I normally don’t write posts about Preferred Walk-ons even though they are an important part of the Pitt football program, but frequent POV reader / infrequent poster Walk DelGaudio (pittdoc, CAS ’92, Med School ’96) reached out to me and told me that his son Luke would be accepting a PWO offer.  So first of all, congratulations to Walt.  He’s got to be extremely proud. Second of all, Luke, if you are reading this, yes your Dad put me up to it.  With that being said, I’d like to just post a little excerpt from the Walt’s email before I get to the meat of the article.

Our oldest of 4 kids, Luke DelGaudio was a WR for Dallas High.  He graduates this year.  He is going to announce on Twitter today that he accepted a Preferred Walk On with a guaranteed camp spot to play for Pitt.  He was previously committed to Bucknell (which I loved too) since the fall, but realized Pitt is what he wants academically and athletically.  Again, thrilling.  The Pitt staff has been awesome to him and us–Coach Salem recruited him and Coach Narduzzi as well.
If you have time,  please google Luke.  He was a captain of Dallas High Football, who lost the 4A – PIAA state title game this season to Thomas Jefferson.  He was writer’s First Team 4A – All-State WR, and coach’s 2nd team all state long-snapper.  He also started on the Dallas basketball team that was in the 5A state quarterfinals when the season was abruptly and appropriately halted.
He is a great student and an even better kid.  I am very proud of him as any dad would be.  I know PWOs don’t make much of a splash, but I just wanted to introduce him to you.  I hope as time goes on, you will see his name more and more. 

I did in fact Google Luke DelGaudio after reading that, and as luck would have it, Luke’s HUDL video was near the top of the list.

Taking a look at the film, you can see why Pitt likes him.  He’s tall, has long arms, fluid.  Good athlete.  Not super fast, but has decent burst and  can shake defenders with his routes.  Good field awareness and plays physical.   At 6’3″, 190 but a 4.67 forty, you have to wonder if they don’t want him to bulk up and take a run at Tight End.  Get that kid some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

Which brings me to the point of the article:  Getting production out of Preferred Walk-ons.  Pitt seems to have signed a bunch of them recently, but only two have really contributed. All-ACC Center Jimmy Morrissey and Fullback George Aston (Who was was received by Paul Chryst. Aston signed a futures contract with the Giants in January.)

In fact, it was Paul Chryst who started the whole Preferred Walk on Program (or at least put it on the path to where it is today) in 2014.  (You may ahem remember one Reed Kohberger who wrote a very informative and rather upbeat article on this on a website called “Pitt Blather” -about six years ago).

Here’s a little excerpt from Reed’s 2014 piece:

This year we have at least 13 walk-ons as true freshmen.  There are three that I’m keeping an eye on who may just contribute this season: Shane Roy at DE,  DB Kahri Anderson and QB Joe Repischak from Upper St. Clair.   I really liked Repischak when I watched him in practice.  He turned down other offers from some Ivy League schools just to get onto the roster at PITT and at 6’3″ and 220 lbs he’s built like a D1 QB.  His arm strength is good and his accuracy looked fine to me.  I’m surprised he didn’t get more D1 offers, like from PITT!, after his SR year.  I’ll bet a paycheck he’s on the roster as a scholarship player sooner than later.

In addition  Jameel Poteat is a walk-on RB who will most probably be getting a good amount of playing time in 2015 as he also is a transfer who has to sit out this year, he’ll have a scholarship by then I bet;  George Aston bench pressed 440 lbs in HS and is at LB for us and Jacob Craig, another LB, has already been awarded a scholarship after his first camp.

And if you want to go all the way back to the source, this is how they are doing it at Wisconsin.

Walk-ons are a big deal at Wisconsin. Nineteen have gone on to play in the NFL since 1990. Nine front-liners for the Badgers last season, including six with starting experience, were former walk-ons who earned scholarships. That includes a co-captain, tailback Dare Ogunbowale, and the Most Valuable Offensive Player in the Cotton Bowl, tight end Troy Fumagalli.

