Opinion: Pitt Will Land Their First 5-Star Recruit Since 2013

Photo courtesy of rivals.com

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Hykeem Williams is a 5-star wide receiver recruit out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He attends Stranahan high school and is a member of the 2023 class.  Williams is 6'-3", 200 pounds, and touted as the 26th ranked recruit in the country according to 247 Sports.  Rivals has him as the 16th best recruit in his class and 4th at his position.

Williams made his first visit to Pitt on March 19th of this year, and then made an "official visit" on June 24th.  By all reports the visit went very well.  Williams is said to be close with new Pitt wide receivers coach, Tiquan Underwood, calling him an uncle.  Those close to Williams also say that Pitt was on his list from the start.  He is also going to be making an unofficial visit to Pitt's game against Tennessee on Saturday, September 10th.  

Williams' commitment date is set for September 23rd.  Potentially he is holding Pitt's feet to the fire, but if Pitt comes out of the first two weeks with wins against rival West Virginia and Tennessee, then Williams' commitment to Pitt could happen just 13 days later.  

Typically, in the past, when I saw Pitt on these college lists on a prospect's page among Georgia, Florida State, Alabama, Miami, and Texas A&M, I'd have laughed off the notion.  We don't beat those schools out for recruits.  Especially not a recruit living in SEC country.  Pitt hasn't had a 5-star recruit walk through the locker room since offensive tackle, Dorian Johnson, did in 2013.  

However, a lot has changed for the Pitt football program, even just in the last 12 months.  Along with Pitt's ACC Championship trophy, they also featured a Heisman finalist quarterback and the Biletnikoff Winner in the same offense.  Winning has a ripple effect, especially in college athletics, where the more you win, the more players want to get in on the action.  And it's already paying dividends.

Two of the most coveted transfers this past offseason were quarterback Kedon Slovis and wide receiver Konata Mumpfield.  Both are now replacing the aforementioned Heisman finalist in Kenny Pickett and Biletnikoff winner in Jordan Addison on the Panthers roster.  If winning attracts talent, so does other talent.  Also, with Pitt showing their ability now to reload instead of rebuild, the winning shouldn't stop anytime soon.

Schools have bounced on and off Williams' list throughout this entire process as far as the speculation and reports go.  One month the leaders are Texas A&M and Pitt.  The next month it's Florida State and Pitt.  The week after that it's Miami, Georgia, and Pitt.  The one steady presence has always been Pitt.  It was Pitt from the start and it's never stopped being Pitt.  That speaks volumes to me.

A recruit like Williams would be one of the biggest lands of Pat Narduzzi's Pitt career.  Pitt being around the entire recruitment process as the steady presence, and his apparent closeness to Tiquan Underwood, makes me very optimistic about Williams committing to the Panthers on the 23rd.  Pitt has separated itself as one of the top places to be.  That's my prediction as of now - Hykeem Williams commits to Pitt on September 23rd. 

However, in this crazy new college football world, one booster with a juicy NIL deal could change everything.  But, for the first time, I'm optimistic.