Winning has helped raise the national profile of the Pitt program, which in turn is helping them attract talented players to visit.
Last month, Pitt became the first Power Five program to extend an offer to rookie quarterback Max Gerlich. Now, Gerlich (6’3″, 185 pounds) has decided to travel from Del Valle, Texas to Pittsburgh for an unofficial visit.
Gerlich is currently in Pittsburgh for a tour of the city along with the Pitt campus and its football facilities. Tomorrow, Gerlich will participate in Pitt’s prospect camp on the South Side.
Gerlich received the offer from Pitt in May after a phone call with assistant quarterbacks coach Jonathan DiBiaso and head coach Pat Narduzzi. Along with Pitt, Gerlich has offers from Texas Tech, SMU and UTSA.
After receiving Pitt’s offer, PSN spoke with Gerlich’s head coach, Bobby Acosta, the talent-rich former IMG Academy head coach, and couldn’t speak highly enough of his young quarterback.
“(Gerlich) is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the state of Texas, and I’m very happy, I love what Narduzzi is doing with the (Pitt) program there, I’m a huge fan and I think he’ll be a perfect fit for when reaches his senior year,” Acosta said.
Full 2021 season highlights ❤️🤍 https://t.co/wIEoCvYSom @mariscalmag @FBUcamp @AWilliamsUSA @CoachVega12 @CoachBA1010 @DVCardinalsFB @QBHitList @FBUAllAmerican @JXNTYLR @jugo7v7 @KimGerlich @Shaun_Ruth @txqb @DelValleISD @DLew87dabeast @FbuAustin @_coach_allen @qbimpacttexas
—Max Gerlich (@max_gerlich) November 7, 2021
Acosta has built that bond with Pitt, working with Pitt’s tight ends coach Tim Salem to get Jake Renda out of IMG Academy in 2021, and with that confidence of taking on a high school commitment that had just made the switch. At the position, he feels as if he owes Pitt the best in delivering a top quarterback.
“Just understanding how to assess high school talent, Narduzzi and Tim (Salem) and the entire staff putting that trust in me, I’m going to deliver a top-tier quarterback for that program,” Acosta said. “But what I said to Narduzzi, I’m not just going to give you a quarterback, I’m going to give you a young man with great character. That program is going to flourish from now on until you have a quarterback like Max.”
Acosta, who recruited Kenny Pickett out of high school as Syracuse’s wide receivers coach, has seen how Pitt has benefited and Syracuse has suffered in the wake of the Pitt acquisition. Looking at Gerlich, Acosta sees many of the same traits he admired in Pickett when he recruited him.
“The moxie,” Acosta said. “And that’s where the leadership — she was showing Max the fake slide, and now there’s a rule for that. Just the leadership and the confidence, but what I saw in Pickett when I was in high school is the same thing I see in Max now.
“(Gerlich) has the ‘It’ factor. One of my core values for a quarterback is competitive greatness. You either have it or you don’t. Kenny had that in high school, he was very competitive, and looking at Max now, looking at JJ McCarthy, that’s a skill where you either have it or you don’t.”
Gerlich is a rising second-year quarterback who, at 6-foot-3, is expected to grow a few more inches. With a guy who’s 6-foot-6, Gerlich could grow as big as him. He has played in an RPO system, having to make those instinctive decisions himself, and is, above all else, a remarkably smart kid.
“Do you know what his greatest trait is?” Acosta asked. “He can teach the teacher. He can teach me the offense right now as a freshman.” And with a 5.1 GPA at Del Valle, that intelligence carries over to the classroom.
If Gerlich fulfills his potential and rises to one of the best quarterbacks in Texas in the class of 2025, Pitt will be lucky to have jumped in early and bonded with him. It’s a long road for Gerlich, but Pitt is in a strong starting position to become one of the best quarterbacks of the future.