Having a talented player transfer is never a good thing, but that’s what happened Thursday at Pitt.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi announced on Thursday that four-star running back Mychale Salahuddin was longer part of the team and would be transferring from the university.
The news that a running back decided to leave isn’t surprising, but the fact that it’s Salahuddin is somewhat a head scratcher. Unlike in 2018, when it was a given that Darrin Hall and Qadree Ollison would be the featured backs, it’s a totally differently situation this year.
A.J. Davis and Todd Sibley being the top two backs on the depth chart means nothing for the big picture because this will be a week-to-week audition until someone proves to Narduzzi and Andre Powell that they’re capable of being the featured back.
Although he’s currently behind Davis, Sibley and Vincent Davis, assuming he’s completely healthy, Salahuddin could’ve easily shown something in the game or practice that would’ve earned him more carries. However, he took the path that has become trendy for athletes these days and decided to transfer.
At least from the outside, this decision appears to have been made because of playing time and a loaded running back depth chart. If that’s the case, I’d be disappointed, but once again not surprised. Unfortunately the growing trend among college athletes today is to transfer if they’re not receiving instant playing time because they’re just used to being the man on their high school team.
Salahuddin is obviously a talented player as evidenced by the amount of major programs that offered him a scholarship when he was coming out of high school. Many Pitt fans and coaches were anxious and hopeful that he’d develop into the next great back at Running Back U.
The only good news from this situation for Pitt is if there’s one position they can afford to lose a talented transfer, it’s at running bank. Let’s be clear, no one should act like losing Salahuddin isn’t a loss because it is. However, the future at running back for Pitt looks promising and this loss isn’t a killer.
Davis, like Salahuddin is a former four-star recruit. So is Sibley, a player that originally committed to Urban Meyer and Ohio State. Vincent Davis has impressed the Panthers coaches and freshman Daniel Carter was highly recruited and a major get for Pitt. Plus, Narduzzi has already added two backs in this year’s recruiting class, including Florida star Henry Parrish, who earned national headlines last week.
Running back Henry Parrish Jr. racked up 324 yards and 3 TDs in Wednesday night's rout of Belen Jesuit. If that wasn't enough, the senior Explorer also made @ESPN's Top 10 Plays – coming in at No. 2 for the night. #CPride #Adelante pic.twitter.com/usBF0uQzVJ
— Columbus Explorers Football (@ColumbusFtball) August 22, 2019
The slogan “Next Man Up” is used a lot today and certainly applies in this situation for the running backs at Pitt.
While we don’t know if it’ll be Davis, Sibley, Vincent Davis or Daniel Carter in 2019, we do know it won’t be Salahuddin, which is unfortunate.
The question now is who’ll be the player that steps up and earns the position in 2019.
We’ll start to get some answers to that question Saturday night at Heinz Field in the season opener.