It looks like we are seeing some more of the every-year roster changes that happen for various reasons – most often 5th year players being moved out of the program and others who have seen the handwriting on the wall regarding playing time.  This is done most often to clear up scholarships.  To jog your memories a D1 school is allowed only 85 scholarships on the roster at any one time.

Listed below are the players who will be redshirt Seniors in 2017.  Remember that at this point in their careers each of these kids will have had a full four years in attendance as student/athletes at Pitt and should have an under graduate degree by this time… or very soon. 

In the past there was an unwritten policy Pitt adhered to… if a player accepted a scholarship and kept his nose clean and met all his academic, team and athletic department requirements Pitt would give them a full four years in return.

But I believe that informal policy went by the wayside after Dave Wannstedt was head coach.  Anyway, here is that listing.  Players in red and crossed off are already off the roster and have decided to leave; players in black are not on scholarship at this time or at any point.

Player Year
96 Allen Edwards 6-4/245 DL rsJR Miami, Fla./Dean (MA)
94 Jeremiah Taleni 6-2/290 DL rsJR Kaneohe, Hawaii/Kailua
85 Jester Weah 6-3/210 WR rsJR Madison, Wis./Madison Memorial
84 Zach Poker 6-4/240 TE rs JR Oconomowoc, Wis./
80 Zach Challingsworth 6-2/195 WR rs JR McDonald, Pa./South Fayette
72 Carson Baker 6-5/320 OL rsJR Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn
63 Alex Officer 6-4/335 OL rsJR Rochester, N.Y./Eastridge
60 Aaron Reese 6-5/310 OL rsJR Chambersburg Pa.
55 Jaryd Jones-Smith 6-7/325 OL rsJR Camden, N.J./West Catholic (Pa.)
45 Devon Edwards 6-4/255 DL rsJR Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy
40 Colton Lively 6-0/240 FB rsJR Lake Dallas, Texas/Lake Dallas
35 Rob Boatright 510/185 DB rsJR Clairton, Pa./Clairton
29 Rachid Ibrahim 6-1/195 RB rsJR Rockville, Md./Avalon
27 Nico Lodovico 6-1/230 LB rsJR Murrysville, Pa./Kent State
24 James Conner 6-2/235 RB rsJR Erie, Pa./McDowell
18 Ryan Winslow 6-5/210 P rsJR Maple Glen, Pa./La Salle College HS

Some of these players we know have decided to move on or have been told that their scholarships won’t be extended for a 5th year. Those players are:

Image result for james connerrsJR RB James Conner – has decided to forgo his 4th year of NCAA eligibility as he’s declared for the NFL draft and probably has an agent by now. I’m not going to show his accomplishments – that is way too long a list, but here is a bit of info and his stats:

“He was named first team All-ACC this season after rushing for 1,060 yards and 16 touchdowns on 208 carries (5.1 avg.)…Conner is also putting up the best receiving numbers of his career with 20 receptions for 299 yards (14.9 avg.) and four touchdowns…his 20 total TDs rank sixth nationally and his 120 points rank seventh in the country…he is the 2016 recipient of the Disney Sports Spirit Award presented annually to college football’s most inspirational figure”

conner-career

rsJR WR Image result for zach challingsworthZach Challingsworth“2015: Played in 10 games, starting four contests…starting assignments came against Youngstown State, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Louisville…totaled 12 receptions for 171 yards (14.2 avg.) and a touchdown on the year…posted career highs with three catches for 57 yards and a 13-yard touchdown in Pitt’s 31-13 win at Duke…his touchdown catch against the Blue Devils opened the game’s scoring and he also had a 33-yard reception that set up a Pitt TD in the third quarter.”

