Ocoee High football star Joshua Guerrier on why he committed to Pitt

The Knights' three-star prospect chose the Panthers over Iowa, Tennessee, Wake Forest and others.

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Ocoee High football three-star athlete and rising senior Joshua Guerrier announced his commitment to play college ball at the University of Pittsburgh, via a post on his X account.

“I feel really happy about my decision to go to Pitt,” Guerrier said. “I’ve been talking with God a lot about this day, and I’ve felt like this decision was best for me. My mom and my dad are really happy about it. Everybody I’ve spoken to about it has said it was a good fit for me, including my head coach here at Ocoee, Buck Gurley, told me this is a good fit. So, since I went ahead and picked Pitt, I’ve been really happy about it.”

Guerrier said he chose the Panthers over offers from Power 4 programs, such as Iowa, Tennessee, Wake Forest and others, because of their history and the competition he will face in the ACC. 

“I like that they’re a bit of an underdog,” he said. “I know they’ve had a rough patch this past season, but I have a lot of belief in (what) Pitt is building. They’ve always been a bit of a dream school for me. That’s really one of the reasons why I chose Pitt, along with the fact that it has a reputation as a DB (defensive back) school. Combine that with playing in the ACC — where they pass the ball a lot and it’s a very fast conference and I’m a very fast guy — that’s sort of made it the perfect fit for me.”

In the nine seasons Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi has been in charge of the program, it had just two losing seasons. The Panthers also have reached a bowl game six times, including a New Year’s Six Bowl in 2021. As for having a reputation for producing great defensive backs, Pitt has had nine DBs drafted in the past seven NFL Drafts. 

From the conversations the rising senior has had with the Panthers’ coaches, it looks like Guerrier is in line to become the next great Pitt DB.

“It’s most definitely been focused on me being at the cornerback and safety positions on defense, and playing as a punt returner on special teams,” he said. “I probably will ask them a little about having a package for me on the offensive side. I would love to have the ball in my hands a bit, because I know I could make some plays. But it’s mainly going to be me on defense and on special teams.”

Although Narduzzi and his staff probably will utilize Guerrier at just those spots when he’s playing in the ACC, in the FHSAA, Gurley’s going to put his do-it-all athlete all over the place, because Guerrier is the definition of an athlete on the football field. 

Last season as a versatile DB, he made 34 tackles, caught four interceptions — two of which he returned for touchdowns — and broke up 13 passes. 

As a returner and running back, he gained a total of 744 yards and scored four more touchdowns.

For the Knights in 2024, expect him to, yes, shut down receivers at cornerback; yes, be a ball-hawking centerfielder at safety; and yes, return kicks and punts for touchdowns. 

But he also will catch passes from the wide receiver spot, take handoffs to the house as a running back and even play a decent amount from under center as the Knights’ quarterback.

Guerrier is willing to do it all on the field for the Knights, in pursuit of finishing his Ocoee football career on a high note. But, he’s not letting himself or his team look past its Week 1 game against Apopka High. 

“I mean, obviously, I really want to win a state championship,” Guerrier said. “But, the goal right now is to focus on Game 1. And Game 1 is always a good one against Apopka. We have a solid team. that I think is definitely capable of getting there. We just have to have that same mindset all together. That belief that we can do it. If we can come together like that I feel like we have what it takes to get there this year.



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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