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Devin Danielson’s decision to commit to Pitt on Tuesday wasn’t a heat-of-the-moment outburst. Nor was it a long deliberation rife with second-guessing and rethinking.
Rather, the Thomas Jefferson defensive tackle picked the Panthers in a very organic way.
Over the weekend, Danielson was with his Jaguars teammates at Pitt’s passing tournament - the 6’3” 290-pound senior-to-be serves at Thomas Jefferson’s snapper during seven-on-seven games - and at one point, he came to a realization.
“During one of the games, I just looked around and knew this is where I want to be,” Danielson told Panther-Lair.com. “I was with the coaches a little bit, but being there for two full days, it just got to me that that’s where I want to be.” ‘
Pitt has been recruiting Danielson for more than a year and offered him a scholarship in February. That offer jump-started the relationship between him and Pat Narduzzi’s staff, and over the ensuing four months he spent a good amount of time around the Panthers.
Danielson was at Pitt’s Junior Day in February, a spring practice in March, the spring game in April, another visit in late May and then over the weekend during the passing camp. But despite that proximity and Thomas Jefferson’s history of sending players to Pitt, Danielson becoming a Panther wasn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion.
Boston College, Iowa, Iowa State, Louisville, Michigan State, Rutgers, Syracuse, UCLA, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin were among the schools that offered him, and he hoped to visit Iowa and Wisconsin this summer.
But then it came together for Pitt this weekend.
“I was always a fan because I lived in Pittsburgh, but when they offered me, I didn’t really think about it too much,” he said. “Then I visited for the first time and I knew I liked it. And when I was down there this weekend, I knew it was where I wanted to play football. I just knew.
“So I slept on it for a couple days, told my parents and today felt like the right day to do it.”
Of course, this weekend wasn’t the only thing that led Danielson to pick Pitt. His first call when he committed went to Narduzzi, but his second was to his future defensive line coach, Charlie Partridge.
“He’s the coach I want to coach me; that was a huge factor,” Danielson said of Partridge. “I really like his style of coaching, how he gets to know his players and interacts with them.”
Danielson is Pitt’s first defensive tackle commit in the class of 2018, and he’s looking forward to working in the middle of the Panthers’ defensive line for the next few years.
“I’m just going to wreak havoc in the middle and cause a lot of disruption.”
Pitt now has 11 commitments in the 2018 class as Danielson joins his Thomas Jefferson teammate, defensive end Noah Palmer, Belle Vernon offensive lineman Blake Zubovic and Butler offensive lineman Jake Kradel from the WPIAL, quarterback Nick Patti and tight end Matt Alaimo from St. Joseph Regional in Montvale (NJ), defensive end John Morgan and cornerback Judson Tallandier from DeMatha in Hyattsville (Md.), offensive tackle Chase Brown from Lackawanna Community College in Scranton, linebacker Wendell Davis from Benedictine School in Richmond (Va.) and H-back Jay Symonds from Buckingham, Browne and Nichols in Cambridge (Mass.)