O’Neill is Gone Also


December 15, 2017

 Statement from Pitt Offensive Tackle Brian O’Neill:
After careful consideration over the last few weeks, I have decided to enter the 2018 NFL draft. I do not take this decision lightly; therefore, I took an extensive amount of time discussing the situation with my family and coaches. Ultimately, I believe this is the best course of action to achieve my ultimate goal.

“Looking back on the past four years, I consider myself one of the luckiest guys in the world. As an incoming freshman, I was welcomed with open arms into this team, school and community. I am extremely proud to have earned my degree and will always call the University of Pittsburgh home.

“I am forever grateful to a number of individuals instrumental in my development as a player and person. Coach Narduzzi and Coach Peterson’s support and guidance has been incredible. I am truly appreciative for them and all my teammates and coaches. Additionally, I maintain a special appreciation for Coach Dave Andrews, Coach Dave Bucar and Mark Diethorn. I will never be able to thank all the people who have helped me throughout the past several years, but their support does not go unnoticed.

“Moving forward, there is nothing more important to me than representing my family, teammates, coaches, and this great University in a first-class manner. The entire Pittsburgh community has been great to me – thank you!

145 thoughts on “O’Neill is Gone Also

  1. You guys say whatever you want this much attrition is not good. So I see a 5-6 win team but hey we locked up a coach who hasn’t proved he can win with “his” guys. The ones that are left of “his” guys.


    1. The only thing on the stove cooking IMO is the NFL paycheck. In O’Neil’s case he will also get a NFL Bonus Check depending on his draft status.


    2. Pitt’s sack total was way up last year from the previous year with him at LT. I know it’s not his fault, but NFL coaches may think he didn’t help either. He did make 1st team all-ACC though. (no way that would change in 2018)

      Pickett has a fast release and is harder to sack. I think he’s making a mistake not playing as a senior. There’s always the injury factor though….


  2. Come on Upitt. Out of all the players that should go pro it is him.

    His leaving hurts more than any other player in my opinion. He is a leader and good player.


  3. O’Neill going pro…was there really any question? Not saying it is the right or wrong move…but it was an easy bet. UPitt, are you saying you did not expect this about this time last year?


  4. Out of all the kids leaving this is the only kid I think should. He is not making a mistake offensive tackles are making crazy money in the nfl, with a good combine he could be drafted high unlike quadree lee and Greg whitehead. I understand why all three are leaving but O Neil leaving makes the most sense he has his degree too.
    Question? Does anyone know if henderson and whitehead don’t make it and decided to come back for there degree do they have to pay or does the scholarship still cover it?


  5. Why would O’Neill and QH declare for the draft? What’s wrong with another year of free education and possibly having a break out year to give a much needed improvement to your stock?

    The only place these two are going in football is where Sir Tino went…to a CFL practice squad.


  6. O’Neil leaving should not be a surprise to anyone. Before the season it was assumed. He had a down year but, if you recall, he missed everything football related after the Spring Game, including summer camp, due to his shoulder injury. He started the season cold.

    There is 100% roster turnover every 5 years. About 20 kids a season should be leaving (on average). Next man up.

    Par for the course in college football. The more kids Pitt puts in the NFL the better it is for the program.

    Losing a good offensive lineman is always a concern but this is not something that is a surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. O’Neill is a bright young man and he gets good advise from his Dad who is a lawyer. What a great family. Met them at a couple at away games. Best wishes Mr. O’Neill and thanks for the memories. We will be rooting for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gloom, despair, O’Neill is leaving too. Deep dark depression, how will we see it through? If it weren’t for bad news we’d have no news at all. Gloom, despair, the next to leave is who? – Hobie


  9. I can’t blame any one of these kids for leaving for the pros, not even Henderson. Football takes such a toll on your body. If there’s a good chance of making significant money playing football, go for it. I don’t really see a huge benefit of an extra year in school. Yeah, you could raise your draft stock with a good season, but you could also have a bad year and lower your draft stock, or you could get hurt at the end of the next season which would affect your ability to be 100% for the combine and all the testing. If you have the confidence that your draft stock will go up next year, then you probably also have the confidence that you will be good enough to make an NFL roster and be around long enough to make it past the rookie contracts (where the chances of earning some real nice money starts for most players).


