PITTSBURGH — Speaking with the media Thursday after Pitt’s spring conditioning workouts on the South Side, head coach Pat Narduzzi informed reporters that linebacker Anthony McKee Jr. is no longer with the program.
McKee, a redshirt senior, has decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and graduate in the spring.
“I’m glad he’s graduating and moving on with life,” Narduzzi said.
One of the members of Narduzzi’s initial recruiting class in 2015, McKee was a consensus three-star prospect out of Marion-Franklin High School in Columbus, Ohio.
After redshirting as a true freshman, McKee played three seasons in a reserve and special teams capacity. He tallied 14 total tackles last season with one tackle for loss and one sack at the star outside linebacker position behind starter Seun Idowu.
While not a significant contributor for the Panthers on defense over the last few seasons, McKee’s departure and Idowu’s graduation create an opening at the outside linebacker spot that will likely be resolved this spring.
“We’re toying with stuff,” Narduzzi said. “Obviously he wasn’t the starter, but were going to mess with Phil Campbell in some of that roll and we think Cam Bright’s going to be pretty good there too.”
Campbell played strong safety behind starter Dennis Briggs in 2018. Briggs is also out of eligibility.
The departure of McKee will make four players in this cycle that left Pitt with eligibility remaining, with him joining tight end Tyler Sear, wide receiver Darian Street and quarterback Ricky Town. Those four departures, combined with 17 graduates, gave Pitt 21 open scholarships coming out of the 2018 season.
Pitt has signed from 19 incoming freshmen and two transfers in Michigan tackle Nolan Ulizio and Rutgers tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart, leaving the Panthers at an even 85 scholarships heading into fall camp as things stand right now.
The Panthers will officially start spring practices on March 6.