PITTSBURGH — When Keyshon Camp went down with an injury in the Notre Dame game, it opened up a big hole in the middle of Pitt’s defense.
Exactly 6-foot-4, 285 pounds of hole.
Camp, a redshirt sophomore, had been a big part of the rotation at defensive tackle for the Panthers this season, but head coach Pat Narduzzi announced on Monday that he’ll likely miss the rest of the year.
As with any absence of the defensive line, Pitt used a mix-and-match approach to replacing Camp, but the player whose name was in the starting lineup and received the largest increase in snaps was Jaylen Twyman.
Twyman, a redshirt freshman from H.D. Woodson High School in Washington, D.C., had been the fourth member of the rotation at tackle to that point, but his playing jumped up against Duke.
“It was great,” Tywman said. “I couldn’t even imagine that coming that early. I’m a young guy. I just kept striving and working.”
Twyman rated his performance as “OK” and said he still has a lot to learn going forward.
“A lot of things I’ve got to clean up on,” he said. “Just reading keys and stuff like that.”
With Pitt’s bye week coming in between Camp’s injury and Pitt’s game against Duke, Twyman had plenty of heads up that he would be getting more playing time, but he was determined to not let it go to his head.
“Just keep my head down, keep working, stay humble, keep perfecting my craft and know that I have not arrived yet.”
Head coach Pat Narduzzi said that the team felt Camp’s absence in the middle. Duke running back Deon Jackson rushed for 162 yards on 10 carries and the Blue Devils as a team had 223 yards rushing.
“That did affect it a lot,” Narduzzi said. “[Camp] is a penetrator, he causes havoc in the backfield. That didn’t help us at all.”
Narduzzi also said that Twyman might not be the only new face to get some playing time at defensive tackle and elsewhere for Pitt.
“As a matter of fact, you might see two new guys this week,” he said. “I said one, you might see two.”
It sure seems like one of those two will be freshman defensive tackle Devin Danielson, who practiced with the top group of defensive linemen on Tuesday. Danielson, a Thomas Jefferson native, has yet to play a game as a true freshman, but the Panthers seem hopeful that he’ll be able to make in impact in the four games he can play without burning his redshirt.