  10. O’Neill’s shoulder injury was a pretty bad. Not good for any football player but especially for an O-Lineman. He needs to start making money for his troubles imo.. Nothing to see here..

    Narduzzi took a good TE prospect and turned him into a burgeoning O-Line prospect.

    Anyone think that HCPN told BD and TommyMac that he was going to be bringing in a juco QB or two? Cause I do.

    Get set to hear about Narduzzi’s contract extension now and until doomsday or when he beats psu and Notre Dame next year.

    I found the anonymous article to be fair enough and I did appreciate it as I have been around from way back as well. His last sentence was sure spot on.. “Patience, support, and encouragement are what is needed from the fans”.

    So much has changed with PITT the past few years and I really cannot get a grip on why the ancient past is brought up so often. The funny part of that is that recollection of PITT football only goes back to the mid eighties but the mid 70’s and early 80’s are considered persona non grata. ike


  11. Congratulations to all that are entering the draft. Mark my word, at Keats five other starters will be leaving the program and one will really shock you…..


  12. Couple things Roc. Firstly, the only players that could leave that would really shock me are Paris Ford and/or KP. Also, would like to know if any of your anticipated leavings would be through a personal invitation from the head coach or their own decision? Thank you ike


    1. Ike, Ford is having a really difficult time with academics. A rather significant booster here in Harrisburg told me that five additional will be leaving as well. He didn’t mention any specific names other than Ford’s academic issues.


  13. Other than QH – none of these transfer/NFL players is a surprise. The other schools aren’t impacted yet due to bowl preparation.


  14. Upitt, name me a better coach we could get at PITT right now? Pitt is what it is. Though, I would like better recruiting out of this group of coaches


    1. Joe Moorhead was available.

      He is a great coach and he would of came to Pitt and is an actual Pittsburgher. Not some Youngstown guy claiming he is Pittsburgh.


  15. What’s the difference between Joe Moorehead and Pat Narduzzi except Narduzzi is already the head coach going into his fourth year?


    1. Moorhead turned both PSU into a major winner. It started with him. He also was already a HC previously as well to PSU. His offense is pretty damn prolific.


      1. I’m just glad he left the pedos for anywhere else. I am wonder though, where are all the guys transferring out because he left?


  16. ^^ I’ll answer my own question from above. Joe Morrehead is not a current coach at PITT.. otherwise if he was, we all know how much he would be appreciated..


  17. I will put money that 5 starters do not leave the program with anyone? Name the starters on this team (24 counting kickers) and any amount of money and a time when the bet ends.


  18. Good one JoeL. You can include Greensburg/Latrobe as non Pittsburgh people .. How dare us wannabees.

    Leaving is an ambiguous word in this discussion. ?? Think, just for a second.


  19. Ike – Stay positive while anyone good other than Pickett is leaving. Your boy narduzzi sure is a winner. 5 wins in Year 3. How many next year? 5? What will be the excuses next year? He lost players? Transition year? Pickett is young? I’m dying to know. Hey at least Heather is in charge and paying more money for less wins.


  20. Watch that bet EDR, Terms and conditions need apply. Does the bet include players that are out of eligibility?

    Why is it that an anonymous poster can’t give out details? Just change your screen name to “deep throat” and yada yada yada your still anonymous… << yes, I brought back the yada… 🙂


  21. I find it funny not one person inquired about hiring Narduzzi. Not one. No wonder he is happy as no other schools wants him.


  22. Jiordan whitehead‏ @jwhite_333
    Thank you coach for a great 3 years !jordan whitehead added,

    Pat Narduzzi@CoachDuzzPittFB
    Best wishes to Brian O’Neil, @jwhite_333 & @DreeHenderson You guys will ALWAYS be Panthers and you’ll ALWAYS have our support as you pursue your dreams in football and life. Thanks for all you’ve done to make Pitt proud! Hail to Pitt!


  23. The point is Mark, I don’t have all this inside information that PITT will only win 4 or 5 games next year. So I will stay positive and I appreciate you will do yours.. No skin off my tail. btw Mark, A question in my head, are you from Pa? I only ask that because I’m not sure you are a Pa boy. << not stocking you buddy.


