For the third straight year, Pitt is in the mix for a transfer tight end.
Pittsburgh Sports Now has learned that redshirt junior and 2017 starter Chris Clark, who stepped away from the team during spring practice, will not be returning to the program. Fellow 2017 starter Matt Flanagan and reserve Devon Edwards both graduated, meaning that Pitt currently only has one tight end on the roster with game experience.
With an open spot and open scholarships, Pitt is pursuing former Arkansas tight end Will Gragg. Gragg has visited Pitt and the Panthers are amongst the leaders for the 6-foot-4, 231-pound Dumas, Arkansas native.
A consensus four-star recruit out of Dumas High School, Gragg was rated as the No. 12 tight end in the country by 247 Sports in the Class of 2015. Gragg redshirted with the Razorbacks in 2015 and didn’t play in 2016. In 2017, he caught five passes for 61 yards.
Gragg graduated after just three years in Fayetteville, meaning that he will not have to sit out a year and he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. Arkansas fired head coach Bret Bielema in November.
With the departures of Clark, Edwards and Flanagan, sophomore Tyler Sear is Pitt’s lone tight end with game experience. Sear, a Neshannock grad, caught one pass for 10 yards in 2017. He was primarily used as a blocker and also played some fullback while starter George Aston missed most of the season with a pair of ankle injuries.
Pine-Richland grad Grant Carrigan and Steubenville alum Charles Reeves are also both in the mix for playing time after redshirting as true freshmen in 2017.
Tight end has been a tough position to recruit at times for the Panthers. Pat Narduzzi inherited J.P. Holtz and Scott Orndoff in 2015 when he took over. Since then, Carrigan, Reeves and Sear are the only three freshmen tight ends Pitt has landed over four classes.
Clark transferred from UCLA before the 2016 season and Flanagan came over from Rutgers before the 2017 season. Clark will have two seasons of eligibility remaining if he desires to transfer, but he may have to sit out one year if he transfer to another FBS school. It’s unknown if Clark is going to continue playing.
“In talking with his mom and dad, just, personally, there’s some things he’s trying to deal with that he needed to step away right now,” Narduzzi said in March. “So he’s away from the program, and our best wishes are for Chris and his family to make it through these tough times.”
Pitt currently has two open scholarships for the fall. Clark was the first of four players to leave the team this spring, though his departure was initially announced as temporary. Wide receiver Ruben Flowers III, tackle Tony Pilato and linebacker Jalen Williams have also left the team since spring ball begun.