Gateway head coach Terry Smith thinks Pitt's newest verbal commit Gator athlete Jaymar Parrish, will be a perfect fit for the system the new Panther coaches will be installing this season.
"One of the reasons [Parrish] chose Pitt, with the coaching staff there now, and the system that Coach Chryst is putting into place, there was no better fit for him in the county,' Smith said. "He thought why wait."
Smith feels the 6-1, 234 lb. athlete that plays fullback, tight end, and linebacker at Gateway, will bring athleticism and effort to the Panthers.
"Jaymar [Parrish] brings a great work ethic as well as being very athletic, and physically talented. He's just a true athlete," Smith said. "He is perfect at the fullback position, not only to block power, but to block iso, run the quick trap, and catch the ball coming out of the backfield."
Smith also feels Coach Chryst has done an excellent job reaching out to local high school coaches and making them feel welcome at Pitt. He had not met Chryst prior to his arrival at Pitt from Wisconsin.
"I think [Paul Chryst] has done a terrific job to make sure all the high school coaches in the state are contacted, and in letting them know this state is important," Smith said. "He opened their doors to all the coaches to come down to clinics and practices and the coaches have made their faces known."
Three former Gators, wide receivers Cam Saddler and Brendon Felder, and defensive end Shayne Hale, are at Pitt now and Smith feels they all have a chance to contribute this season.
Saddler and Hale have a chance to be major contributors next season.
"Cam [Saddler] is coming out of spring as a starting wide-out after battling injuries last couple years and hopefully he'll stay healthy because he can be very productive," Smith said. "Shayne [Hale] had the best spring of his career at Pitt and I think he is so comfortable with this staff that he's happy and that's half the battle in being motivated."
Felder arrived at Pitt last year after transferring from North Carolina and is now eligible to play.
"Brendon [Felder] is going through the transition of transferring, and he brings speed because he's one the fastest kids on the team," Smith said. "If he can get on the field and make a couple plays, he has a chance to show that speed."
Smith thinks all three players have a chance to have break-out years for the Panthers.
"All the guys are excited about the new staff and having a new opportunity to show what they can do," Smith said. "They all want to get Pitt back into stability and back to a major bowl."
Smith bases the football program at Gateway on simple fundamentals and hard work.
"Our foundation is work ethic and is not an option," Smith said. "God blessed each of us as individuals with a different set of skills and it's our choice to enhance those skills. We try to give our kids a great foundation which leads to greater success in life—on and off the field."