Pitt Head Coach Alleges Utah Tampered In Recruitment Of Wide Receiver Signee

Dec 22, 2022, 11:08 AM


A general view of a helmet worn by the Utah Utes against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Name, Image, and Likeness continues to be a hot topic in college football and how it affects recruiting. Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi recently alleged Utah football most likely tampered with wide receiver recruit Draiden Zipperer in his recruitment, getting him to flip from the Panthers with promises of lucrative NIL.

The story was first reported on Sports Illustrated by Stephen Thompson.

“Shoot, I’ll just say it,” Narduzzi said. “We lost one to Utah that was a good receiver for us and I think [NIL] had something to do with it.”

Interestingly enough, the Panthers appeared to be on the losing end of NIL last season when star wide receiver and Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison put his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal and ended up with Lincoln Riley and USC. Narduzzi was very forward then as well, about what he thought took place to get Addison to the Trojans.

Conflicting Comments From Narduzzi

Narduzzi’s comments about Utah are interesting simply from the standpoint that the Utes are not exactly known as power players in the Name, Image, and Likeness world. Obviously, that doesn’t mean Narduzzi’s allegations couldn’t be true, but comments earlier in the season from Utah coach Kyle Whittingham paint a very different picture of where the Utes currently sit in the NIL game.

“We are trying, we are trying every day,” Whittingham said in an October interview with DJ & PK. “It’s a topic of conversation in every staff meeting pretty much as far as the kids we are recruiting and who is offering what, and where we are in the situation. We have guys in the department here who are dedicated full-time to getting NIL funds and sources- it ultimately comes down to your donors and boosters stepping up. We can’t- the universities themselves can’t put anything in the pot. That’s against the NCAA specifically, so it’s got to come from outside resources and we’re trying to make strides each day in that regard.”

Utah’s Own Close Call

Utah has had its own close calls with NIL and potentially losing out on players. Mark Harlan sat for an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde to talk about an interesting situation that took place over the summer with one of their star players and an Alabama NIL Collective.

“I believe so much in it, I believe it’s the right thing,” Harlan said of NIL. “But it’s difficult to not have an enforcement mechanism when we’re running into someone who is clearly utilizing it, in some form or fashion, as an inducement. And we’re not. That’s frustrating.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports


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Pitt Head Coach Alleges Utah Tampered In Recruitment Of Wide Receiver Signee