I want you all to think about something for a moment. When is the last time, if ever, Pitt had four players declare they were transferring out of Pitt on the same day? As Q. Henderson tweeted yesterday “Dang, they all leaving.”
I can’t remember it ever happening and yesterday’s block departure, to me at least, is indicative that it wasn’t all that voluntary. Not when you have four at one time. As Chris Peak wrote yesterday it ‘looks like it was a mutual agreement between the staff and the four players’ (to paraphrase). Which pretty much means there is a reason they are off the roster.
I think that those four players won’t be the last we see of players leaving the football program either.
Here are the still-eligible players have left the Pitt team so far: (Blue are the declared NFL draft players and past star players for us).
Whitehead, 4* Star player, FR AA , ALL-ACC (NFL Draft)
Moss, 3* (Dismissed from team)
Q.Henderson, 3* Star player, AA, ALL-ACC (NFL Draft)
O’Neill, 3* Star player, AA, ALL-ACC (NFL Draft)
DiNucci, 2*, Experienced backup QB
Here is the two-deep at the start of the Miami game at the end of last season:
So far we are losing six starters on offense going into 2018 – Weah, Q. Henderson, O’Neill, Officer, Jones-Smith and Flanagan. That is a lot of starting experience behind them which will be missed. To be honest I’m wary of the offense going into ’18 because I don’t feel the replacements are going to be all that great.
Looking at 2018 with Clark at TE, and Pilato, Hargrove and Herndon on the OL isn’t happy making for me and aside from WR Ra-Ra Lopes I wonder who will step up into that leading WR spot Weah’s departure left open. WRs Mathews, Flowers, Ffrench and Tipton are all untested for the most part.
On defense we’ll be losing only one starter in DB Avonte’ Maddox. But where the loss of Pugh, Carter and Miller will impact us is in 2019 because I think Carter would have been a starter on the DL along with Pugh at DE and possibly Miller at Star LB – they all were listed at various times on 2017’s two-deep rosters.
I say Miller at Star because Anthony McKee doesn’t look like he’ll be a solid starter at that position after Idowu leaves. I heard that the staff was pretty happy with Pugh’s progression after his move to defensive end when his tryout at RB and LB didn’t pan out
So, we’ll take a dip in the talent level with these departures for sure. It’s hard to project two years out though.
On Special teams we are losing All-ACC Punter Ryan Winslow along with both two-deep punt returners in Q. Henderson and Maddox. Kickoff returner Henderson is obviously gone also.
I don’t think these 10 players are the end of the leavings this offseason either. We may see a few more either take off (or as a ‘mutual agreement’) before the Spring camp. I do not think we’ll see attrition from the rsSRs but if the staff determines it wants more scholarships for the 2019 class then keep an eye on Motley, Briggs, Jalen Williams, Wirginis, Folston, Dintino and Herndon – if any rsSRs are ‘asked’ to leave to open scholarship numbers I think it will be from that list.
Why I say 2019’s class is that the common belief with the new early signing period in December is that there is slim pickings after that because most of the better players will have already committed early. So – a school can carry-over scholarships to the next year as long as they don’t go over the 25 per year scholarship limit.
That’s also one of the reasons I don’t think we are going to be seeing any blue-chip kids signing with us on LOI Day in Feb. There are only a few left and maybe one or two are seriously considering Pitt anyway. We may land 4* All-Purpose back Mychale Salahuddin as we’re still one of his last four schools.
However, Narduzzi has always seemed to play experience in the D backfield so rsSRs DBs Motley and Briggs will probably stay. Dintino and Herndon will depend on how confident Narduzzi and staff are in their young OLs so I think both of them stay also – and probably get a lot of PT with Herndon probably starting.
Which absolutely kills me to see a Shane Roy starting on defense and a Mike Herndon starting on offense – if that happens what does it say about HCPN’s line recruiting?
I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and it did yesterday, let’s hope that’s the end of it… but I’m not holding my breath.