Pitt 'felt like home' for Miami DT
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More than 1,100 miles separate the University of Pittsburgh and Miami Northwestern High School, but for Calijah Kancey, that distance was only a number, and on Saturday afternoon, he committed to spending his college career playing for the Panthers.
“It just felt like home; that pretty much did it,” Kancey told Panther-Lair.com after making his commitment. “The players had open arms and treated me like I’m a teammate already; that made me feel comfortable with being here for the next three or four years.”
Kancey was hosted on his visit by redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Rashad Wheeler.
“It was very cool with him,” Kancey said. “He told me about Pitt, told me about the coaches and everything and he said there’s nothing negative. And the things the coaches told me were the same things Rashad told me, so that makes me believe it.”
With his verbal pledge on Saturday, Kancey became the first high school recruit to commit to Pat Narduzzi during an official visit since Phil Campbell committed at the conclusion of his visit on Dec. 13, 2015. But he didn’t fly north on Friday thinking he could leave as a commit.
“It was a possibility but I didn’t expect for the visit to be as good as it was,” he said. “On Saturday I had a talk with Coach (Charlie) Partridge; me and him talked mainly about football and he’s the kind of coach I can play for. He’s the one.
“Then I had a talk with Coach Narduzzi; ever since I’ve been on this trip, all you hear is that Coach Narduzzi is a great man, and then I saw it for myself. So I was sitting with him and it just clicked: I’m going to commit.
“He said he wanted to make sure I was all-in, so it took me a couple seconds. Then I came up with my final answer.”
Kancey, who ranks as a top-35 defensive tackle prospect in the nation, picked Pitt over offers from Georgia Tech, Louisville, Kansas State, Rutgers, South Carolina and a host of programs outside the Power Five conferences. He is Pitt’s third commitment in the 2019 class, joining his teammate, linebacker Leslie Smith, who committed to the Panthers last Sunday.
“That’s great, too: him playing his senior season behind me and us two moving on to the next level together, that will be great.”
Kancey’s commitment comes one day after Pitt landed a verbal pledge from Ventura Community College tight end Travis Koontz.