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Pitt Again Mines Transfer Portal for High-End QB Potential

Pitt Again Mines Transfer Portal for High-End QB Potential

Pitt landed a commitment from Arizona State quarterback transfer Joey Yellen on Thursday, adding a passer to the recruiting cycle after failing to land a freshman in the early singing period.

That’s been a common theme for Pitt under Pat Narduzzi. Since he arrived in 2015, Yellen makes five transfers at quarterback from other FBS schools, three of which were scholarship players.

That trend goes along with the national one. More and more quarterbacks are transferring every season. According to 247 Sports, 65 quarterbacks have already made clear their intention to transfer to or from an FBS school at this point in the offseason. Last offseason, 123 quarterbacks transferred to or from a Division I team.

Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s a panacea. Of the four previous Division I transfers to come to play for Pitt under Narduzzi, only one seemed to work out for both sides.

Max Browne won a starting job in 2017, but struggled through half a season before being injured. Jeff George, Jr. left a starting role at Illinois, transferred to Michigan and then to Pitt in one offseason only to throw a grand total of three passes over two seasons for the Panthers. Bo Schneider left after playing as a freshman at UCF, and never played again in stops at Pitt and Texas A&M.

But when it works, it seems to work out really, well, at least for the Panthers. Nate Peterman is No. 9 on the team’s all-time passing yards list despite only starting for a season and a half. In 2016, Peterman produced the fourth-most passing touchdowns and 10th-most passing yards for a Pitt quarterback ever.

In 2013, Tom Savage had the sixth-most yards and eight-most passing touchdowns, putting both firmly in the Top 10 seasons when it comes to Pitt passers.

Part of the reason for that can be attributed to the high talent level of transfer that Pitt has been able to land. Savage was a consensus four-star and the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2009. Peterman was a consensus four-star and the No. 17 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2012. Browne was a consensus five-star and the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2013.

Compare that to the players Pitt has landed out of high school, all consensus three-stars. Davis Beville was the No. 22 pro-style quarterback in 2019, Nick Patti was No. 31 in 2018, Kenny Pickett was No. 33 in 2017, Thomas MacVittie was No. 18 in 2016 and Ben DiNucci was No. 65 in 2015.

Yellen continues that trend. He was a consensus four-star prospect and the No. 9 pro-style passer in the Class of 2019.

As we’ve seen, there’s no guarantee transfers will work out, but if this one does, it represents an opportunity to pay off in a big way. Futhermore, Yellen’s three seasons of eligibility will make him unlike any transfer Pitt has had before.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Pitt WRs
Pitt WRs
8 months ago

He looked damn good in his 1 start this year against USC. Shame we’re not OSU and can get him eligible for the 2020 season. Sure would be a shame to waste another year of great defense with poor QB play. Schedule is much easier as well.

Section 122
Section 122
8 months ago
Reply to  Pitt WRs

Watch out if you say poor QB play the Pickett would win the Heisman without dropped passes crowd will be here to call you out in 3, 2, 1 ….

The rest of us agree with you and can’t stand watching D-2 QB play anymore.

Pat Adonizio
Pat Adonizio
8 months ago

Agree Yellen could be very good, but Nardi has been into qb transfers since day one and it has hurt us. The only one on your list really needed was Savage; Peterman started in his 3rd game at the expense of a very capable Voytik, who had he stayed and played his 2 remaining years would have put-up excellent numbers and our w/l record would be comparable. Had this happened, DiNucci(who has shown great development in 2 yrs, would have been next in line, and perhaps Pickett would have been better waiting his turn. QB development has been absent.

Section 122
Section 122
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Saunders

Voytik is a great example of how below average PITT QB play has been. You can count Sunseri as below the line too along with Pickett, and DiNucci. Facts are we’ve had a stable full of D-2 QBs come through the past 30 years. It’s not a personal shot at any of these kids it’s just the truth. They haven’t been good enough to get past 7-6/8-5. Period.

If Jalen Hurts can win a championship and get benched for a better freshman then in no way should Pickett be anointed the starter without competition.

Pat Adonizio
Pat Adonizio
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Saunders

Compare Voytik’s soph stats with Pete’s jr yr stats; ; then note Voytik threw 25 passes when Pete was put in for good. My contention is V if started those his last 2 yrs would have done better each year as the team was maturing. You say he got benched at AS, well true, but give their coach credit, he had a talented kid who started 4 yrs and put-up great numbers; V started their first 2 games v a good Toledo team and Auburn(he was responsible for their only scores) and the rest of season against sub—par teams ran… Read more »

Pat Adonizio
Pat Adonizio
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Saunders

Football-wise yes! Pete is very good, yet, CV probably would have had similar results, and maintained qb continuity. Some guys are very good college qb’s not with pro potential, and some are very good with pro potential. Had Pete not transfered you probably never would have heard of him. Interesting how a move breaks a career and makes one.

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