    1. No Ike I was born in another country and dropped off as a orphan at the Coal Mine in Greene County. Raised by miners until the government found out and they let me live with a nice family in Uniontown.


    2. If Narduzzi wins 5 games next year and he makes 6M over 2 years that is 600k a win. Seems pretty high to me.

      Ike – Are you from PA? You strike me as an Massachusets Guy.


    3. Uniontown is a part of Fayetteville Nam. Just West Virginia extended. I know of what I speak I grew up in Connellsville. (Said tongue in cheek)


  24. Let me recap. We lost

    Whitehead – Overated and with his past is a 2nd maybe 3rd rounder.

    Henderson – Maybe goes 7-8th round to someone. Maybe

    O’Neil – Pretty Good but could of raised his stock – 3rd rounder.

    Dinucci and MacVettie – Only backups who know the system and we are looking at bringing a running qb in that no zero resemblemce to Pickett or the offense we run. That isn’t smart.

    Oh and a RB quit right?

    Oh and the backup kicker who kneels for National Anthem.


    1. SO you agree with the rest of us – we haven’t lost much at all…we all know you don’t like PN or HL – but give it a break and come up with something new – if you can – a leave the baseball coach alone too – we already know you don’t care for him.


        1. I agree – he’s done well – but soon someone will come after him! I’ll repeat what I said earlier – other than QH there has been talk all year about #9 and #70 going early to the draft and most people hoped that #7 and #3 would transfer – so what is the issue (other thank you don’t like PN)?


          1. I don’t like Narduzzi whatsoever so I won’t comment any further. If more oids leave it will be telling. Ego is for people that have accomplished things. Narduzzi has won 8 games twice and 5 last year and never won a bowl game so he hasn’t earned the right to be cocky or have an ego.


  25. In and of itself this departure wouldn’t be an issue. However, it’s not isolated and frankly it is another data point (potentially) in what cryptically has been discussed by many on this blog.

    There is a lot of stuff (potentially) going on behind closed doors in the southside and expect to see more early departures/transfers was being discussed (I am not using quotes because this was not the quote in verbatim).

    Now this is again the value of this blog that I have come to appreciate. Reed keeps his sources anonymous but has time and again proven to me to be an invaluable resource for things that you won’t get from Pantherlair or the folks that have a stake at keeping a good relationship with the man.

    I remember discussing for quite some time now that things weren’t as rosy as they were portrayed to be on the Southside. However, I was left scratching my head on that statement when at the same time people were heralding the extension of Nard-dog.

    It doesn’t mean I don’t get the need to have a commitment to a coach for future recruiting purposes…I do. However, I really am trying to grasp what is happening behind closed doors with the signal with a longer term commitment to the current HC.

    The only thing I can come up with is whatever is happening in the tumultuous environment is being sanctioned by the powers that be.

    btw Reed my comment wasn’t a plug…I sincerely am amazed at the info you have from your sources. I have come to rely heavily on what you know or hear and it’s one of the things that really pissed me off when you were being accused of something. I understand the need for confidentiality and frankly if you didn’t do that we wouldn’t be able to get access to the info you have share with us in the first place.

    Anyway, I just don’t know what to make of all of this. Is it a housecleaning? Is it just due to losing? Is it due to mistakes made by the current coaching staff on recruits and they try to do a reset by purging mistakes? Is it the losing only? Is it recruiting bad character kids? locker room cancers?

    Or is it a more of a problem from an immature head coach/staff that is impatient and has ego issues?

    The fact is most kids will often take that extra year if they think their draft stock/$$$$ has a chance to increase. Is this an indication that most of these kids think another 5 win season is the likely occurrence next year?

    I just don’t know and I am left to scratch my head.

    Dave D


  26. The fact is most kids will often take that extra year if they think their draft stock/$$$$ has a chance to increase. Is this an indication that most of these kids think another 5 win season is the likely occurrence next year?

    That is not true at all. Last year was the most undrafted eligible college players ever. More are leaving not less. Players leave for a variety of reasons. Most don;t have a two round grade but leave anyway.
    Programs lose kids every year. Academics, playing time, over recruited many reasons. Somehow Pitt should be immune to kids leaving….really!.Programs lose kids. ND loses half the class by their junior year,


    1. Perhaps…but you would hope that parents/coaches may remind them of things like this…


      I would still say that if you are a borderline 4th or 5th round pick…there is a good chance you may not even get drafted based on the above article.

