PITTSBURGH — Saturday is Senior Day for Pitt football, as the Panthers will be honoring their senior class before their final home game of the season against Virginia.
This senior day will be a bit of a strange one, though.
Of the 12 Pitt scholarship seniors that will have completely exhausted their eligibility, all were seniors at this time last year, went through senior day once, and chose to return for their extra season thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic eligibility waiver.
The other 11 scholarship seniors all could theoretically return for a second senior day in 2022 if they want to, using their additional year.
Pitt scholarship seniors out of eligibility after 2021:
QB Kenny Pickett
TE Lucas Krull
TE/FB Jake Zilinskas
WR Taysir Mack
WR Melquise Stovall
WR Tre Tipton
OL Keldrick Wilson
DT Keyshon Camp
LB Chase Pine
LB Phil Campbell III
LB John Petrishen
LS Cal Adomitis
Pitt scholarship seniors that could return for 2022:
RB Todd Sibley Jr.
TE Grant Carrigan
WR Shocky Jacques-Louis
OL Gabe Houy
OL Owen Drexel
OL Carter Warren
OL Marcus Minor
DL Deslin Alexandre
LB Cam Bright
CB Damarri Mathis
P Kirk Christodoulou
For now, those are going to wait, as Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said on Thursday that he’s encouraging all of his seniors to participate on Senior Day, noting that Kenny Pickett did so a year ago before electing to return to Pitt.
“Anyone wants to say they’re a senior can come out as a senior,” Narduzzi said. “Kenny Pickett was a senior last year at Senior Day. Thank God he came back. Kids gotta make decisions. They don’t want to make decision and say hey I think want to leave and then go, ‘Hey can we go back and do that Senior Day again?’ It’s better to have Senior Day and then have two of them.”
Narduzzi emphasized that it’s an individual decision for each player, but he feels that Pickett’s success after coming back will be a positive example.
“It’s their decision what they want to do,” Narduzzi said. “What I’ve said is, ‘Take your time.’ With all those conversations, the big thing is take your time, make a good decision like Kenny did. Everybody can learn from Kenny’s decision. I think a year is better than being drafted in the fifth, sixth, seventh (round), whatever.”
Of course, just because they’re eligible doesn’t mean that Pitt has to keep them around. This year, those extra seniors did not count against Pitt’s 85-man scholarship limit. Next year, they will. So there may be some delicate conversations there.
If all of Pitt’s seniors decided to return, all 12 members of the Class of 2022 sign as expected, and no one else enters the transfer portal, the Panthers are currently at 92 countable scholarships for 2022 — seven over the limit.