POV Readers Fill Out The Lineup

I’ll try to do a weekly spot where I answer some lingering questions raised in the comments section that weren’t subsequently answered by myself or other commenters.  One of those, for example, was regarding how many returning players the other teams have for this season.

Remember Pitt has only 6 Offensive, 4 Defensive and 1 ST players returning.  Here are the others’ returnees numbers.

ACC Returning

So you can see that we are at the bottom numerically if we look at just our offense and defense where we have only 10 returnees.  What does this mean?  Well, we better see the fruits of our expectations for Narduzzi’s recruiting efforts pan out on the field because every other ACC team is reloading at their vacant starting positions also and they all have less spots to fill.  Here is who has more than us of our opponents in ’17:

NC State – 18;   Miami – 17;    GT – 16;    Duke & VT – 14;   SYR & NC – 13. 

I don’t know about you all but when I look at NC State, Miami and GT having so many more returning starters than us I think you have to factor that in when discussing those games in advance – the bookies sure do.  Especially when given the fact that Miami and NC State are replacing whoever they lost with much higher rated recruiting classes than ours.

As we discuss below though… the games are not played on paper or on a laptop (yet, I can’t speak for 50 years from now).

As mentioned, let’s look at how our 2017 opponents’ Rivals.com recruit rankings were during Narduzzi’s first two full recruiting years of 2015 and ’16.

FBS Schools

2015’s  Rank

2016’s  Rank




21 18
Miami 26 23 24.5
NC 28 22 25
NC State 35 43 39
OK State 38 45 41
VT 24 49 42
Duke 62 31 46.5
Pitt 65 29 47
VA 44 61 52
GT 39 67 53

Interestingly enough all of these schools are in the top 41% of the whole 128 teams.

So – other schools reload just as Pitt will this season and as much as we want to think our recruits will do well, and some sure will do well for us, other school’s fans are hoping the exact same thing.

Again – it is the age-old question of is it the “Jimmys and Joes” or the “Xs and Os”.  In our case let’s hope our coaching staff is better that all our opponents because, apparently, our recruits weren’t better than them on paper.

Of course the games are played out on the field and not on paper thus our last season’s wins over PSU and Clemson refute this premise.  Clemson’s previous recruiting classes were ranked 15th in ’13 and 4th in ’14… yet we beat them, didn’t we?

But we can still have fun with this…

Here are those two classes for Pitt as described above.  I left out 2014’s class because it was almost completely Paul Chryst’s commitments, so ’14 and ’15 are all Narduzzi’s kids.


Class of 14



class b

Now – here is where you readers come in.  You pick how many you think will be starting for the Panthers this season and list them in your comments if you would please.

I made a list of starting positions I think could  be filled by players off the two lists above who haven’t already started full-time at Pitt.

For example I listed QB because even thought I’m 100% sure Browne will be the starter it is possible that recruits Tom MacVitte or Ben DiNucci could grab the job.

Or… I listed only one Safety spot because we know that Whitehead will fill one spot there but the other Safety position is up for grabs.  Mitchell and Webb graduated out of  that position so could Hamlin or Stocker grab that vacant spot?

Keep in mind that Kazeon Pugh is a DE now and not a LB so if you are going to list him it has to be there.  Also, you can list Ffrench at DB if you want as it looks like he may go both ways this year… although I doubt he’ll start at WR.

Let’s use only the above recruits and not transfers as that isn’t the thrust of the article – Narduzzi’s actual HS recruiting is – so Browne, Clark and Hendrix are not in the mix here because we are talking about kids off the above lists.

Here is my list, I left out positions which I don’t think will be filled by these two recruiting classes and I’ll post a blank list in a comment so you can copy and paste it for your answers. 

QB – ? (don’t think it will happen)

RB – Chawntez Moss

WR -Aaron Mathews

TE –  Charles Reeves

DE – Rashad Weaver

DT – Keyshon Camp

DT – Amir Watts

LB – Saleem Brightwell

LB – ?

DB – Therran Coleman

DB -?

S –  Jay Stocker

OK – what are your thoughts on this?


66 thoughts on “POV Readers Fill Out The Lineup

  1. Only changes i would make to the list is add Chase Pine to LB who the coaches seem to love, and add Hamlin to the other DB spot.

    And maybe add a second WR slot with Tipton who didnt have a ton of reps but looked really good in the OK State game, i think he will play alot.


  2. But we normally field two WRs at a time and Weah is going to be WR1 – I think Mathews will be in the WR2 spot.

    And Hamlin was moved to Safety after the spring practices.


    1. just nit picking with the wr comment reed, and I only listed Hamlin there because the list said DB not S or CB…other than coleman isn’t everyone else on that list a safety


  3. QB – Dinucci

    RB – Hall

    WR – Matthews

    TE – Deandre Shifino (walk on)

    DE – Edwards

    DT – Watts

    DT – Camp

    LB – Brightwell

    LB – Pine

    DB – (Maddox)

    DB – Jackson

    S – Hamlin

    Some of these picks are just throw-ins knowing another player will take a position such as maybe Mike Herndon who isn’t on the recruitment list, as an example. I like this game but tell me again why we left off the O-Lineman?…


    1. Reed: I wasn’t allowed to use Browne and I was always told not to leave the answer to a question blank. Plus it is a possibility??

      How many games did DJ Johnson and Adam Bisnowaty play as freshman? How many snaps? It’s just a question, I don’t have the answer.


  4. Not sure I understand what you want but here is my expected starters IN SEPTEMBER … this will change as I expect Paris Ford, AJ Davis, Therran Coleman, Kam Carter and Alex Bookser (at a min) to eventually move in. (maybe Hamlin too if healthy) I’m expecting Bookser to be suspended a least 2 games

    QB – Browne (2017)
    OT- Jones-Smith
    OT – O’Neill
    OG – Office
    OG – Piiato
    C- Dintino

    DE- Blair
    DE- Hendrix
    DT- Watts
    DT – Camp
    OLB- Zeise
    OLB – Brightwell
    MLB- Wirginis
    CB- Maddox
    CB- Jackson
    S- Whitehead
    S- Stocker

    On a 3 receiver set which will be used quite often, Mathews will replace Ashton or Clarke


  5. Reed, your list is also mine, with the exception of Allen Edwards starting at DE.
    The ? at DB will be a contest between Coleman as you noted, Campbell, Malik Henderson & a tall Miller. On a hot day I like a tall Miller but just because of another year in the program over these others, I see M. Henderson getting the starting nod.


  6. Many times starters are replaced by committee. For example, guys sharing OLB duties. They should be listed.


  7. So we are replacing more starters than any other team. I guess we are going to find out how good/bad Narduzzi’s recruiting has been. A real transition year. I do think that overall depth has been improved, but not ready to pick starters, too many variables. Should be a very competitive fall practice with so many jobs open.


  8. That’s a good point gc. + who starts game one may not be who starts game two. It also may be what type of O and D PITT chooses to start the game. but I do get the gist….


  9. What Matters:

    QB: Max Browne plays like a MAN as #1 in his Butch Cassidy / or Sundance Kid Last Hurrah out there.

    All will fall into place with that.

    Max Browne doesn’t have to face #1 Alabama then in game-3 a top 20 team with Soloman Thomas and great talent Defense Stanford to start he season.

    LOL —- pswho is all bloated-weight hype no speed — James Franklin just recruits based of Rivals ratings and does not actually watch and see how talented a young man truly is.

    Plus Max Browne has been the “Pet Project” of Baller Strength Coach Dave Andrews from the moment he arrived 🙂 —– Browne is the #1, #2, and #3 player to watch.


    I say 9-3 then 10-2 then Proud Pitt Alum Max Browne being Pitt’s 3rd straight drafted QB, except this time in the top QB discussion!!! 🙂


  10. Literally this is THE MOMENT now at Pitt of Max Browne’s career —- HERE AND NOW at Pitt 🙂 🙂


  11. The more intriguing question to me is who are the starters that will burst on the scene as gangbusters this year from the group of transfers/injuries from last year. That’s where the rubber meets the road for success with this young team, IMO.