At one point we all thought he’d be in the lineup on a much more regular basis.  That was before Jester Weah started catching the football in real games and Matt Canada went to the smaller and faster WRs more often than OCs Joe Rudolph and Jim Chaney did. Our recent WR recruits have all been speedsters and I think Challingsworth probably felt he was recruited over. Here are his stats:

Chally career.png

rsJR RB Rachid Ibrahim -“2015: Did not play in any games and redshirted after sustaining a torn Achilles during training camp. Rachid Ibrahim

2014: Played in all 13 games as a reserve running back…averaged 8.0 yards per carry, netting 263 yards on 33 carries…added 11 receptions for 73 yards (6.6 avg.) and two kickoff returns for 30 yards (15.0 avg.) on the year…posted career highs with 91 yards on 14 carries (6.5 avg.) in the season opener vs. Delaware…had 66 yards on just three carries (22.0 avg.) against Georgia Tech…had a career-long 50-yard run in the Georgia Tech contest…had 23 yards on three carries (7.7 avg.) against Syracuse.”

I really felt that Ibrahim would be a big contributor as his time at Pitt progressed but injuries and other recruits took a toll on that. His 6.6 yards per carry average was excellent though and that was on a full 60 carries.  He just never fit into this staff’s plans. 

I’ll always remember the great time I had with his brother at the 2014 spring game though. Here are his stats:

ibrahim-career

Image result for zach poker pittTE Zach Poker2015: Limited to the season’s initial four games as a reserve defensive end due to a foot fracture…totaled four tackles, 1.5 TFLs and a sack on the year…had a season-high three stops with a TFL assist at Iowa…had a 10-yard sack in the opener against Youngstown State.”
Image result for mike grimm pitt
rsSO OL Mike Grimm2015: Did not play in any games. 2014: Redshirted as a true freshman.
He also has left the team – he had limited playing time and also was battling injuries.  He hadn’t been listed in the two-deep at all this last season.
Image result for Alex Paulina pitt

rsFR OL Alex Paulina – this isn’t 100% confirmed yet but the talk is that he’s leaving the Pitt program also. Paulina was in Narduzzi’s first recruiting class and was a 3* recruit by Rival.com. Rivals also gave him a “point score” of 5.7 which is .1 point away from being a 4* recruit.

If this is true that he’s leaving then it s a rather big loss on the OL, especially as he was a local kid, ranked #13th in the state and was Narduzzi’s first recruit. I really hope he stays.

Again – this bit about Paulina isn’t confirmed but has been discussed in some quarters. I may have missed a player or two but I think that list above is correct – if not please let me know and I’ll update as always.

EDIT:  It has been mentioned that both Aaron Reese and OL Carson Baker have left the team also – I’ll keep trying to confirm that.

129 thoughts on “C C C C C-Changes to Ease the Roster

  1. speculation is that there is another commit with HCPN tweet of a bout an hour ago

    at Narduzzi ‏@CoachDuzzPittFB 1h1 hour ago
    PITT IS IT! #H2P #SteelCity17 #SilentAssassin

    The first part is the Pat Signal … but not sure

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  2. Anonymous is my Dear Buddy Doc. As a side note. Catscan wait was 5 hours. Catscan 3 mins. 😂

    This is literally how fast my Doctor walks.

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  3. UPitt – I will continue to pray for you – have been for weeks. You have a good and caring boss.

    Louisiana-Lafayette: With the addition of Will Hall as offensive coordinator, previous OC / quarterbacks coach Jorge Munoz will move to wide receivers, previous WR coach Michael Desormeaux will move to running backs, previous RB coach Marquase Lovings will move to defensive ends, and defensive line coach Levorn Harbin will move to defensive tackles.

    Cal: Eastern Washington wide receivers coach Nicholas Edwards will join the Cal staff in the same role, according to multiple reports. Edwards spent two years at EWU and becomes the fourth EWU coach to move to the Pac-12 this offseason. He will join former EWU head coach and new Cal OC Beau Baldwin.

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  4. Things come into focus a bit when our health is threatened, but we don’t necessarily want you to be positive. Most of us have accepted you, negativity and all, despite some dust-ups. 🙂

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  5. UPitt, did you see an ENT like I suggested?
    Hell, no.
    When they do the rectal exam, make sure the docs hands aren’t on both shoulders.

    Get better, dude.

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  6. Just catching up on the comments from today,,,er yesterday(now),

    Upitt my son….are you alright and getting a knob job from a nurse ?

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  7. UPitt – I hope your night got better since the last we heard from you. You are a big contributor to the POV Spring golf outing – we need you to be healthy.

