I am trying something new on a “Way to Early Article Series.” In past years, I wrote about the players leaving a team, a teams recruiting history and their Transfer Portal (TP) activity. I also added a little history, a few charts and called it a day. But what impact did those players who left via the portal or eligibility or NFL on the team’s upcoming season?
This year, I am taking a new tack. It dawned on me that I could use the same type charts I used in last season “Up Next” articles, color code them and show a “Production Lost” percentage. While it is not as sophisticated as the individuals (ESPN’s Bill Connelly S&P+) or industry (Vegas), it is the best a lone 70 year old with a 12 year old laptop can do.
My first attempt is Pitt. Why, you ask? Because all of you know who Pitt lost and what those individual losses means to “our” team. You, the readers, are my canary in the coal mine. Please make comments on this format especially those that you think would improve the product.
For color coding, a light blue color indicates a player who is leaving the team due to eligibility or the NFL. A reddish pink color indicates the player left via the TP. A bright green color are for those with medical, grades or disciplinary reasons. There are very, very few of the “bright green” and none on Pitt.
If it was anyone else then Pitt, my plan is to show a team’s 2021 schedule and results and their upcoming 2022 schedule. For brevity reasons, I am forgoing that chart in this article.
Next will be recruiting. I am not sure how to attack this subject. It seems stupid to give a Rivals recruiting summary for 5 and now 6 (due to extra covid year) years without taking in to account the effect of the TP. While I am extremely comfortable with Pitt’s scholarship roster, I cannot say the same about other ACC teams. Factor in walk-ons to scholarship, and medical, grades and disciplinary issues and I just do not want to take a stab at it.
For recruiting, I will list the top recruits (Rivals 5.7 and above). Most teams have true freshman that make an impact or at least lose their redshirt status. Especially, if that player enrolls early. Since Pitt only signed 12 recruit, I am showing all 12.
Below the recruiting chart is the current Transfer Portal additions.
Here is Pitt’s current scholarship distribution by class year. Only doing this for Pitt unless an opponent site has something I can use.
By my count, Pitt is currently one below the mandatory scholarship limit of 85. I am obviously wrong because a paid professional sportswriter has Pitt at 85.
Due to the additional covid year and without additional TP losses, the 2023 recruiting class could be as low as five or as large as 19 if all 2018 get on with their life’s work. I expect some to go pro (Baldonado and maybe a few others) or leave via the TP. And let us not forget Addison, Dennis, and Kancey.
On to the production lost section starting with “Stars.” By stars, I mean those players who made the 2021 All ACC team by vote of head coaches and media members.
Also included are the NCAA team individual leaders in certain stat categories. Since I will not be doing anything with special teams, this chart is to show if punters and kickers are returning.
The color coding in action.
Of course, the offense starts with QB play and Pitt has a huge whole to fill.
Unless a team’s original starting QB was injured or replaced, the backup QB’s stat lines are similar to other ACC teams. Pitt has mined the TP for QB help – Kedon Slovis.
Running backs and receivers. All four of the offensive skill players who entered the TP have a stat line.
This is my summary of offensive production lost by RB’s and receivers. What it does not include is the value of losing Kenny Pickett. I have no idea on how to quantify his loss. I am thinking of adding the below chart as a recurring chart adding each team as I go.
I cannot leave out the offensive line. The only thing I got is games played and started. Here is Pitt’s linemen. I am almost sure that the non-narcissistic, dilettante sportswriters use snap counts.
Surprised that 2020 recruit Branson Taylor played in twelve games. Probably special teams but still shows he is well thought of.
All starters are staying. Only Wilson and Stratham are leaving. While the entire starting lineup is returning for the 2022, Pitt could have only one returning for 2023.
Only one chart for the defense. There were a total of 48 players who made a least one defensive stat. Of those 48, six were offensive players and an additional two where the long snapper (Adomitis) and kickoff specialist (Ben Sauls). Forty different defensive players seem like a lot. I need to check the other ACC teams to see if that number is usual. Only three of the eight defensive players who have entered the TP made a defensive play.
The summaries at the bottom of the chart shows totals for all 40 and by position group (Defensive Backs (DB), Defensive Line (DL) and Linebackers(LB). But the chart only shows those players with double digit tackles (26).
By breaking out by position (Defensive Line (DL), Linebackers (LB), and Defensive Backs (DB), it shows that the LB position needs to be reinforced. Shane Simon was plucked from the TP (Notre Dame).
Simon sat out the 2021 season. He did have four pass defended in limited 2019 action. BTW, the 24/7 re rank is based on his collegiate career activity. Basically, a .8600 convers to a 5.6 Rivals ranking.
That wraps up this article. Let me know what you like or dislike. What you think would be a better approach to upcoming articles. What I am missing or need to expound on in explanations.
I have finished gathering the data for all 14 ACC teams and the three Out of Conference foes. My plan is to do the 5 Atlantic Division teams then the Pitt opponents by date. The real reason for this approach is my last year’s prediction of 8 – 4. I had Pitt losing to Tennessee, Clemson, Miami, and a loss to either North Carolina or Virginia Tech. I fell for the media hype for the ACC teams and my personal belief in the almighty SEC (except Vanderbilt and Missouri). I think that if I did this type of analysis, I would have predicted 10 – 2. (But I still would have had Pitt beating Western Michigan.)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is our favorite (almost) POVer Gordon Conn with 1963-65 Pitt RB Eric Crabtree… They were friends from way back in Monessen, PA.