    Just look at this list.
    Dewayne Hendrix
    Jordan Whitehead
    Chris Clark
    Max Browne
    Elijah Zeize
    Damar Hamlin
    Amir Watts
    Darrin Hall
    Chawntez Moss
    Jarad Jones-Smith
    Kamonte Carter

    These will be the difference makers if the Panthers are to be a force in the ACC this season.


    1. Yeesh Oy-Vey not even funny —– Jinxes a PITT QB????

      Like saying, Tino Was horrific, wasting a Pitt uniform, and Voytik was an abominable-dud and needed to get replaced ASAP?? — and on Voyty-Boy I mean LITERALLY in his first 4 starting games starting, not in 2015 when Narduzzi arrived and brought Peterman???

      Lol be serious, NOT silly now 🙂 .


  12. Oh wow-wow!!!!

    NO ONE knows what happened after that scene!! Even in history it’s all pure-conjecture and guesses with absolutely ZERO evidence about either of their fates….

    C’MON NOW! lol — a la where Max Browne, previous Unanimous #1 Overall QB via Pocket Passer / Dual Threat / etc. / QB was ranked by everyone, is at here and now, **at Pitt in 2017 🙂 .


  13. QB –DiNucci (Browne injured in camp – hope not but gives me a loooong shot)

    RB –? (Ollison starts)

    WR –Aaron Maththews
    TE –Clarke

    DE –Allen Edwards

    DT – Camp

    DT –Watts (probably Carter or Herndon – I see great rotation here)

    LB –Brightwell (If we are back to walk-on and WR we will not improve at all)

    LB –? Wirginis Paulie recruit

    DB –Coleman – if healthy

    DB –? Maddow
    S- Whitehead


    1. OK —- This is SILLINESS here—->

      Even if you have zero hype for Pitt starting the Previous #1 QB in the Nation and Top-10 OVERALL RECRUIT this year at QB (after so many How many stars were they!!! previous comments —->

      Not 6’5” , 230 , rocket-armed, eligible RS Freshman Thomas MacVittie with 4.5 – 4.6 wheels is your #2??? ……

      Ben DiNucci??? — who SHOWED WHAT HE HAD —-> NOT ENOUGH in the Bowl Game?



  14. I’m pretty sure they got filled with bullets and buried in a shallow grave. Buzzards got to eat.


    1.) Darkie:
    Sundance and Butch run out into the open with 6 shooters and you hear about 100 rounds of bullets coming at them……and you say “no one knows what happened????
    It’s time for your meds
    2.) Dr. Tom: Best line
    “On a hot day I like a tall Miller”


  16. according to Wikipedia .. ‘ The trio traveled first to Argentina and then to Bolivia, where Parker and Longabaugh were supposedly killed in a shootout with Bolivian police in November 1908; the exact circumstances of their fate continue to be disputed.’

    Robert Leroy Parker was Butch Cassidy, Henry Alonza Longabaugh was the Sundance Kid, and the 3rd party was Parker’s girlfriend Etta Place


    1. When I lived in Texas, I would drive 5 hours on back roads to see my Grandma & other relatives in Cross Plains, TX. I would drive through Hico, TX & enjoy a quick snack at the Hico Coffee Cup. The legend was Parker (Cassidy) came back to Texas & lived in the Hico area before he died.

      BTW, Cross Plains was the home of Robert Howard. Howard wrote the Conan the Barbarian series of books. Swargnegger(sic) (body builder, ex gov of CA. recently fired from Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice) made books popular. But already popular among the Sword & Sorcery genre of science fiction (ah youth). Cross Plains sponsored or may still sponsor a Conan the Barbarian Festival.


  17. Well there wasn’t a Butch and Sundance 2. I think most of the stories about survival have been debunked but they are still fun. Believe Etta Pace did live out life after. Here’s hoping Browne is more like High Plains Drifter “who are you?”


  18. from Josie Wales: “To hell with them fellas. Buzzards got to eat, same as worms”

    about Josie Wales: “Not a hard man to track. Leaves dead men wherever he goes”


  19. I grew up in Lawrenceville and went to Bucky Palermo’s shop since I was a kid. Jagr hung out there when he first came to Pittsburgh. Bucky was an artist with anything leather but a nicer man. I am saddened to hear he passed.


  20. Yes, you got it right Gasman and a very good pick to be a surprise this coming season. Anthony McKee jr from non other than Columbus Ohio. 6’2″ 210lbs as of last year and is very highly thought of.

    Believe it or not but PITT is loaded with young, and I mean young, stud athlete’s on defense for the near future. This year is a stretch but who knows? The future is almost NOW!!!


  21. Ike,
    Kinda like “D Back to the Future” or “Future to the D Backs” or whatever!
    I’m all confused!


  22. Darkie – I think TMac is our starting QB. Almost everyone on here is saying our D is a year away (read: “not very good yet”), and your Hero didn’t do all that well against them in the spring game.

    T Mac was only in for like 3-4 snaps. I take that as HCPN not wanting anyone to see what he’s got at QB. We all know what a secretive rascal he (PN) is.


  23. The problem with this exercise is that I think you’re going to see more of last year’s starters lose their starting spots, not including those who left the program. I see up to 6 new starters on offense considering the Bookser DUI situation, although most likely temporary. I see up to 8 new faces starting on defense.

    QB: Browne (new)
    RB: Moss (new)
    FB: Aston or 3rd WR: Mathews (new)
    WR: Weah
    WR: Henderson
    TE: Clark (new)
    OL: O’Neil, Officer, Dintino (new), Bookser (hmm/Justice Morgan(new)?), Jones-Smith (new)

    DE: Hendrix (new)
    NT: Camp (new)
    DT: Watts (new)
    DE: Blair
    LB: Brightwell (new)
    LB: Pine (new)
    LB: Zeis (new)
    CB: Maddox
    SS: Hamlin (new)
    FS: Whitehead
    CB: Dane Jackson (new)


  24. The problem that Reed highlights with so many veteran defensive players gone is really not much of a probl m in my eyes. This will be a transition season for Pitt & it should be one of clawing it’s way up to the next level.

    The young blood available to plug into the multiple gaps of the roster will be raw and inexperienced but the talent level will be better. It’s all a matter of these newbies being able to rise to the occasion.

    There was a mention of Pitt having to “reload” this year. I think that is a misrepresentation of the situation. We ain’t loaded with talented 4 star sophomores & juniors that have patiently waited their turn to play. We don’t have that kind of quality depth yet. What we do have though is adequate depth to field a quality starting line up.
    This situation is no more apparent that the speculation surrounding guys like Davis at RB & Paris Ford at DB. These two guys would be RSed for sure on an Iguo State or Alabama team, no chance for playing time. At Pitt the discussion on Ford is if he is as good as advertised that he could start! That just confirms the level of depth or lack of it that Pitt possesses at this point.

    That’s not a problem though unless the injury bug hits hard. That issue was exposed in the Pinstripe bowl when both Conner & Peterman went down. We just don’t have the two deep roster yet at every position to plug in the next guy up and keep winning without missing a beat.

    So the speculation will continue until some of these new guys show their potential in real games. We will learn a lot in both the PSU & OK ST games. Let’s pray we stay healthy.


    1. as one who is typing challenged, allow me to translate. Iguo is Ohio. BTW, confefe is coverage in case you weren’t aware


  25. Tossing, with all respect but Narduzzi would have to be a complete idiot to let Josh Conklin put that defensive lineup out on the field at the beginning of the season.

    There is more to playing defense than just raw talent. It has to have experience and know-how and knowledge to be able to position correctly for the offenses they face. You can’t do that if you’ve never played before.

    Brightwell has only a few starts under his belt, maybe one or two, the rest of the team listed save for Whitehead and Maddox is brand new and I think we’d be losing a lot of games if we did that.

    We will play Wirginis (3rd in sacks), Idowu (3rd leading tackler), Roy and some other upperclassmen. Narduzzi has already talked about the possibility of Motley, Maddox and Briggs being with Whitehead to start the season.

    Roy and/or Herndon will be one of the inside DL starters.

    Now we could see your lineup in the 2nd half of the year I think but not against YSU, PSU or OK State.

