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With Damar Hamlin Back, Pitt Has Potential Defensive Juggernaut

With Damar Hamlin Back, Pitt Has Potential Defensive Juggernaut

After a breakout 2019 season, Pitt’s defense seemed to have the potential to carry that momentum into 2020 if it could minimize the number of offseason departures.

Wednesday, that mission was completed.

Pitt safety Damar Hamlin was granted a fifth season of eligibility by the NCAA after requesting a waiver and will return to Pitt for a redshirt senior year.

Hamlin joins free safety Paris Ford, defensive end Patrick Jones and defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman, all of which looked into leaving early for the NFL Draft, but decided to return to Pitt.

Additionally, the Panthers will return defensive end Rashad Weaver and defensive tackle Keyshon Camp, who both missed all of the 2019 season with injuries after starting in 2018.

The result is an embarrassment of riches on the defensive side of the ball. Just take a look at an early look at Pitt’s 2020 depth chart:

That’s to make nothing of the contributions of non-starters. At defensive end, Deslin Alexandre started most of 2019 after Weaver went down and Habakkuk Baldonado and John Morgan developed into quality depth options.

The same goes for defensive tackles Devin Danielson and Tyler Bentley, who helped fill in for Camp. Safety Erick Hallett, cornerback Marquis Williams and linebacker Sirvocea Dennis all saw playing time in 2019 and should be expected to contribute some how in 2020. Talented freshmen like linebacker Leslie Smith, defensive tackle Calijah Kancey and safety Brandon Hill didn’t see much time but still project as contributors down the road.

If Pat Narduzzi and company can keep the amount of depth they’ve built up together, Pitt’s defense not only appears to be set for 2020, but for the future, as well.

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Smljf
Smljf
4 months ago

No excuses now for Narduzzi.

7-8 wins would be a disappointment and should result in his firing

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
4 months ago

If only we had a QB…

Section 122
Section 122
4 months ago

We have one it’s just that he is Div 2 caliber.

Bob Cardy
4 months ago

Justin, I see where you are coming from, but in Pickett’s defense, how many good passes were dropped last year? How many times could defenses blitz with all out pressure because they knew Pitt had no running game? How many penalties put the team in a hole and ruined good drives? I think the problem is more in the line and the receivers. I hope the new crop of receivers have better hands, and I hope the line, with another year of experience, improves. KP is not without blame, he took a lot of sacks when he could have thrown… Read more »

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Bob Cardy

Pickett doesn’t see open receivers.. often. Like Narduzzi, the kid’s tough. He’s a leader. He’s just not good enough.

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