Panther-lair - Signed: Rodney Hammond
football Edit

Signed: Rodney Hammond

It was a bit of a surprise when Rodney Hammond made the decision back in November of last year to commit to Pitt. He was the second player to join the Panthers for the class of 2021, and it came a little out of nowhere. The surprise commitment became one of the foundation pieces for this class as he never wavered from that decision.

Hammond had offers from Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech. He is one of the top playmakers in the state of Virginia, and he joins fellow Virginia native Malik Newton as one of the two running backs in this class.

Like Newton, Hammond credits Chris Beatty to being one of the main reasons he committed to Pitt. The Panthers assistant coach has been key to unlocking some talented players in the state, and Hammond was the first player to jump on board.

“When I visited Pitt, it caught my eye," Hammond told Panther-Lair.com after his commitment. "Then Coach Beatty, he’s a great coach. He’s a coach that can change your mind like real easy. Everything, like speaking to him, it’s just like he’s a father figure and I can see myself playing under a coach like that.”

The relationship with Beatty extends beyond his tenure at Pitt. When he was coaching at Maryland, he actually offered Hammond then. So he had the opportunity to offer him and recruit him twice. That stuck out to Hammond when he made his decision.

"He was one of the first people to offer me and then once he got the new job at Pitt, he offered me again and just like how we communicate is good," Hammond said of his connection with Beatty. "He gave me an opportunity both places he went, he really believes in me so I know there’s love there.”

Pitt's offense needs playmakers and guys that can make splash plays and that's exactly what Hammond is hoping to bring to the program. He was one of the top rushers in the state of Virginia for 2019. His senior season was postponed this year due to COVID. There were plans for him to enroll early, but those are off the table for now.