indiana last week and it remains to be seen if he'll take a visit during the period's final weekend as he had one scheduled to Nebraska, but the timing of his commitment likely indicates Pitt is most certainly it for Watts.
UPDATE Jan. 26: Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu spoke to Watts' head coach and broke down why the defensive tackle chose Pitt and what he brings to the program. Read here.
Announcement Date: Committed to Pitt Jan. 24
UPDATE: For whatever reason, it looks like Salomon and Pitt are no longer an item. He apparently did not make the visit he scheduled to Pitt this weekend and it appears he will either stay committed to South Florida or flip to Temple.
Darnell Salomon is still currently committed to South Florida but his decommitment from the Bulls seems like a foregone conclusion. The Panthers will host him for a visit this weekend, giving them a good chance to add a future No. 1 receiver to their class at the last minute alongside Juwann Winfree and Robert Flowers. That trio would make a nice haul of receivers, especially with the departure of Tyler Boyd and depth needed at the position. Salomon was actually supposed to visit Washington State the weekend of Jan. 29, but Pitt's coaching staff enacted a change in his plans. Once Salomon finalizes his likely decommitment from South Florida, the final schools in contention are Pitt and Temple with the Panthers holding an edge over the Owls.
UPDATE: Corey Bender confirms Salomon will take an official visit to Pittsburgh this weekend. He is currently visiting Temple.
Announcement Date: Committed to USF
Robert Washington was scheduled to visit Pitt last weekend but he was unable to make it at the last minute. He visited TCU this weekend and has a visit to Alabama scheduled for the final weekend. The strength of those programs coupled with the missed visit to Pitt likely means the Panthers won't be the last team standing for Washington's pledge.
Announcement Date: Unknown
K'Von Wallace is a late addition to this meter, but his recruitment has seriously picked up in the final weeks leading to National Signing Day. He plays both side of the ball and has an impressive highlight reel. Pitt offered him a few weeks ago and Wallace picked up offers from both Ohio State and Michigan State today, while Clemson offered earlier in the week. Wallace tweeted Ohio State is his "dream school" when announcing his offer.
Wallace committed to Cincinnati back in July, but with the attention he's received from legitimate Power 5 programs this month it seems inevitable that commitment will end before signing day.
By the look of the four coaches who visited him on Tuesday, Wallace is a priority for Pitt. He'll be on campus for an official visit this weekend.
UPDATE: Michael Clark reports Wallace is now going to visit Ohio State this weekend. Wallace was supposed to visit Pitt this weekend but that is obviously no longer the case. Wallace's recruitment exploded in recent weeks and he is currently on a visit to Clemson. Based on this tweet from Wallace the other day, Ohio State is likely in the lead for Wallace's commitment if he receives a commitable offer.
Announcement Date: Committed to Cincinnati
Rashad Weaver was committed to Michigan for quite a while but, after seven months of no contact with the Wolverines coaching staff, he was told he no longer had a commitable offer and could either go to prep school or take a preferred walk-on spot if he still wanted to go to Michigan.
Weaver believed himself to be of higher quality than a PWO and his hunch was proven correct. A windfall of offers have come his way this week and it looks like it will be between Pitt and Penn State for Weaver.
Weaver is on Pitt's campus at the moment for an official visit, according to Corey Bender, and will be there until Saturday morning. He will then visit Penn State from Saturday afternoon until Sunday.
Announcement Date: Early next week or on Signing Day.