      I would hope parents/coaches would guide these student athletes to make a good decision. However, that really wasn’t the gist of my question, but I will say my statement probably was more anecdotal and less statistically accurate and for that I will tip my cap to you and say you are correct fine sir.


      Dave D


  27. Anyone who’s paid to be in charge of over one hundred people better have an ego. Ego comes before accomplishments most of the time. Just the thought of one thinking they can lead is egotistical at face value. .


  28. No surprise, Bookser probably next.

    Lots of room for new recruits, hopefully get some good ones.

    The kids didn’t make the rules, if you are allowed to leave after three and have a shot, why would you stay?

    It is about getting paid, before career ending injury.

    Good reason not to redshirt anyone that can contribute.

    This is the new college game, just the unpaid minor leagues.


      1. Reed – what about the QB though. The QB is the key. You can coach around a young OLine somewhat – if you have a QB…

        Go Pitt.


  29. Heather must not have known about all the unrest behind the scenes at the Pitt football program before she extended Narduzzi’s contract. She sure as hell didn’t consult with Upitt prior to giving Narduzzi that contract extension.


  30. Players who leave early can ask for a NFL draft grade but only those with a first or second round grade are given a report. Coaches can have conversations with NFL scouts. GM’s for a opinion. My guess is Whitehead came back with a second round rating. The posters who think information of issues within the program are regurgitated every year. The reality is players always talk of leaving of transferring but in fact very few do. .


  31. When you can make money, go. That’s what college is all about, right. I know someone personally who made the wrong decision, Sean Lee. He decided to play his senior year, tore his ACL in spring workouts, and thereby forfeited 2 years of High NFL income. What would you guys recommend if it were your own son?


  32. This may be a surprise, but some kids stay that 4th or 5th year out of a love for football. With the average NFL career around 4-5 years, and new kids coming out every year, it is also worth sticking around and improving skills for another year if it improves draft position. This may not be true for the top players, but for most other “good” players it is true.. One NFL camp injury or screw up and the football career could be over.


  33. What is the average signing bonus for a 4th or 5th rounder? Not much. If they don’t make the roster they might stick around and get beat up on the practice squad for peanuts..


  34. As far as I can remember, all the players to exit PITT since the end of the season excluding O’Neill have had negative remarks directed towards them at one time or another. Henderson hurt, slow, fat etc etc… and some not D-1 you know, hey and which much of it could be true…??

    Now they leave and we really don’t know why they are leaving and it’s all on the coach. Then there is the thought that there may have been some poor decisions made by some players after the season had ended.

    PITT is also hosting a juco QB, formerly a 4*, if that matters this weekend. Isn’t it possible Narduzzi was blatant with honesty and explained the writing on the wall to Ben and Tommy? So much we honestly don’t know if are names are not Reed. btw, I give David credit for giving Reed credit. Credit he much deserves… Reed that is.


    1. You can bet Narduzzi’s practically begged DiNucci to stay. If not he’s a fool because what we have now is a kid who played one whole game and will be behind an, I believe, poor OL next season. All we have now is a walk-on QB, an average true FR recruit and a JUCO who didn’t light it up at his last school.

      Damn right he wanted DiNucci to stay.


  35. No one on here is even talking about lifetime earning power with a Pitt degree or staying to get a Pitt Masters… Much more than any 4th or 5th round bonus money and a higher quality of life…


  36. We may have to exclude the negative son-in-law from Christmas dinner or get him a stocking full of coal courtesy of HCPN. Anyhow, I guarantee you ONeill is one of the top 50 picks in the drafts. You can’t find athletic tackles like that easily. I’m also certain Pitt is not going to lose 5 more starters. I’m guessing 1 would a stretch. You’re a starter at a P5 school, why would you leave to sit out a full year before you can play again. You transfer if you ride the bench.


  37. Pitt will be fine. I’m more worried about the basketball team at this point. And what to buy my daughter for her upcoming birthday tomorrow. And whether I should go with a Cherry Coke or a Regular Coke at the movies tonight.