After the 2015 season, three former UW walk-ons – wide receiver Alex Erickson, outside linebacker Joe Schobert and quarterback Joel Stave – wound up being employed by NFL teams.

Chryst said the best part about the walk-on program – it has roots to 1990 when current UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez began a 16-season run as head football coach – is its enduring legacy.

“If it’s just a story that has a start and an end, it only lasts for so long,” he said. “But you have a chapter every year and kids know that.”

Narduzzi has ostensibly kept Chryst’s walk-on program going, although in five years I don’t think many of the ‘Duzzes PWO’s have seen the field.  Obviously Morrissey is a success story. Jim Medure was someone else who contributed a bit. John Vardzel saw the field last year.  Neither Medure nor Vaedzel made a huge impact, although Medure was a solid special teams contributor and utility man.  Vardzel could yet develop into a solid possession guy…perhaps.

Regardless of who brought them in, Pitt has had success moving guys around.  Aston was recruited by a Linebacker and moved to Fullback.  Seun Idowu was recruited as a Safety and moved to Linebacker.  Medure was recruited as a Linebacker and ended up at Tight End.  But at the end of the day the walk on game has always been a low percentage play.  (Even for programs like Wisconsin.)  My thought is that if Pitt can get one walk on a year to contribute, that probably means they are ahead of the curve.

Nonetheless, Narduzzi is now in year five.  And by now, you’d have to think he’s got his program rolling.  Second year recruiting director Adam Caultry probably has a hand in it, and time will tell if our PWO’s start to make a bigger impact.  The good news every single one of them has a chance to see the field, and the better they perform, the stronger Pitt is for it.  Pitt is never going to be going to be able to contribute with programs like Clemson when it comes to recruiting, but we should hope a we can can compete with programs like Wisconsin when it comes to PWO’s.  Welcome to Pittsburgh Luke Delgaudio, we hope your hard work pays off.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelanglo Monteleone

 

103 thoughts on “A Preferred Walk On Story

    1. You mean the PWO who became the best center in the ACC and a perennial Rimington award candidate? Damn do you know how many times I googled “Pitt walk on” and his name didn’t come up. And I call myself a fan…

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  1. To be a “Walk On” and succeed you have to overcome some pretty stiff odds.

    In the old days, you had to WAY outperform the scholarship Players in front of you who Coaches had placed their reputations on. Anybody who has played competitive sports knows that sometimes it’s not the difference in the Player but the difference in opportunity.

    Enough cannot be said about the will and determination of the few who overcame the odds and found a way to get on the field if for nothing more than the Kick Off team.

    Today, the notion of a “Preferred” Walk On SLIGHTLY betters the odds because at least now you have a Coach vouching for you… albeit without the FREE ride.

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  2. ^^ Disregard, the article didn’t link.. but you can look it up yourselves. 1957-1958 flu pandemic. I was 3 1/2 years old when my natural mother died from that Asian flu. This whole corona schitt sticks in my craw.

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    1. Yes … and I suspect I’m going to hear about this all day…

      He was hiding in plain sight I tell you.

      I updated the article

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  3. I believe there are a few more walk-ons that have contributed to Pitt more than we realize. Mostly, on special teams.

    There was a brief mention of Idowu above … but remember that he was 2nd team All-ACC LB as a junior, and was among the leading tacklers for 3 years in a row?

    And remember, 5’8 WR Joel DelSardo who was the 2nd leading receiver for the ’04 Fiesta Bowl team? I’m sure there have been quite a few more that we may not have realized or forgot.

    The chances of a walk-on being a big contributor is minimal …. but that also goes for probably half of the schollie commits.

    Basketball wise …. anyone remember Pat Cavanaugh from the late 80s? Or how about more recently, Aron Nwanko who played some very meaningful minutes and even started a game? (for all we know, he may now be part of the Johns Hopkins medical community and working for a much higher cause these days)

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    1. To this day, I can’t understand the Pat Cavanaugh phenomenon. He was a tough hard nosed kid. But he was not a Divison 1 caliber player and certainly not Big East caliber. I was a student when he was there, and went to every game. It never made any sense to me.

