The 2020 Pitt football season officially got underway today as players reported to the team facility on the South Side. Friday morning, the Pat Narduzzi will conduct his first fall practice of the season.
Returning starters like Paris Ford, Damar Hamlin, Kenny Pickett, Jaylen Twyman and Patrick Jones along with Pitt’s talented Class of 2020 have gotten much of the team headlines over the off-season and right so.
Since those players have grabbed much of the attention, we wanted to re-introduce you to some players you might have forgotten about because a majority of them redshirted last season and that’s Pitt’s Class of 2019.
That particular recruiting class consisted of 19 players and was ranked #49 Nationally by Rivals.com.
Here is a refresher course on the members of Pitt’s Class of 2019.
Daniel Carter, RB: Played in 4 games last season but kept his redshirt. Carter was a national recruit coming out of famed St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida where he rushed for over 1,200 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior. Was rated by Rivals as one of the Top 20 running backs in the country and one of the Top 20 overall prospects in Florida. Carter should be in the mix for playing time this season in the Panthers backfield.
Jared Wayne, WR: Will be a sophomore this season as he came on late last season and developed into an important member of the Panthers passing game. Wayne played in 8 games and started the last 4, catching 18 passes for 261 yards and 1 TD. Wayne became the first Pitt freshman wide receiver with a 100+ yard game since Tyler Boyd in 2013. Pitt and Rob Harley landed Wayne from Clearwater Academy in Florida. Wayne should enter camp as a starter on Pitt’s initial depth chart.
Calijah Kancey, DT: Kancey’s only on-field appearance during the 2019 season took place in the Quick Lane Bowl. Despite this inexperience, the native of Miami, Florida will have a chance to earn a spot in Pitt’s defensive tackle rotation this season. Pitt and Charlie Partridge landed Kancey out of powerful Northwestern High School, where he was a 1st team All-Florida Class 6A defensive lineman. Kancey collected 110 tackles during his senior season and 98 as a junior. Rivals rated him as one of the Top 40 defensive lineman in the country.
Will Gipson, WR: The Aliquippa native will be a redshirt freshman after not playing last season. Gipson’s size (6’2″, , 190) and athletic ability make him a candidate to earn a role in Pitt’s offense this season. During his senior season with Aliquippa, Gipson caught 64 passes for 1,658 yards (25.9 per catch) and 22 touchdowns.
Nate Temple, DL: Like Gipson, Temple will enter the season as a redshirt freshman. During his senior season at Abbeville High School in South Carolina, Temple collected 12.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss and was rated by Rivals as one of the Top 15 prospects in the state. Because of the depth at this position, playing time this season on defense might be tough.
Davis Beville, QB: The former 4-star recruit from South Carolina will enter 2020 as a redshirt freshman. Barring an injury, Beville will have to wait until starter Kenny Pickett graduates to get a shot at the starting quarterback position. However, Beville will have the opportunity to battle Nick Patti to become Pickett’s backup. During his junior and senior season in high school, Beville threw for over 4,500 yards and 62 touchdown passes.
Vincent Davis, RB: Davis impressed the Pitt coaches and by the end of the season, developed into Pitt’s starting running back. For the season, Davis rushed the ball 61 times for 314 yards (5.1 yds/carry) and a team-high 5 touchdowns. Pitt landed Davis from famed Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Davis will battle A.J. Davis and others in camp for Pitt’s starting RB spot.
Brandon Hill, DB: Hill played in four games last season but was able to preserve his redshirt. Pitt recruited Hill from Wekiva High School in Apopka, Florida, where he was a two-way star leading his team to back-back district championships.
Leslie Smith, LB: Smith played in four games including the Quick Lane Bowl but kept his redshirt status. During his senior season at Northwestern High School (Miami, Florida), Smith collected 76 tackles including 30 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions. Smith will have a shot to earn playing time this season in the Pitt linebacker depth chart.
Kyi Wright, TE: The former Farrell High School star athlete will be a redshirt freshman this season after not playing last season. The former two-way star is at tight end for Pitt and because of the uncertainty at that position, Wright has a good chance to contribute this season.
Brandon George, LB: George was one of the handful of players in this class to play enough games to become a sophomore. George played in 11 games and was a mainstay on Pitt’s special teams unit. George will likely earn snaps this year at linebacker. At Berks Catholic High School, George registered 347 career tackles and was rated as one of the Top 20 prospects in the state of Pennsylvania. George has the look and ability of a mainstay in Pitt’s linebacker unit.
A.J. Woods, DB: Played in 10 games on special teams and will enter this season as a sophomore. The speedster from Maryland returned 5 kickoffs for 78 yards. He also registered 3 tackles on kick coverage team. Pitt landed Woods from Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland. He was rated by both Rivals and 247 Sports as a Top 20 prospect in the state.
Sirvocea Dennis, LB: Dennis is another player that will be a sophomore because of playing 8 games on special teams last season. Dennis was one of the last members of Pitt’s Class of 2019 after playing at Peddie School in New Jersey, where he earned Mid-Atlantic Prep League Defensive MVP. Dennis along with a handful of other young players will be in the mix for playing time on defense.
Jason Collier, OL: The big lineman from New Jersey will be redshirt freshman after not playing in 2019. Collier arrived at Pitt as a tight end but was converted to offensive tackle. While at West Deptford High School, Collier averaged 16.8 per catch and was rated by 247 Sports as one of the Top 25 prospects in New Jersey.
Bam Brima, DL: Brima enters 2020 as a redshirt freshman but has the look of a player that could contribute on the Panthers defensive in the near future. During his senior season at Loyalsock Township High School (Pennsylvania), Brima (6’5″, 260) collected 71 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Brima was also a 4-year starter in basketball. 247 Sports and Rivals rated him as one of the Top 20 prospects in the state his senior season.
Bryce Nelms, DL: Nelms will be a redshirt freshman after not playing in 2019. Coming out of West Orange High School in New Jersey, Nelms played both defensive tackle and offensive tackle but is on the defensive side of the ball for Pitt. Nelms was rated as one of the Top 15 players in New Jersey and another played believed to have a bright future at Pitt.
Liam Dick, OT: This monster sized offensive tackle (6’7″, 320) did not play last season and will be a redshirt freshman. Dick, who’s from Ontario, Canada, is relatively new to football so he probably needs more time to develop. However, with his athleticism, could have a solid career as a tackle for Pitt.
Matt Goncalves, OT: Goncalves is another huge offensive lineman (6’6″, 315) that Dave Borbely brought in and is in the process of developing. The New York native redshirted last season after arriving at Pitt from Eastport-South Manor High School in Manorville, New York. He was rated the #1 offensive line in the state and the #4 overall prospect in New York by Rivals.
Deandre Jules, DL: The redshirt freshman arrived at Pitt from Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland as the top defensive end prospect in Maryland by Rivals and 247 Sports. As a senior, Jules collected 59 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery. Jules could have a chance to earn a spot in Pitt’s defensive tackle rotation.