  38. I’ll disagree Reed. The value of the degree is based on the major and your GPA. A 4th rounder will make much much more than any player entering the job market.


  39. TX go with a cherry Dr Pepper

    Mark, remember Abe Everhart? The Raiders had some great teams before your time… and….

    Did you play with a pitcher name Matt I ?


  40. Tx_ I leave the girl gift selections to the four women of the house. I don’t think I ever bought anything that wasn’t returned.. 🙂


  41. I’m confused for a number of reasons. It seems to me a big time story is going to break. I have been critical of narduzzi because of his secrecy, press conferences and some troubling stories of heard of how he deals with the recruits and some alumni.
    On the other hand I find it hard to believe that the administration would give him an extension if he was the problem. Could it be that there are many rotten apples on this team or he had a blow up after Miami game?
    It’s been a very interesting off season and we’re only a couple weeks in.


  42. I don’t think the “story” will be about Narduzzi…that is if anything is made public.

    BTW I don’t have details or any concrete info – just that something big went down. No inside stuff or such.


  43. Sorry, Ike but the “like” or “don’t like” thing is extremely tired.

    I LOVE my wife.. I just don’t think she’d be a good football coach.

    I “like” the Narduzzi-type. I “like” Wanny and Ditka and Bobby Knight. I “liked” Cowher when he coached the Steelers.

    That doesn’t mean I wasn’t critical. Accusing everyone who criticizes Narduzzi of not liking him is like people who use the term “hater.” It’s just silly.

    I’m not in a panic but there has to be some concern.


    THE Master of Non-reality

    (non-reality? Is that like fake news?)


  44. Can someone please provide me links that prove all of this chaos and despair that is supposedly going on in the Pitt locker rooms please?

    I’m having trouble following what some of you have been talking about. I must have missed a Pitt coaches interview or current player’s interview and I am a bit lost with this topic.


  45. No way Jay, maybe that holds true for you but it’s been stated that PN is not liked for different reasons than just coaching… sorry some just don’t plain like the guy.. and I state that as fact. << cause I read it.

    I get that Reed, Something happened and probably not on the coach… but he needs to be more clear about the behavior on his team… It’s quickly becoming a bad trend with PITT football and it need to change. << That’s also a part of his job. ike


  46. Who could be the 5 starters? (I am assuming that we are talking about 5 additional starters besides the known 3.) I have no inside info but the odds would be from this years redshirt juniors. This assumption is based on eligibility remaining. Unless you have a degree, transfers sit out a year. Yes, they could go the FCS route & be eligible immediately but these kids also have an ego (like HCPN). Why go to a lesser program with poor facilities, bus trips & yes even fewer fans?

    Why redshirt juniors? Because as we all know, grad transfers don’t have to sit out a year. With 4 years at PITT, redshirt juniors should be in good shape to graduate by the end of the summer session.

    So who are the redshirt juniors, On offense: Bookser, Aston (injured but we know he would have started),Ollison, Dintino & Lopes. On defensive: Hendrix, Briggs, Idowu, Motley, Folston, Williams, Herndon- Def/Off??, Roy.

    If I had to guess 5, I would GUESS Bookser, Ollison, Motley, Folston & susprise Aston.


  47. Reed, can you clarify “big”? Are we talking like Big drug bust at player party or some other criminal infraction like that? Are we talking academic issues like players cheating or something?
    I get people don’t like PN sometimes. But I can’t see him mistreating recruits. Did you see him after the PSU game? He made sure to go around and shake the hands and congratulate all the PSU guys he recruited. And if he was such trouble he wouldn’t have lasted that long in Lansing. I’ve noticed how all the recruits they’ve been pursuing lately have mentioned the Pitt coaches are like family and that they are honest straightforward guys.
    We the people need answers!
    But we’ll probably never get even half the real story.


  48. If Heather would have asked Upitt about anything PITT related she would have had to fire herself and everyone but the women’s volleyball coach. << I guess that coach is on the hot seat moving forward as well?


  49. I heard Narduzzi and 5 players had a orgy with a billy goat, a huggling midget and a squirrel while Steve Pederson got it on camera and that is why we are bringing him back for the 3rd time.


