2021 early signing period

Recruiting for college football’s class of 2021 lacked many of the staples of a typical cycle because, well, 2020 was anything but typical due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Skills camps. Game day trips to packed stadiums. Cozy in-home visits with coaches. All of it was disrupted in part or in whole while high school seniors considered where to spend the next four years of their lives.

Despite it all, Pitt and Penn State both managed to compile solid groups that can begin signing their letters of intent Wednesday morning.

The Panthers have actually attracted their best class in 15 years in the eyes of recruiting services. They entered Wednesday ranked 21st in Rivals’ team rankings. That’s the highest they’ve been since 2006. This time around, the headliners are local standouts like West Mifflin’s Nahki Johnson and Central Catholic’s Elliot Donald.

The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, are slotted a bit lower than they’ve been traditionally under coach James Franklin at No. 26 nationally. That’s partly because their group is smaller than normal at just 15 players. Still, they’ll welcome six four-star rated prospects this year.

Not a bad year’s worth of Zoom calls.

- Adam Bittner

Player ratings, Pitt and Penn State photos by Rivals.com

WPIAL Football Bowl Subdivision signees

Elliot Donald

DL | Central Catholic

Committed to: Pitt
6'3" - 225 lbs

Dorien Ford

DL | Baldwin

Committed to: Pitt
6'4" - 295 lbs

Nahki Johnson

DL | West Mifflin

Committed to: Pitt
6'3" - 220 lbs

Khalil Dinkins

WR | North Allegheny

Committed to: Penn State
6'4" - 220 lbs

Trevor Faulkner

TE-DE | Avonworth

Committed to: Air Force
6'5" - 225 lbs

Noel Roach

WR-DB | Penn Hills

Committed to: Akron
6'1" - 188 lbs

Myles Walker

WR | Central Valley

Committed to: Akron
5'10" - 160 lbs

Colin Lyons

OT | McKeesport

Committed to: Akron
6'4" - 275 lbs

Chase Whatton

DE | Elizabeth Forward

Committed to: Bowling Green
6'4" - 235 lbs

Nate Hoke

LB | North Allegheny

Committed to: Brigham Young
6'3" - 225 lbs

Miguel Jackson

DL | Pine-Richland

Committed to: Charlotte
6'2" - 265 lbs

Donovan McMillon

DB | Peters Township

Committed to: Florida
6'2" - 190 lbs

Luke Miller

LB | Pine-Richland

Committed to: Kent State
6'2" - 205 lbs

Harrison Hayes

OL-DL | Pine-Richland

Committed to: Liberty
6'4" - 270 lbs

Derrick Davis

DB | Gateway

Committed to: Louisiana State
6'1" - 195 lbs

Aaron Gunn

OL | Union

Committed to: Louisville
6'3" - 295 lbs

Andre Porter

DL | Washington

Committed to: Maryland
6'3" - 300 lbs

Evan Azzara

OL | Plum

Committed to: Miami (Ohio)
6'6" - 290 lbs

Corban Hondru

LB | Peters Township

Committed to: Miami (Ohio)
6'1" - 225 lbs

Ryan O’Hair

OL | South Fayette

Committed to: Miami (Ohio)
6'8" - 293 lbs

Connor McMahon

OL-DL | Canon-McMillan

Committed to: Navy
6'3" - 255 lbs

Josh Hough

RB | Beaver Falls

Committed to: Syracuse
6'3" - 240 lbs

Fab 22 seniors

Here are the seniors on the Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 all-star team and their college decisions:

Ethan Carr, Penn-Trafford (WR): Villanova

Ethan Dahlem, Upper St. Clair (QB-WR): Undecided

Derrick Davis, Gateway (DB): Louisiana State

Khalil Dinkins, North Allegheny (WR): Penn State

Dorien Ford, Baldwin (OL-DL): Pitt

Stephon Hall, Central Valley (DB): Pitt

Nathan Hoke, North Allegheny (LB): Brigham Young

Corban Hondru, Peters Township (LB): Miami (Ohio)

Josh Hough, Beaver Falls (RB): Syracuse

Miguel Jackson, Pine-Richland (DL): Charlotte

Eli Jochem, Pine-Richland (WR): Undecided

Donovan McMillon, Peters Township (DB): Florida

Josh Miller, Seneca Valley (DE): Undecided

Luke Miller, Pine-Richland (LB): Kent State

Vernon Redd, Aliquippa (RB-DB): Undecided

Dontae Sanders, Clairton (RB-LB): Undecided

Cole Spencer, Pine-Richland (QB): Pennsylvania (wrestling)

Eddy Tillman, Central Catholic (RB): Undecided

Myles Walker, Central Valley (WR-DB): Akron

Chase Whatton, Elizabeth Forward (DE): Bowling Green