Pitt picked up a commitment from Sam Vander Haar on Thursday evening, a punter in the class of 2022. Vander Harr is a native of Australia and works with Prokick Australia, a program for specialists that has produced numerous Division 1 kickers and punters through the years.
Vander Haar grew up playing Australian Rules Football for most of his life. Last year he discovered Prokick and started working on punting and found that it came very natural to him. The program is headed by Nathan Chapman and John Smith and he has been working with them ever since.
Of course, the Pitt football program is familiar with the Prokick program. Current punter Kirk Christodoulou, also a native of Australia, has been with the team since 2017 and has been the starting punter for Pitt since 2018. So when Pitt asked about some of the punters in the Prokick program, Chapman and Smith thought that Vander Haar would be a good fit.
“We sent some film off and they were interested in me and my abilities,” Vander Haar told Panther-Lair.com. “I spoke to Andre Powell from there and just built a really good relationship with him. Over the last few months I kept sending more film and the offer came. Then I obviously spoke to Coach Narduzzi and a few other coaches from there as well.”
Pitt had a lot of the things Vander Haar wanted in a school. The program presented strong academics and a chance to win, two things he valued quite a bit.
“I think the biggest draw for me was definitely the culture of it,” Vander Haar said of why he chose Pitt. “I think from all the research I’ve done and all the thing I’ve heard, Pitt is really renowned for their culture and just being a big football town. I just love that they’re a university that really wants to win and win championships and obviously being who I am I’m extremely competitive. I want to win and it just seemed like a really good fit and obviously the academics going in and it’s obviously a very renowned, prestigious school, so from that element it’s a no-brainer.”
Of course, Pitt having success with Christoudoulou in recent years helped their pitch and Vander Haar has been able to get feedback from the current Panther.
“I’ve spoken to Kirk in depth over the last few months and he’s wonderful and he’s been a really good sounding board for me,” Vander Haar said. “He’s loved his time and experience there and he’s had such a great college career.”
Vander Haar has never been to Pittsburgh, but he has been to America. His fiancé is from the Cleveland area, and she even attended Duquesne University. For now, Vander Haar is just looking to keep working on his skill, and will be arriving in America around December to spend time with his fiancé’s family for Christmas before enrolling at Pitt in January.
“The next six or so months I’ll be really dialed in honing my craft and just refining technique,” he said.