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Pitt Football

Pitt’s Linebacking Depth Taking a Major Hit

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While Pitt’s offense has already reloaded for next season with a couple of transfer additions, a couple of returning stars and a couple of young players expected to make the jump, Pitt’s defense still needs a bit of work — especially at linebacker.

With Cam Bright entering the transfer portal and Phil Campbell III, Chase Pine and John Petrishen graduating, Pitt’s linebacker’s corps will need to replace a couple of key players. But the transfer portal has already hit Pitt’s depth hard.

Wendell Davis and AJ Roberts both entered the transfer portal and found new homes and Leslie Smith is still in the portal.

SirVocea Dennis will slot back in as Pitt’s MIKE linebacker, coming off a highly successful junior season in which he recorded 81 tackles (31 solo), 9.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, forced a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown.

With Bright occupying the STAR linebacker role and Campbell occupying the MONEY linebacker spot in Pitt’s starting unit, both will need to be replaced. And Petrishen’s contributions as an ultra-reserve STAR will need to be replaced as well.

Bangally Kamara played sparingly this season, but he’s expected to be a key figure on Pitt’s defense next season as the MONEY linebacker. In seven games this season, he racked up 10 tackles (six solo), one tackle for loss and one sack.

And despite losing a few players to the transfer portal, Pitt used the portal to find a potential replacement in Michigan State’s Michael Dowell. While Dowell was played as a safety for Michigan State, recording 40 tackles (26 solo), two tackles for loss and three passes defended.

It’s likely that Dowell will follow Petrishen’s example and convert to STAR linebacker to fill a need in Pitt’s defense.

Brandon George is the only other linebacker on Pitt’s roster with significant experience, playing in 12 games this season and racking up 29 tackles (18 solo), five tackles for loss and defended a pass.

With Pitt’s activity in the transfer portal so far this year, it’s very likely that head coach Pat Narduzzi will look to the portal to bolster linebacker depth. And with a number of last year’s top linebacker contributors now gone, Pitt needs the help.

Pitt did add two linebackers in its class of 2022, three-stars Kyle Louis and Marquan Pope, but neither will likely make much of an impact as true freshmen next season.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Ron
Ron
8 months ago

Not one mention of Solomon Deshields smh

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
8 months ago
Reply to  Ron

He didn’t mention several young players who can/will step up. What a half-assed article.

Steven Zarnick
Steven Zarnick
8 months ago

This team was 2 coaching gaffes and 1 officiating gaffe from being 13-0. Going going for it on 4th down vs WM, going wide on 3rd vs MS ( terrible spot, where was the red flag?) and the non safety call vs Miami. Plenty of talent. Very close to being at the top of the summit. #Mix some cover 2, #H2P!

Realitychek
Realitychek
8 months ago
Reply to  Steven Zarnick

That’s hilarious

Stan Simms
Stan Simms
8 months ago
Reply to  Realitychek

13-0? Nice perspective. Glad they Won 11 personally. 40 years of 8-4 and 7-5 Seasons. Could have been the Same with the UNC, UVA, and UTK game had gone either way (and yes WMU and Miami, MSU could have been Wins as well)

Stan Simms
Stan Simms
8 months ago
Reply to  Stan Simms

Joe Milton hits some Passes early in the UTK in Knoxville PITT gets blown out.

Mark Recker
Mark Recker
8 months ago
Reply to  Steven Zarnick

You lost all credibility by asking “where was the red flag?” There are no red challenge flags in college football, just the NFL. In college, a coach has to call a timeout & inform the referee that he wants to challenge the call. You really should watch a game or two before you comment on here & make yourself look like a complete idiot.

Stan Simms
Stan Simms
8 months ago
Reply to  Steven Zarnick

Zone defense? With Narduzzi. Man-Press all downs and distances since he has been here. Didn’t you watch us gets passed on for nearly 400 Yds in the 1st Half by Rudolph when Oklahoma State came to town a few Years back? Probably why the Steelers drafted him. Can be 3rd and forever and possibility for Pass Interference by playing Man-Press. (make a play mentality). Joe Milton hits Passes at UTK we get blown out in Knoxville same goes for DJ against Clemson (or the RB over the middle catching it)

Stan Simms
Stan Simms
8 months ago

They are still a couple over 85. Will need to see if a couple more on Scholarship choose to Graduate or any other feel the need to exit before they pick up more. All four Sr lineman came back. Eyeballing the roster and incoming they’ll have numbers maybe just not game experience. Hopefully #12 gets Coached up some more, a lot of hype out of high school went to Kentucky and came back (got Targeted a bunch this year at PITT, looked lost mostly).

Thomas McGraw
Thomas McGraw
8 months ago

You left out some underclassmen that are ready to step up. The Portal isn’t NEW. And Coach likes it and yes he’ll use it in order to create competition with in the program. And competition creates drive toward excellence.
Use it!

Dukes

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