We’re 55 days away from the start of the 2018 Pitt football season opener vs. Albany.
Looking over the depth chart, I see plenty of interesting roster battles that will take place in August. From a Pitt fan perspective, which specific story line will you be paying attention to the most?
A) Running Backs: Pat Narduzzi has stockpiled as much young talent as I can remember the Panthers having in a long time. Darrin Hall, Qadree Ollison, AJ Davis, Todd Sibley and Mychale Salahuddin will all battle for carries and their place on the depth chart. Will Hall pickup where he left off last year or will one of the young backs emerge as Pitt’s back of the future?
B) Trying to Replace Henderson and Weah: Without a doubt, the biggest uncertainty at a position entering camp is at wide receiver. The bottom line is that the Panthers enter this season without a go-to receiver. Rafael Araujo-Lopes is a nice player but is he really #1 wideout? Aaron Mathews has all tools to be one but has yet to take that next step in his development. I’d guess that someone from the group of young wideouts like Michael Smith, Dontavius Butler, Shocky Jacques-Louis or Cameron O’Neil have the best shot of doing that. Butler was opening eyes last year before getting injured and Jacques-Louis and O’Neil have tons of talent. If Pitt is going to have the type of year they want, someone has to develop.
C) Will Paris Ford Be Pitt’s next star? On the defensive side of the ball, all eyes will be on redshirt freshman Paris Ford. From the moment he officially joined the team, fans have been waiting to see him take the field. From everything we’ve heard from practice last year, Ford has the “It Factor” and could be the next star at Pitt.
D) Kenny Pickett: Speaking of future stars, it’s hard not to be excited about the future of Kenny Pickett. I realize it’s just one game but after Pickett’s performance against #2 Miami in a pressure situation, he looks to have all the tools to be a really good college quarterback. Pickett has a strong arm, accuracy, has the legs to move around and brings a swagger to the field. Pitt fans could be in store for an exciting three years from the quarterback spot.
As we get ready for the start of the season, which of these are you most excited to watch play out?