    LSU: Offensive coordinator Matt Canada (and former Pitt OC) will earn $1.5 million annually on a 3-year deal, according to The Advocate. That makes Canada the highest-paid offensive coordinator in the country.

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  8. Can’t wait to hear the comments like “need more players from wpa” since we have 6-7 Florida guys and 5 from Ohio.
    Unless it an ic light or a Primanti’s sammich, Florida and Ohio usually have better to offer.

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  9. Gotta be Twyman. That is one of his nicknames. Should put us in low 30’s. close strong and flip one or two and we get to mid 20’s in my opinion.

    Gotta hold Reeves and Carter Warren.

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  10. Fact is that, except for Ford, we didn’t get any of the 4-stars from WPIAL. A handful went to ND, D Jeter to Michigan and CJ Thorpe to PSU … although he is visiting both Mich and UCLA the next 2 weekends.

    Thorpe’s dad, Chris, is a former PSU player, and told Urban Myer early last year not to not bother recruiting him .. and didn’t tell anyone about this, including CJ. This story came out just a couple of weeks ago .. maybe CJ is rebelling. I assume CJ grew up in an extreme anti-Pitt environment.

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  11. Yes Twyman appears to be the silent verbal. Thorpe gong to Michigan for a visit can’t be a bone to a former PSU player who coaches at Michigan. At this time of the process, I think he may have some serious interest.

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  12. @ JJ, I think that Michael Smith is going to be a gem in this recruiting class, not immediately though, only because guys like Weah, Ffrench, Mathews & Flowers are ahead of him and have earned playing time in 2017 already. But come 2018, this Smith guy is going to have a Boyd like impact on this Pitt football team. Big prediction, I know, but just remember this kid’s name when he begins making waves come Spring ball 2018.

    Why such lofty predictions over a middle of the pack 3 Star recruit? First, the kid just began playing organized football a year ago in his Junior year of HS. Second, in light of the above, Smith in his Senior year literally takes over games all season long producing a record breaking performance in both receiving yards gained & TDs for his high school (27 TDs!). Third, this was all accomplished in the hotbed of recruiting FLORIDA where the football is played at a high level to begin with.

    Now onto Smith’s physical assets and skill set. Watch the HUDL highlight video that Reed posted above until the 3rd snipit, that sideline one handed snatch of a reception while shielding the defender off with good body position was typical “Boyd like” technique. The rest of the video demonstrates that Smith possesses soft hands, the speed to run under the long vertical pass and the ability to see the pass trajectory early & adjust to it accordingly. There were multiple “underthrown” balls that Smith halted his route on so early as to lose his defender at the very time that he was accelerating to keep up with Smith. Meanwhile Smith stops on a dime and catches the ball as the CB overruns the route. This makes a bad pass by the QB a big gainer. So Smith makes his QB look better than he really is. The last two things are 1) his physical stature, already 6’2″ 205lb at the ripe age of 17. That is an impressive physique, 2) acceleration, once again “Boyd like” acceleration with an even a higher top-end speed.

    Michael Smith, he’s going to be a great one.

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  13. I agree this Smith young man looks like a real sleeper and a good player. This is a great find for the PITT coaches and shows how recruiting is more than a little different with these guys. I like it.

    Question, a few years ago PITT found a WR from Texas somewhere who Smith is reminding me about. He was also new to football with all the skills needed in D-1 football but I believe he was more raw than MS. I’m not comparing the two just similar scenarios and circumstances. Problem is that the Texas young man never made it to PITT. Anyone remember his name? Just throwing that out there, hope Smith and all the verbals come through on LOI….ike

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  14. Love to see Kam Carter because he would provide immediate depth th the D-line, as long as he has moved past what caused the problems at PSU.

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  15. Thayer Mundford looks like he is going to end up at OSU. He doesn’t have an offer from them as of yet, but expect them to offer and him to accept in the next 3-5 days. I thought he would fit in perfectly with our group of OL this period, but again, I think he is heading to OSU. Glad to see two of our OL recruits upgraded to 4 stars by one of the services.

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