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      1. Eric, I think Pat hit a few timely bombs, and was your typical underdog/Rudy type of player who is very easy to route for. Count me among those who were caught up in the Pat Cavanaugh “hoop”la.
        PittPT

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        1. Admittedly, my opinion of him is also jaded a bit by some things I learned a few years later. When I first got married, my wife and I became friendly with another couple. At that time, Pat had started his promotional products business, which to his credit, has become very successful. Anyway, this friend of ours worked for his company, which at the time was only a few employees. She told us a few stories about working for him. I’ll leave it at that.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats to Walt for raising a fine young man. And welcome to Pitt Luke!

    To follow up on my Pitt Bars trivia blog, a question was asked of where Sam and Bernie’s Bar was located? Answer: 418 Semple Street, where the Panther House Bar & Grill is presently located.

    Bonus Pitt alumni trivia: Dan Marino was raised at 3261 Parkview Ave. in South Oakland. Andy Warhol lived at 3252 Dawson from age 6 until he took a train to NYC, with Carnegie Institute of Technology degree in hand. Their backyards touched one another. Two 20th century art and sports icons growing up on a dreary (sorry Andy and Dan but it is dreary down there) connected, stretch of land in South Oakland.

    PS: Michaelangelo, you are a sculptor of fine writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Congratulations to Luke… Looking forward to seeing him getting playing time and making big catches over his PITT career..

    Just read where Baltimore Colt linebacker Mike Curtis passed away… Hard to believe he is not in the NFL Hall of Fame… Hell of a football player…tough guy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. agree, remember him as a real tough (Lambert type) competitor who was totally no-nonsense. And if you need any evidence ……..

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  6. After watching a bit of highlight video, my guess is that what might get Luke Delgaudio on the field first is his blocking ability. Looked pretty tenacious and will have the size for it.

    Not all WRs have to be blazers, but the thought of a future TE popped into my head too…

    Nice article, MM. Congrats and best wishes to Luke D. and his Dad.

    (And I’m sure Fran will be inviting the Delgaudio’s to a nearby tailgating spot!)

    Hail to Pitt!

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  7. Young men like Luke are valuable elements of a sports program. And their value can’t be measured by playing time.

    Luke is a proven leader and a winner. He was a major contributor on a state title contender in two sports. Send me as many kids like that as you can find.

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  8. Reporting remotely from Pittston, PA (ten minutes from Dallas), I can tell you that Luke DelGaudio is a nice player. He was a very strong contributor to a team that competed for a state championship. His statistics are very good, but would be even better had he played for a team that emphasized the pass more. He has very good hands and nice leaping ability. I would love to see Pitt convert him to tight end. At 190 now, I think he has the frame to support the additional weight. Welcome to Pitt, Luke!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You never know which guy will make it and which guy won’t. That goes for the pros as well. That is the great thing about athletics, you have to earn it in practice and on the field. I appreciate a kid that forgoes a scholarship to go for the brass ring. Thanks to his Pop for supporting that desire.

    GC

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Social distancing is really working. Hope we don’t blow it by coming out of our nests too soon, especially since we are learning that many more are asymptomatic than thought. Hearing good news about treatments and vaccines being available sooner as well. Looks like Georgia and Florida will be the test cases along with Sweden and Brazil.

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  11. Heard a funny one from a person waiting on the State Store. “If we are going to die,at least they should let us die drunk.”

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  12. Pittdoc – look fwd to meeting you and your family at Red5A (hopefully this fall).

    Maestro – great piece and glad to have something normal to read.

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  13. I forgot to congratulate you as well PittDoc, I remember reading your great comments. How much more fun will it be watching PITT Panthers football team. < notice no question mark inserted. Hope to see you at the Red 5-A tailgates soon!!

