Sean FitzSimmons made the call this afternoon to commit to Pitt. The 6’3” and 277-pound defensive linemen out of Central Valley High School said he had been feeling like he was getting close to committing for the past month, and decided that today would be the day.
FitzSimmons is a local product and grew up watching Pitt. Having the comfort factor and the chance to play for his hometown team definitely was a key factor in his decision.
“I live right in Monaca, so close to Pittsburgh and they’ve been my hometown team, cheering for them as a little kid and them being so close,” FitzSimmons told Panther-Lair.com about why he chose Pitt. “I’ve just built great relationships with all the coaches, especially Coach Partridge, Coach Borbs (Dave Borbely) and Coach Narduzzi. It just felt like the right choice for me, and I’m excited I committed to Pitt.”
Pitt offered FitzSimmons back on October 8th, but the relationship runs deeper than that. He has been on Pitt’s radar for some time as he’s taken visits to the school and has been to a game at Heinz Field, as well as a junior day when he was still a sophomore.
“I’m very comfortable with all the coaches,” he said. “Just talking to them and getting to know them. I’m close with all of them and it just felt like the perfect fit for me.”
The relationship with Pitt defensive line coach Charlie Partridge was also a big factor in FitzSimmons’ recruitment. Pitt’s success under Partridge on the defensive line caught his attention.
“Coach Partridge is a great coach,” FitzSimmons said. “He teaches them all well and develops guys and they get after it playing and they have multiple All-Americans, dudes getting drafted to the NFL every year from Pitt, it’s amazing to see and I’m very excited to be coached by Coach Partridge.”
He joins a recent group of standout defensive linemen from Western Pennsylvania to stay home and play for Pitt. The group includes Dayon Hayes from the class of 2020, as well as Nahki Johnson, Elliot Donald, and Dorien Ford from the 2021 class. He saw the trend and wanted to join.
“When you have a coach like Coach Partridge right in your hometown, it’s hard to pass up on that,” FitzSimmons said.
On the field, it was a storybook type season for FitzSimmons and his Central Valley team. They went 12-0 including a 35-21 win over Wyomissing in the PIAA Class-3A state championship game. FitzSimmons earned All-State honors and led his team with 18 sacks on the year.
“It was amazing,” he reminisced of his 2020 season. “We’re lucky to even play because of the COVID. It all worked and we got to have a great 12 game season and we got to go win states. We had a great team and it was so much fun.”
A key player on that state championship team was Stephon Hall, a member of Pitt’s 2021 recruiting class. He said the two stay in touch and Hall would often ask about when he was committing.
“Every time he’d run into me he’d be like, ‘come on when are you committing to Pitt?’ And here it is, I’m committed,” he said.
Now that he committed, the focus for FitzSimmons is a crack at another state championship for his senior year.
“I want to help lead my team to a repeat, that’s the goal,” he explained. “We want to become state champs again and you got to work harder to make it happen.”
FitzSimmons is set to take an official visit the weekend of June 10th, the only visit he plans to take as the Central Valley star said he is “locked-in” with Pitt.