The first week of Pitt camp wrapped up this week with a scrimmage at the UPMC Complex on the Southside. The biggest observation that I’ve taken from the first week is that the Pitt roster is developing some serious depth.
Depth is such an important element for any successful football team. Quality depth can make up for slumping players and cover up any injuries that a team sustains during the season. The biggest factor for depth on this year’s team is the excellent recruiting class the coaches brought in last year.
I’ll repeat something that I tweeted earlier this week. I really believe that a couple of years from now, we’re going to look back and view Pitt’s class of 2016 as a GREAT recruiting class.
Players like Thomas MacVittie, Kaezon Pugh, Amir Watts, Keyshon Camp, Damar Hamlin, Therran Coleman, Aaron Mathews, Chawntez Moss, Chase Pine and Ruben Flowers have the chance to be really special, impact players. I also think that some of them will show you that talent this coming season.
Where will the freshman provide depth this year?
On the offensive side of the ball, Moss is a player that the coaches believe is legit and will compete for carries. I don’t think it’s crazy to think that at some point this year, Moss could become Pitt’s #2 back.
MacVittie and Flowers are players that will more than likely redshirt this season but Mathews has a chance to get on the field because of his ability to stretch the field. Unlike any other receiver on the roster, Mathews is a BIG player that can get up the sideline and Matt Canada might call upon him for that.
On defense, barring injuries, Camp and Watts will be Tom Sim’s defensive line rotation. Both guys came to Pitt as 4-star recruits and from every indication, both have a good chance to be difference makers.
Another position where Pitt fans will be able to watch young players this year is in the secondary. Hamlin and Coleman will definitely get lots of playing time and don’t be surprised if you see guys like Bricen Garner and Henry Miller too. Josh Conklin’s secondary will be young but have as much upside as any position on Pitt’s roster.
As far as linebacker goes, Pine and Pugh are big-time talents but will they pick everything up quick enough to earn snaps? I think it’s too early to make an educated guess on that.
Down the road, look for players like Phil Campbell, Maurice Ffrench, Bryce Hargrove, Rashad Wheeler, Brandon Ford and Patrick Jones to become contributors.
Not only is there depth with these incoming freshman class, Pat Narduzzi will also be counting on players that redshirted last year like Tre Tipton, Dane Jackson, Saleem Brightwell and Malik Henderson to contribute in 2016.