4-Star PF William Jeffress Jr. Commits to Pittsburgh over Notre Dame, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2020

Credit: Evan Daniels, 247Sports

Power forward William Jeffress committed to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

The full commitment video can be viewed here.

Jeffress ranks 11th at his position and 58th overall in the 2020 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. The Erie, Pennsylvania, native also received scholarship offers from Baylor, Notre Dame and Penn State.

The Panthers' fortunes on the court cratered following Jamie Dixon's departure for TCU in 2016. They won 24 combined games in two seasons under Kevin Stallings.

However, Jeff Capel appears to be turning the program in the right direction. Nobody expected Pitt to enjoy success overnight, so 14 victories in 2018-19 and 16 in 2019-20 were signs of progress.

With Jeffress on board, Pittsburgh sits 13th in 247Sports' composite team rankings. Assuming that holds, it would be a significant improvement on 2019, when Pitt finished 49th.

Jeffress told 247Sports' Evan Daniels that Capel was the first coach to reach out when the recruiting window opened during his sophomore year.

"We had a 45-minute conversation about me and his vision for the Pittsburgh program," he said. "That really stuck with me for the next two years. Just the unofficials that I got to go on and sitting in his office and talking to him really spoke to me. I feel like it was the right fit. I feel like I said, Pitt was it. When you feel it, you feel it."

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Panthers fans haven't had reason to feel optimistic about the team for a few years, but that is beginning to change.

Pitt's leading scorer and rebounder this season was a true freshman (Justin Champagnie), and the next three leading scorers were all sophomores. Add that to Capel's work on the recruiting trail, and a postseason tournament bid should be attainable in 2020-21.