Six Pitt players will miss all of the team’s 2021 spring practices after undergoing offseason surgery, head coach Pat Narduzzi announced on Tuesday.
Linebackers SirVocea Dennis, Bangally Kamara and Leslie Smith, defensive end Nate Temple, safety Erick Hallett and tight end/tackle Grant Carrigan will all miss the entirety of the spring, including the Blue-Gold Game on April 24, Narduzzi said.
Dennis was one of Pitt’s most productive linebackers in 2020 and is expected to be a significant part of the team’s rotation at the position, along with Cam Bright, Wendell Davis, Chase Pine and Phil Campbell III. Kamara and Smith were among the young players expected to challenge that top group.
Hallett is expected to succeed Damar Hamlin as Pitt’s starting free safety, with his absence giving Judson Tallandier and Kentucky transfer M.J. Devonshire opportunities, Narduzzi said.
Carrigan has been Pitt’s primary blocking tight end for three years now, but has been expected to move to tackle. It’s not clear if that will happen now or not.
Temple is one of a number of young defensive ends that will be battling for spots in the rotation vacated by Patrick Jones II and Rashad Weaver.
Narduzzi also said that his team is back to full participation one week after having to shut practices down due to positive COVID-19 cases.