Pittsburgh has a Hillbilly coming their way. Verona High School football’s senior wide receiver Jake McConnachie took to Twitter and Instagram on Monday night to announce his commitment to play Division 1 football for the Pitt Panthers.
“I fell in love with the campus and the program when I visited. There’s not many places like Pitt, let alone the city of Pittsburgh. I know it’s the right place for me,” said the 6’5” McConnachie. Coach Tim Salem, head of North Jersey recruiting at Pitt, was heavily involved in the recruitment of the young wideout. McConnachie says they have a strong relationship.
Besides Pitt, he was recruited by Rutgers, West Virginia, Robert Morris, and Northern Illinois. McConnachie says he narrowed it down to Rutgers and Pitt before making his final decision. Verona football’s head coach, Kevin Batty, was also involved in the recruiting process.
“Jake is a hard-working kid who’s best football is ahead of him,” said Coach Batty, who spoke with both Coach Salem and Coach Greg Schiano, who is the head coach at Rutgers.
“He’s going to be a big, athletic receiver that schools are coveting … [McConnachie] presents matchup problems,” said Coach Batty on what he will bring to Pitt.
This past season, McConnachie burst onto the recruiting scene, racking up 1,012 yards and 13 touchdowns on 46 receptions. That was good for 84.3 yards per game. Pitt started showing interest in McConnachie about midway through the 2019 season.
Pitt is a member of the Atlantic Coastal Conference, which includes Clemson, a perennial National Championship contender. Pitt finished 8-5 (4-4 in the conference) last year, which was good for third place in the ACC Coastal division. The Panthers beat Eastern Michigan 34-30 in the 2019 Quick Lane Bowl.
McConnachie will join the Panthers as a preferred walk-on. A PWO means he was recruited by the Pittsburgh coaches but cannot be offered a scholarship in his first year. He would be eligible for a scholarship after his first year.
“I’m gonna bring a crazy work ethic, I’m gonna work as hard as I can until they think I’m ready to see the field,” said McConnachie.