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  14. Thank you! I appreciate all of your comments and for giving Luke a good look. Hope he is able to help our team at some point in the future. One last thing…he takes after his mom! H2P!

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  15. Thank you! I appreciate all of your comments and for giving Luke a good look. Hope he is able to help our team at some point in the future. One last thing…he takes after his mom! H2P! And stay safe please.

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    1. pdoc, whether Luke turns into the next Aston or doesn’t, I have no doubt you will be an honored guest at the tailgate and on this site from here on

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  16. He’s got the frame to be tight end. Have your son eat O fries every day and he’ll probably gain about 50 pounds and grow another inch. That’s if he can get his hands on any. I’m sad that he’ll miss out on the 2am experience there.

    Tex

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  17. BTW, Dr. DelGaudio is a Urologist. So if some of you POVerts don’t behave at the tailgate…. Then again, he is a respected Doctor in our community here. Maybe he should chose not to associate with such a group of scoundrels. Maybe we should give him the “soft” introduction by inviting him to a POV golf outing. Doc, if you and your son are golfers, we should get together. My son plays golf at Pittston and knows all the Dallas kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Still have my walk on invitation letter from Dave Hart in 68. I considered it until I went to summer orientation in the Towers and saw the size of Howie Broadhead et al. Pitt players. Two Baldwin walkons Jim Paris and Tom Hasbaugh ended up starting a few games in 72. When you go 1-9. 1-9 I guess you’d play anyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Not to change a great subject (good luck again Luke) but doesn’t it seem like time is just standing still?…………….. what day is it?

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  20. couple things here:

    First, I know this is a PITT football first and foremost.

    Second, my head has been hanging low lately and I told my wife (Angie) yesterday that I need to start listening to more music to try and get out of this funk.

    Thirdly, here’s this, it did pick my ass up a bit.

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    1. That’s funny Ike…I have been playing RUSH the past 2 days on Amazon music and Pandora while I work outside!
      Definite pick up of spirits for me.

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      1. Right you are JoeL, great line. There really isn’t any fence sitting in our society. Standing in the background is indeed a choice one has made.

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  21. this may be better (and it’s not an article, just a tweet which has a rundown of all ACC teams

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  22. ^^ This sounds like a collaborative effort between Michaelangelo and Richard should be in the works as I need some guidance through all this rig a ma roll. I can be slow at times. You know, not fast but not slow. Kind of like half-fast. << Many that know me spell that a little differently.

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  23. Pitts football revenues are low given relatively low attendance, paltry donations and few significant marketing/advertising contracts.

    Among that $39 million, I’d think roughly $10 million comes from game day revenues, another $20 million from the ACC check (full check is 30), $6 million from donations that are football specific, another $3-6 million in licensing, merchandising and ad dollars.

    Mind you that Clemson probably receives close to $25 million from their game day revenue streams and another $25 million in donations.

    Pitt doesn’t have the fan base or the financial supporters.

    Fan bases take time to build and pitt does a poor job with donations because pitt provides little to no connections with fans which build on positive experiences.

    So the silver lining is that Pitt is less hurt with the loss of a football season.

    But I still don’t see how Pitt can continue to support 19 athletic programs. Enrollment will be down this coming semester. Fans might not be allowed to see games until a vaccine. Tv monies aren’t coming in. The fixed costs and high overhead still remain.

    Tex

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  24. Let the dick doc jokes commence! Haha I can handle the hard intro…I grew up in the Wyoming Valley after all. Golf sounds great! And yes, now I remember giving that advice..hope all turned out ok…

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    1. Guy goes to see his urologist.
      Urologist says, ” Im going to examine your prosate. You need to take your trousers off.”
      Guy says, “OK, where should I put them?”
      Urologist says, “Oh just thrown them in the corner on top of mine.”

      (cymbal)

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Dr Davies works out of Shadyside and specializes in cancer surgeries. He’s probably in his forties. He ripped out 2/3 of my right kidney. I’m still here 4 years later.

