Pitt has done well in navigating the transfer portal so far this offseason, but a shock entrance from a freshman defender will leave many disappointed.
True freshman defensive end Naquan Brown has entered the transfer portal, Rivals’ NCAA Transfer Portal Tracker confirmed on Twitter Wednesday. While Brown didn’t see any action this season, he was expected to serve as a key contributor down the line in Pitt’s defense.
— NCAA Transfer Portal (@RivalsPortal) January 12, 2022
A consensus four-star defensive end on both 247Sports and Rivals, Brown arrived as part of Pitt’s vaunted 2021 recruiting class that featured Elliot Donald, Nahki Johnson, Dorien Ford and himself.
All four were expected to see significant playing time over the course of their Pitt careers, with Brown and Johnson likely seeing time at linebacker if not defensive end. Brown’s departure is a surprise after his excitement to join Pitt out of Ocean Lakes and the potential impact he could’ve made along the line.
Brown originally committed to LSU out of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia before decommiting on Dec. 3, 2020. He committed to Pitt the next day. A highly-recruited prep player with loads of potential, he’ll be heavily recruited once again.
While Brown’s exit likely won’t have too much of an impact in 2022, with both Habakkuk Baldonado and Deslin Alexandre returning next season along with both primary backups. And with strong depth behind the aforementioned four, including breakout candidate Dayon Hayes, Pitt will be fine.
But Brown’s exit is no doubt disappointing for a player who could’ve made a serious impact on Pitt’s defense.
Pitt is now three players of the scholarship limit for the 2022 season, so there will be additional moves made in the weeks and months ahead.