  50. My fun take on BIG going down, not in priority order – drugs, academics, players told to leave, player cliques, many new recruits coming, playing time, Pitt joining MAC, Steelers moving training, Pitt cutting scholarships, Pitt moving games to CMU stadium, Heinz painting seats black, Pitt to play all FB games away, liquor at Heinz, no tailgating, etc. New OCS in 2090 so we will never see it.


  51. So who is this JC QB everyone is talking about? We’re not coaches who must keep quiet about the names. Does anyone have the inside track on this recruit?


    1. He was a 4-star athlete who original went to Texas in 2015 when OC Watson was there, and was put at WR.. He played QB at high school and at JC last year, and put up pretty good numbers, both passing and running (against JC competition of course).

      He is obviously a very good athlete, but wouldn’t expect for him to put the world on fire as a passer. But I like the change of pace where he could add some athleticism … and he is another body. He also speaks favorably of Watson.

      He is the antithesis of Max Browne I guess … he certainly won’t be a statue back there which may be important this year.


  52. Hate to lose Mr. O’Neal….he was the only stud on the O-line. We finally have a quality QB…and now the O-line has to be totally rebuilt…..just about. Double oi.


  53. I guess the allure of winning another Piesman trophy was not enough to convince Brian O’Neill to return. Good luck to him. We’ll see where he gets drafted. I’m guessing 3rd or 4th round. There is no doubt in my mind that had he stayed he could have moved up to first or second round. He has his degree already, and I understand that his father is a Lawyer, so he’s probably sought out some good advice. This one doesn’t make anyone scratch their head.


  54. Here are the OL for 2018 .. not counting in coming recruits. There is also a large JUCO coming who I would expect can see a lot of PT

    OL 6’6″ 350 LBS 54 JUSTIN MORGAN

    OL 6’5″ 310 LBS 56 BRANDON FORD

    OL 6’6″ 280 LBS 57 GABE HOUY

    OL 6’3″ 270 LBS 60 OWEN DREXEL

    OL 6’4″ 310 LBS 66 MIKE HERNDON

    OL 6’3″ 300 LBS 67 JIMMY MORRISSEY

    OL 6’3″ 330 LBS 69 KENNY RAINEY III

    OL 6’4″ 310 LBS 71 BRYCE HARGROVE

    OL 6’5″ 320 LBS 72 TONY PILATO

    OL 6’5″ 315 LBS 74 JERRY DRAKE JR.
    OL 6’3″ 315 LBS 76 CONNOR DINTINO

    OL 6’5″ 325 LBS 77 CARTER WARREN

    OL 6’6″ 315 LBS 78 ALEX BOOKSER


    1. the classes listed above have been upgraded for 2018.

      Bookser and Morrisey return as starters
      Herndon,, Dintino and Pilato saw limited action
      Hargrave and Drake moved up to back-up on depth chart … Hargrave may have seen some action but Drake maintained his redshirt
      Drake, Warren and Drexel were viewed as the freshmen with the most potential — possibly Huoy also

      The JUCO is Chase Brown 6’6 310 lbs

      Overall,much potential but much, much inexperience


  55. I have written for years about the importance of a strong pipeline for recruiting O-lineman. It takes more time for O-line to develop and become productive on the field. Elite teams are usually filled with upper class O-lines. A strong pipeline insures that you have these guys available every year.

    Coaching changes are very detrimental to this process. The gap between Chryst and Narduzzi is happening this year. Having three OC’s in three years probably didn’t help much either. Coaching stability is important, especially at Pitt which does not have the cache of the big programs.

    So having Watson here for a second year is a good thing.

    Recruiting is the life blood of a good football program, hopefully Narduzzi and Co. will finish strong.

    Apologies for typos, I am still working with one eye.


  56. Narduzzi still draining the swamp of Chryst’s older players from those awful final classes Moose recruited. Not sure why some want Herndon back on the O-line. He was much better on defense than offense. Brown might be a better option at left guard. It is Pilato’s time to shine and win the left tackle position. Is he up for the challenge or is he going to transfer due to unhappiness?

    Plenty to be excited about with a young QB and an entire defense with young players who played much better toward the end of the season sans the hiccup versus N.C. The attrition isn’t going to bring me down, so I’ll let others revel in it like it is the end of the world.


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