Pitt has added a talented player to program, as former four-star Aliquippa cornerback MJ Devonshire has decided to transfer to Pitt, after previously announcing his departure from Kentucky.
Devonshire (5-foot-11, 182 pounds) will have four seasons of athletic eligibility remaining.
”It’s just a relief to make this decision and that I’m going to Pitt,” Devonshire told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I’m ready to get started, get there to learn the system and get started on fulfilling my dream of getting to the NFL.”
Devonshire is a welcome addition to Archie Collins’ unit because he has the talent to step in and make an immediate impact to their 2021 lineup, after losing Paris Ford, Damar Hamlin and Jason Pinnock to the NFL.
Pitt will have two spots open at cornerback with Devonshire, Damari Mathis, Marquis Williams and AJ Woods fighting to get the starting call.
Along with competing to earn a starting cornerback position, Devonshire will also be in the mix to replace DJ Turner as Pitt’s top kickoff and punt returner. While at Aliquippa, Devonshire returned eight punt returns for touchdowns, one short of the national record.
”When Pitt contacted me, honestly, they kept it real. They never tried to sell me something that wasn’t believable or true,” said Devonshire. “From the beginning, they told me we’re not going to promise you a starting position but you’ll have a chance to compete for a starting spot and that’s all I ever wanted. I just want a fair shot and an opportunity. If I compete and someone is better than me, than I can live with that. Them telling me that I’d have a legitimate chance to compete and start is something that really sold me. My whole life that’s all I’ve ever wanted, whether it was football, basketball or whatever is a chance and I’ll get that at Pitt.”
The other big selling point for Devonshire is really knowing the defensive system he’ll be playing in, something that wasn’t the case at Kentucky.
”Being two years older, I’ve learned some things. I had never been to a Kentucky game. I never watched their games and really walked in blindly and just went by what they said, ‘we play this, we play this. At Aliquippa, we played press man coverage every play. At Kentucky it was different than what I was told. When I entered the portal, I knew this time that I had to know exactly what each team played. I then watched a lot of film on Pitt and saw they played a lot of press man, which is my strong suit and really fits me well.”
This is another major recruiting win for the Pitt coaching staff this season as James Franklin and Terry Smith went hard after Devonshire once he entered the transfer portal. After losing him to Kentucky two years ago, both staffs didn’t want to lose him when getting a second chance to add him to their program.
Devonshire becomes the seventh four-star player added to the Pitt roster since the end of last season, six of which play defense: Devonshire, CB Khalil Andersen, DE Naquan Brown, DT Elliot Donald, RB Rodney Hammond, DE Nahki Johnson and S Phillip O’Brien.