    The best path to a YSU upset would be to throw all those young and inexperienced players out there. That team is going to be ready to play us and Pitt has lost to “less talented” teams before.

    Actually I am very nervous about that game anyway but that is for another article and another time.


    1. The leadership of Whitehead, Maddox, Wriginis, Zeise, Blair & Edwards will be sufficient to keep this young defensive squad in position. The interior line will be the biggest question mark to begin the season. Will JC transfer Carter come in ready to play at this level, that’s the $64,000 question.


  26. When I look at Reed’s list of Narduzzi recruits, I see good (not great) talent that could mature into starting talent.

    Like at DE – K.Pugh, Z.Gilbert, R.Weaver and P.Jones are competitive young men who want to play. R.Blair and Hendrix need to stay healthy and show a nastiness to get to the QB or these four will be competing for their spot as a starter each week.

    At RB – Q.Ollison is the best of the current bunch, not counting the newest additions of AJ Davis and T.Sibley. Once the latter two arrive, QO will have four top quality back-ups that want his job. Three of those four have a 4 star rating.

    At WR – the two probable starters in J.Weah and Q.Henderson must hold onto the ball or A.Mathews, Ruben Flowers, M.Ffrench and the new addition from FLA Smith could take the spotlight come ACC time.

    At LB – look for Chase Pine and A.McKee to eventually work into a starting spot or two. This position was definitely a weakness from the Chryst days and is in need of a talent upgrade on the field. S.Brightwell should be a starter if his performance from last year carries over in his work ethic and practice performance. How can you not like Wirginis, but there must be a reason he hasn’t started yet.

    At S – I’m a Hamlin junkie and want this guy to show us Pitt fans why he was so sought after. I think newcomer P.Ford will give everyone at S and CB a run for their money, he is that good.

    At CB – I think the talent is there and now the players who grasp the technique will play. I look for a few surprise starts from one or two that we’re not thinking of.

    At DT – by the first ACC game, we may have seen six different starters. Depth and fresh legs will be the key at this position.

    On the Oline – Bookser was already being challenged by Duzz recruits and now he may have lost his starting spot. With good play by his replacement, he may only get back on the field if an injury occurs. Morgan, Pilato and Drake seem to be in line for starters time.

    At QB and TE – we know Pauley left the cupboard bare and Duzz had to find talent quick. Browne and Clark need to stay healthy or this could be a very disappointing season from a W-L perspective. McVitte and Reeves look to be future stars (IMO), but they will only be “ok” back-ups this year.



  27. Nerd Alert: In the Big 33 game last night won by PA, Pitt commit Darian Street had 3 receptions for 84 yards, including a 51 TD


  28. Hey,
    No ones talking about the guy who puts actual points on the scoreboard – as in our field goal kicker!
    Yes, another brand new guy just out of the box and bubble wrap. He alone can make or break our season!


  29. You guys and Zeise. He has been at Pitt 3 years and played like 15 plays. Hanging your hat on a wr becoming a lb is silly.


  30. Happy fathers Day to all the fathers and even the fellows and gals who are not.

    PittMan. couldn’t plug in a kicker as that would have been against the rules of this exercise. Why you starting all the trouble again… 🙂 ..

    Upitt, I half remember you and our good Dr Tom engaged in a bet, I was wondering who won that ice cream cone? Didn’t you guys meet for lunch to square things up?

    I appreciate the time, effort and passion Galambos and Cabrara gave to PITT football. Let’s just hope that PITT doesn’t have players that smart again without athletic ability. Plus I don’t think Wirginis is dumb at all. That kid can fly for a middle linebacker. Big Upgrade there.


    1. Not an ice cream cone ike. Drinks, dinner & cigar after dinner. And Upitt delivered on all counts! Had to do with Boyd being drafted way higher than Upittbaseball had predicted in the NFL draft.

      The guy in real life is the most pleasant individual. His Pitt POV persona is some vile alter ego that he has conjured up however. Why? Who knows?

      One of the main reasons that I consistently bust his online gonads whenever he flashes his negativity towards all things Pitt however. Of course, all in good fun.


