PITTSBURGH — The first day of spring doesn’t officially come until March 19, but it was spring on the South Side on Monday, as Pitt football began its spring workouts for the 2020 season.
Pitt returns a good bit of its starting lineup from the of the 2019 season. With the announcement that Tre Tipton will return for a sixth season, Pitt has four wide receivers, two running backs, four offensive linemen and quarterback Kenny Pickett all back in the fold on offense and the defense might be in even better shape, with four players that eschewed the NFL Draft part of a group that will bring back nine starters or co-starters.
With so much coming back from the 2019 season, the newest members of the Pitt football team will likely be the focus of the spring session, and Pitt has a bunch of them.
Florida graduate transfer tight end Lucas Krull and Arizona State quarterback transfer Joey Yellen took to the turf for the first time as Panthers on Monday, along with freshmen running back Israel Abanikanda, wide receivers Jordan Addison and Aydin Henningham, safety Buddy Mack, linebackers A.J. Roberts and Solomon DeShields.
Here’s our first look at some of the newest Panthers in practice.
TURNOVER HOOP MAKES APPEARANCE
Pitt’s turnover hoop was a fun part of their sideline on gamedays in 2019. In 2020, it looks like the hoop will come to practice. Pitt’s defensive lineman took turns taking a dunk during a fumble drill on Monday.
Several returning Pitt players made positions moves in advance of the spring. Tight ends Grant Carrigan and Jason Collier have moved to tight end and defensive lineman Kaymar Mimes has moved back to tight end after spending the latter part of 2019 at defensive end.
Carrigan will immediately be part of the mix to replace departed right tackle Nolan Ulizio.
Mimes will replace the lost tight end depth behind Krull and redshirt freshman Kyi Wright.
OTHER NEW FACES
In addition to the scholarship early enrollees, Pitt has added a number of walk-ons for the spring.
DB Hudson Primus, redshirt freshman, Washington, D.C.
TE Thomas Nealis, freshman early enrollee, Miller Place, N.Y.
DB Anthony Scott-Naji, redshirt junior, Philadelphia
OL Dakota Peters, redshirt freshman, New Castle
PK Cam Guess, freshman early enroleee, Belle Vernon
Walk-on running back Kyle Vreen, wide receiver Michael Vardzel, punter Ethan Van Buskirk and kicker Will Connelly are no longer on the roster.
Tipton will wear No. 6 this season, his sixth with the Panthers. Carrigan has swapped his 84 for 70 along with his move to tackle, and Collier will wear 50 as an offensive linemen. Mimes will stay at No. 25 on offense.
Here are the uniform numbers for the newest Panthers: