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Pitt Football

Breaking Down Pitt’s Blue-Gold Rosters

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The rosters are largely set for Pitt’s 2021 Blue-Gold game, which will be held on Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field. While Pat Narduzzi has been known to tinker with the lineups before game time, the team captains made their picks in a draft format on Wednesday, alternating players at each position group to divide the team into two squads. Defensive coordinator Randy Bates will coach Blue, while tight ends coach Tim Salem will coach Gold.

QUARTERBACK

BLUE
Kenny Pickett
Joey Yellen
Nate Yarnell
Logan Clouse

GOLD
Nick Patti

Davis Beville

Eli Kosanovich

Pickett was a captain for Blue and Patti was something of a surprise pick as the first quarterback off the board for Gold, despite ceding playing time to both Beville and Yellen last season. This has to be the deepest group of quarterbacks I can remember at a Pitt spring game and I’d be surprised if Pickett plays very much at all.

RUNNING BACK

BLUE
Israel Abanikanda
Daniel Carter
Angelo Priore

GOLD
A.J. Davis
Vincent Davis
Todd Sibley Jr.

A.J. Davis was assigned to gold as a super-senior, and Abanikanda was the first back drafted, with Blue taking the sophomore ahead of incumbent starter Vincent Davis.

TIGHT END

BLUE
Gavin Bartholomew
Kaymar Mimes
Jakes Cortes

GOLD
Lucas Krull
Kyi Wright
Jake Renda
Shane Murphy
FB – Jake Zilinskas

Blue made Bartholomew the first pick of the draft, with Krull a Gold captain and backup Danny Moraga injured. The true freshman jumped ahead of Wright and Mimes on the depth chart in the minds of the players with just a couple week’s worth of practices.

Blocker Grant Carrigan is also injured. Look for converted walk-on offensive lineman Shane Murphy to fill some of that role. Zilinskas is the only player for either team listed at fullback, but has played tight end in the past.

WIDE RECEIVER

BLUE
Tre Tipton
Jaylon Barden
Jordan Addison
Garrett Bickhart
Jake McConnachie
Josh Junko

GOLD
Taysir Mack
Jared Wayne
Gavin Thomson
Will Gipson
Luke DelGaudio
John Vardzel
Isaiah Stewart

Tipton and Mack were assigned to their teams, Addison is expected to be limited for the game, so Wayne became the first pick, followed by Barden and the walk-on Thomson. That’s a bit of a head-scratcher. With Gipson also in the fold, Gold was clearly looking to go with size at the position. Myles Alston and Shocky Jacques-Louis won’t dress on Saturday.

TACKLE

BLUE
Matt Goncalves
Gabe Houy
Branson Taylor
Trey Andersen

GOLD
Carter Warren
Carson Van Lynn
Liam Dick

Tackle was the last position taken, which usually signifies little separation between the top players at the position. Despite starters Houy and Warren returning, it was Goncalves getting the first pick, followed by Warren and then Houy.

GUARD

BLUE
Keldrick Wilson
Jake Kradel
Jason Collier
Dakota Peters

GOLD
Marcus Minor
Michael Statham

Wilson was assigned to blue, and has apparently made the shift to guard after serving as a backup right tackle last season. Collier, who started at Pitt as a tight end, has also made the move inside, along with Statham. Kradel and Minor are the projected starters here, but this is not a deep group, especially with Blake Zubovic out on Saturday.

CENTER

BLUE
Terrence Rankl

GOLD
Owen Drexel
Matt Altsman

Kradel can also play center, but it appears Drexel has cemented his hold on becoming Jimmy Morrissey’s successor, has he was the first pick here at the fourth position opened.

DEFENSIVE END

BLUE
John Morgan
Nahki Johnson
Chris Maloney
Emmanuel Belgrave

GOLD
Haba Baldonado
Dayon Hayes
Bam Brima
Sam Williams

With Deslin Alexandre out, Morgan was the first pick off the board, and true freshman Johnson went third, leapfrogging a number of second-year players. Hayes should round out the starters. Nate Temple will miss the game with an injury.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

BLUE
Devin Danielson
David Green
Noah Palmer

GOLD
Calijah Kancey
DeAndre Jules
Tyler Bentley
Will King IV

With Danielson expected to be limited, Kancey was the first pick, but the big surprise was Jules, who played minimally in 2020, going ahead of Bentley and Green. Senior Keyshon Camp is away from the team for a funeral.

MIDDLE LINEBACKER

BLUE
Wendell Davis
A.J. Roberts

GOLD
Chase Pine
Brandon George

Not really any surprises here. Pine was assigned to Gold and Davis was a no-brainer first pick for Blue.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

BLUE
John Petrishen
Cam Bright
Aydin Henningham

GOLD
Phil Campbell III
Solomon DeShields
Jackson Henry

Campbell and Petrishen were assigned to teams and Bright was the first pick of this unit, that is short SirVocea Dennis, Bangally Kamara and Leslie Smith due to injury. Henningham, who was moved from wide receiver to linebacker last year after a number of injuries at backer, is sticking with defense, at least for now.

SAFETY

BLUE
M.J. Devonshire
Buddy Mack
Myles Canton

GOLD
Brandon Hill
Judson Tallandier
P.J. O’Brien
Anthony Scott-Naji

Hill was the first player picked, continuing to show the promise he began to exhibit after taking over for Paris Ford late last year. With Erick Hallett out, it appears Kentucky transfer Devonshire has established himself as the other starter for now.

CORNERBACK

BLUE
Damarri Mathis
Marquis Williams
Jehvonn Lewis
Hudson Primus

GOLD
Rashad Battle
A.J. Woods
Jahvante Royal
Hunter Sellers

With Mathis a Blue captain, Gold took Battle first over 2020 starter Williams. Blue took walk-ons Lewis and Primus with scholarship players still on the board.

SPECIALISTS

BLUE
Cal Adomitis
Kirk Christodoulou

GOLD
Cam Guess
Byron Floyd

Ben Sauls will kick for both teams after Sam Scarton will miss the game following something Pat Narduzzi ominously called “the pylon incident.” There has to be a story there. Otherwise, Blue has the starters here, which could be an advantage.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
 
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