College football recruiting can be a dirty business. In the NIL (name, image, and likeness) era, it’s even more cut-throat. Huge money alumni and boosters are able to lure high school athletes to their schools with cars, cash, and the promise of more. One championship football team is taking a more viral approach.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt Panthers are coming off their first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Quarterback Kenny Pickett finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting and is expected to be the first quarterback off the board in the upcoming NFL Draft. The team returns a vast majority of the players that led them to that success.
There hasn’t been more excitement around the program in a long time. Narduzzi and his staff don’t have the huge NIL money to offer potential recruits. They’ve instead picked up on a viral meme made famous by rapper Gunna.
Several Pitt recruiting targets recently shared graphics that incorporated the university’s script P logo into the standard ‘pushin’ p’ emoji after receiving scholarship offers or visiting with coaches. The players seem to love it. Several have commented on how much they like the idea.
The Panthers are surrounded by recruiting powerhouses in all directions. To the west, the Ohio State Buckeyes draw in talent with a national recruiting base. Penn State looms just to the east. Pitt can’t offer the chance to play in front of 110,000 fans. Pat Narduzzi and his staff are making a creative use of pop culture to build relationships and show recruits that Pitt is it.
Pitt has always had to think outside of the box. The urban campus and proximity to larger schools has always been a recruiting nightmare. Pat Narduzzi is hoping his recruits spread the word that Pitt is pushin’ P.
What do you think of this story? Penn State and WVU fans, feel free to troll the writer in the comments!