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Versatile tight end from Massachusetts commits to Pitt

Jerry DiPaola
| Thursday, March 16, 2017, 8:30 p.m.

When Jay Symonds enrolls at Pitt next year and joins the 2018 football team, he might have to make a serious adjustment.

It might be the first time since seventh grade he won't be in the starting lineup. He has started at Cambridge (Mass.) Buckingham, Browne and Nichols High School since he was a 6-foot-1, 175-pound eighth-grader.

Symonds, however, did become the first member of the Class of 2018 to commit to Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi. He did so Thursday after watching the first day of Pitt's spring drills.

“He was such a good athlete, he needed to be on the field,” said BBN coach Mike Willey, who said his school has an enrollment of about 280 boys.

“When I was 13,” Symonds said of his age as a varsity starter. “I was always kind of a bigger kid. I grew up playing with kids two or three years older.”

Pitt recruited Symonds (pronounced Simmons) to play tight end, but he has handled several positions in high school, including H-back, fullback, outside linebacker and multiple positions on the defensive line.

“We move him around in a lot of different ways,” Willey said. “In the slot, wideout in some sets. He has really good ball skills.”

Symonds, 6-4, 257, has offers from Temple, Boston College, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Ivy League schools Brown, Dartmouth and Princeton.

“He's a Division I-type athlete,” Willey said. “You talk about a kid who is that big and runs that well, that's one of the biggest barriers at the Division I level. He checks all those boxes, but it's also how hard he works. He's a great weight room, great practice guy.”

Symonds enjoyed his visit Thursday — he said he especially liked the Oakland campus — and he believes Pitt is the best fit for him.

“My game and my set of skills really fit well with what they need and what they do on offense,” he said.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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