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Defensive Tackle Jaylen Twyman Preparing For Big Season at Pitt



Jaylen Twyman was a big get for Pitt back in their Class of 2017.

The big defensive tackle from Washington DC chose the Panthers over offers from Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Missouri, Purdue, South Carolina and Tennessee. Because of depth on the defensive line, Twyman (6-2, 300) was able to redshirt last season, learn the Pitt defense and spend a lot of time in the weight room.

Twyman is a player that patterns his game after former Pitt great Aaron Donald and the hope is that he’ll start to display some of abundant talent this coming season. Prior to starting camp next month with his teammates, Twyman has been spending time back home working with his former coaches and trainers, including John Morgan, father of incoming Pitt freshman defensive end John Morgan.

Since he knows him, I asked Morgan Sr. his impression of what he’s seen from Twyman over the summer.

“Pitt is getting an individual who has a real passion for the game,” Morgan said. “Sitting out last year really opened his eyes to what he needs to do physically and mentally to be a good player. He wants to make an impact not only on the defensive line but on the whole team. He was a leader in high school and a lot of times as a freshman, you get humbled because in high school you’re better than everyone else then you get to college it’s a lot different because you have guys who are just as good as you are.

“I’m truly impressed with how his body has changed along with his work ethic. We had some younger guys working out with us and he was being a leader with those guys, teaching them and showing them some tricks of the trade that he learned from Coach Partridge, who he speaks very highly of. His mind is ready for him to make a major impact at Pitt this coming season.”

What’s the difference between Twyman this summer and last year?

“Just the way he looks,” Morgan said. “[Strength and conditioning] coach [Dave]Andrews has done a great job of giving him to get his body where they want it to be. As a coach, there’s only so much you can do because it really starts with the individual. It’s very obvious that Jaylen has bought into it as far as his eating habits, the things he’s drinking and so on. The other thing is the things he said he’s learned being a redshirt from Coach Partridge like how important film is and how important being technically sound is.”

“Another thing that he mentioned a few times to me is walking into that building and seeing guys from the NFL there. That’s the goal for a lot of these guys and to be able to see and talk to guys who are at where you want to be that gives you a blueprint for what you need to do. Some kids will follow that and some wont but from what I saw yesterday with Jaylen, he’s definitely following that blueprint so he will do a great job for his team but also set himself up to possibly make it to the next level.”

Twyman is someone that’s capable of getting after the quarterback and also blowing up the opposing teams run game. Where does Morgan Sr. believe he’ll excel at in Pat Narduzzi’s defense?

“Everyone speaks about his first step but I think his strength is going to be his football IQ,” Morgan said. “Just listening to him speak to the younger guys and seeing him try to coach them up on certain things that he’s learned not only from Coach Partridge but also just from watching film. Everyone lifts weights, a lot of people have a good first step but things that can set a player a part is their football IQ and I think his will set him a part from everyone else,” said Morgan.

Photo Courtesy of Jaylen Twyman

Photo Courtesy of Jaylen Twyman

Not only will Morgan Sr. be keeping an eye on Twyman but also on his son, John, who will be trying to crack the Panthers defensive end depth chart. Did he have any advice for his son as he left home to head to Pittsburgh to start his college career?

“I didn’t have a lot of advice because he’s been around football his entire life,” Morgan said. “What I just try to do is put him in place and around people that can mentor him. A lot of times when it comes to your kids, they don’t want to listen to you as much as you want them to so you try and put them in place where others can mentor them. I did tell him to work hard and use your resources. One of the main reasons we chose Pitt was Coach Narduzzi and what sealed the deal was Coach Partridge. He’s a great man and obviously a great football coach.”


“It’s going to be different for him because of the grind of practice and if he gets the opportunity to play, it will obviously be a bit different. He just needs to make sure his body is prepared.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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