      1. Oh I remember the story and am absolutely sure Upitt is a good man. I just thought it might be a good time to remind him that he’s not always right. Thanks to you that is….


  31. Here is my projected starting line-up for offense against YSU –

    QB – Browne
    RB – QO
    WR 1 – Weah
    WR 2 – QH
    TE 1 – Clark
    TE 2 – Flanagan or FB – Aston
    C – Dantino
    LG – Officer
    LT – O’Neill (we hope)
    RG – Drake (trueFR)
    RT – Jones-Smith

    The game plan will be to run QO, Aston & QH down their throats with power football. The line will dominate and take the pressure off Browne who will hit J.Weah on a few deep routes to loosen up his arm for the nitters.

    The play calling will be very vanilla just like O’Canada’s 1st game last year.

    The nitters will prepare to stop the run in creepy valley. Browne, Clark, A.Mathews and J.Weah will put on an air show similar to the Blue Angels.

    Let the 2017 Pursuit begin!


  32. My defensive starting line-up for YSU looks like this –

    DE – Hendrix
    NT – Herndon
    DT – Watts or Roy
    DE – Blair or A.Edwards
    MLB – Wirginis
    OLB – Brightwell
    OLB – Zeise or McKee
    CB – Maddox
    CB – Motley
    S – J.Whitehead
    S – Briggs or Stocker

    The bench will play at a 3-deep level with constant rotation to keep guys fresh and see who is ready for the non-rivalry game in creepy valley. Hamlin, P.Ford, Chase Pine, K.Pugh, Miller, Coleman, M.Henderson, Ffrench, Camp, Carter, Weaver, P.Jones and Z.Gilbert all want significant playing time.

    These players will push each other to be better, the strength coach Andrews will work them to be better this offseason and most importantly, the coaching staff will now be coaching up their recruits.

    Go big or go home! This team will show up motivated each week and be ready to play.



  33. Reed – the defensive talent that Chryst left Duzz was/is that bad. As Dr. Tom alluded to, under normal circumstances, this much turnover is generally scary but, in Pitt’s case, it’s a positive. It’s an influx of speed and talent into the lineup. Sometimes you just have to let them play. Besides, having former starters on your bench is great for depth … something Pitt has severely lacked. Add in that Duzz runs a system defense, he’s going to play the best players for the system, especially if a player has been in the system for a year. Chryst players just don’t fit what Duzz runs. Sorry. When you run a system like Duzz does, it negates some of the lack of experience. This is the rare opportunity where the talent and fit is so much greater than experience and “smarts” that it’s a positive for the program. He’s said several times, it’s an easy defense. The reason it hasn’t looked easy is that he hasn’t had players to play in it.

    This is a bridge year anyways. Unlike fans who live in the moment, Duzz is looking at the future. He’ll talk Coastal championships and winning and he’ll get his players to buy-in because he’s a great motivator but, in truth, he’s looking at the next 3-4 years as when Pitt will be in prime position to peak. This season will be the set up to the future. The good thing is it will be the last season approached this way. Next season is when the future arrives.

    YSU is scary because it was in the championship game last season. YSU is also built with an “old school” mentality of ball control, time of possession, move the chains … where have we seen that before? JMU, and a modern college offense, murdered YSU. YSU will have trouble with Pitt’s up-tempo offense. Points will be scored. This won’t be like last year, with Pitt coming out conservative to hide it’s game plan from PSU. Pitt will have to come ready to use the entire playbook … and they will. Watson and Pellini have some history too. The offense will come out trying to make a statement.


  34. By the way, YSU, I believe, is also going thru a rebuild too. They were an experienced team last year that lost a lot of talent. I think the QB is returning but they’re a run heavy team, so it’s a moot point. Add in the drama with Watson and Pellini and Duzz’s history with YSU … I’m not worried about an overlooked team.


  35. TT – YSU is is a rebuilding year – that is why I believe Pitt won’t reveal too much offense unless it is a tight game.

    We should be able to dominate the line and manhandle this D2 power…


  36. This very green defense is going to be cutting its teeth on Penn State and Oklahoma State, enough said.


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