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  26. Pittdoc – welcome! And thank you for your donation to the Pitt Athletic Fund – your son Luke! (Nice Hudl, BTW!)

    I was thinking……if he was to get a scholly after, say, his 2nd year, he’d have 5 more years of eligibility. He could still be playing football most of the way thru med school!!

    So, Mike, you getting treatment now, with no co-pay??

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  27. I’ve been taught and these are my life mantras…… You don’t look back and you never give up and stand up for the space two feet surrounding your feet. These are tough times that will be remembered for a century or more. Remember, no matter what, you hold your head up high..

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  28. —So I saw somewhere where the Numero Uno FB recruit in the country, at least by one service, de-committed from Clemson. He’s from California…

    —The more stuff I see on TV and read online, the less chance I think there is of us having a football season. I fear that this opening up of the country is just going to make it take much longer for the death numbers to come way down…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks JoeL…you’re right. GOOD STUFF !
      And now I’m extremely hungry.
      Funny though our all-American Hot Dog, is not American at all. It’s German as in Frankfurt(er).
      As is the all-American Hamburger…..Hamburg, Germany.
      Surely hope someone re-opens the Big O, as I don’t want to never get a chance again to have
      some more O grub.

      Let’s all form a LLC, get a SBA loan and keep it going !

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  29. with this downtime … I have come up with new golf rules when we return to the courses

    1) liberal putt concessions on the green — don’t hesitate to say “that’s good, pick it up” even if you know the guy has the yips and can’t putt worth a damn

    2) in Pickleball, players touch the tip of rackets instead of shaking hands. Golfers should touch the tip of their clubs

    3) On the front nine, you drive the cart while holding onto your clubs while your partner must strap in both himself and his clubs in the rear of the cart. Positions are switched on back nine

    4) disposable golf gloves?

    5) Also masks will muzzle your incessant cursing

    6) Don’t be afraid to freely use wipes to clean your balls

    7) and most important …. sit 2 barstools apart on the 19th hole

    Liked by 1 person

  30. JoeL, thanks for the “O” story, That Rick Sebak sure has a way to spin a yarn…. btw, I got a two fer out of that article at the end where Andy Griffith MCed a reunion of Mayberry. That Barney was one crazy cat. 🙂

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  31. Oh hey, I almost forgot… this is my # if anyone wants to text…just send and tell me who you are so I add to my contacts…this will make meeting up easier this season. Thanks…Walt DelGaudio 570-362-0118

    Liked by 1 person

  32. the Times-they-are-a-changin’

    — the other day during senior hours at ShopNSave, I actually saw toilet paper on the shelves

    — the air quality at Los Angeles the past few weeks has been registering as one of the least polluted cities in the world

    — animal species previously thought to be extinct in certain areas have made comebacks

    — China admitted to providing incorrect data a couple months back

    — after one of the warmer January, February and March on record, Pittsburgh is about to register the coldest April ever

    — it is April 22 and the Bucs have yet to lose

    — it is April 22 and the Yanks and Red Sox have yet to win

    — this morning at Costco senior hour I bought a bottle of Germ-X sanitizer (63% alcohol)

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  33. Are you using your dishwasher a lot more in the last month? Reminds me of my parents washing dishes everyday for our family of 7 when we were children. History repeats itself just a little different.

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  34. When I first read your germ X sanitizer, I misread it as Gen X

    Although my blood on occasion has contained 63 percent alcohol after a good tailgate

    Tex

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  35. Good luck to you Luke. I give you so much credit for giving it a go as a walk on. We are cheering for you.

    On another note, I collect bizarre Pitt jerseys and I just found a Tino Sunseri beautiful knock off on ebay from our friends in China. Does anyone have any cool PItt jerseys or unique memorabilia that they are proud of?

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  36. Some of these prospective young football players better decide soon as this class will be swallowed up by the best recruiting class PITT has had in a long long time. PITT has a niche football program and a certain swag to it that appeals to urban kids. I can see it……

    Like

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