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HC Pat Narduzzi’s Thoughts on Pitt’s Transfer Portal Additions

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National Signing Day rolled around on Wednesday, but if Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi can help it, Pitt won’t be making any signing after the initial Signing Day in December. However, he did secure three top transfer portal targets after December’s signing period.

“Nothing new from what we talked about in December, on the first signing day, except we have three transfers that we were able to bring in,” Narduzzi said Wednesday at Pitt’s South Side facilities. “Three really, really good ones that I’m excited about, that we did our homework on.”

With Pitt not really utilizing the transfer portal much since its inception a few years ago, the changing times in college football forced Narduzzi’s hand this season, and he came away with a new quarterback, a starting wide receiver and a starting linebacker.

The top, and most notable addition, is former USC quarterback Kedon Slovis.

A two-and-a-half-year starter at USC since being thrust into action as a true freshman in 2019 following J.T. Daniels’ injury, Slovis’s time at USC came to an unceremonial end after a frustrating, disjointed junior season, but he’s coming to Pitt for a fresh start — and the chance to regain the form that earned him All-Pac-12 first team honors and first round NFL Draft buzz.

“Kedon Slovis threw for 7,576 yards at the University of Southern Cal, 58 TDs, completed 68 percent of his passes,” Narduzzi said. “Again, was a guy that me and Graham, I give (Graham Wilbert) a lot of credit here, him and me recruiting this guy.”

With Slovis all the way across the country, it wasn’t the easiest process for Pitt to communicate with Slovis in the midst of Peach Bowl preparation but Zoom made it bearable. And Narduzzi made Slovis his priority.

“(Slovis) was kinda my guy, as far as just recruiting him and kinda keeping it tight and just knowing the trust that we had – we just kept it away from the other coaches, let them deal with the Bowl game and it was almost a week and a half focused on just him,” Narduzzi said.

Narduzzi pumped Pitt’s culture, the strong group of returning players and the overall package of Pitt football to help convince Slovis that Pitt was his best destination, and a phone call with Kenny Pickett didn’t hurt. While Slovis’s girlfriend Kate McKay is a soccer player at Pitt, Narduzzi said that fact didn’t really have all that much to do with the end result.

With Nick Patti still in place at Pitt, an offseason battle between Patti and Slovis for the starting spot entering the Backyard Brawl with West Virginia on Sept. 1 will take place.

And one of the guys that either Slovis or Patti will be throwing balls to, a guy that Slovis is already playing some catch with at Pitt, is former Akron wide receiver Konata Mumpfield.

“Konata Mumpfield, had 63 receptions for almost 800 yards, eight TDs as a true freshman over at Akron, freshman All-American,” Narduzzi said. “Good player.”

Akron wide receivers coach Alex Kline, a former Pitt staffer, coached Mumpfield in 2021 and provided a link to the freshman All-American — who was recruited by Pitt out of high school before he chose Akron.

“Just an excellent receiver,” Narduzzi said. “I think he can come in here and just add to that receiver room and get us off to a great start there in the spring.”

With Taysir Mack and Shocky Jacques-Louis both moving on since the Peach Bowl, despite a talented wide receiving corps headlined by Jordan Addison, Jared Wayne and up-and-comers like Jaylon Barden and Jaden Bradley, Mumpfield should immediately emerge as another impact playmaker.

On the defensive side of the ball, after having former Michigan State safety Michael Dowell fall through, Narduzzi secured a former Notre Dame linebacker Shayne Simon — a top recruit from 2018 that Pitt recruited.

“Shayne Simon, a linebacker from St. Peter’s Prep High School in New Jersey, went to Notre Dame,” Narduzzi said. “We recruited him out of high school, so there was a relationship there. … But obviously had a need for a linebacker and found I think a perfect fit. This kid kinda reminds me a bit of Kylan Johnson.”

Johnson, a transfer linebacker from Florida, arrived at Pitt after a handful of seasons in the SEC and immediately made a huge impact in his lone season as a Pitt linebacker before heading to the NFL. If Simon can have a similar impact, it’ll be a huge boost at a much-needed position.

“He’s a specimen; he’s big, he’s strong,” Narduzzi said. “I talked to Clark Lea, his old defensive coordinator who’s at Vanderbilt now as a head coach, just about him as a player. I think we got a really good player there.”

With SirVocea Dennis returning to Pitt as the lone starter from last season, Simon will immediately slot into Pitt’s starting lineup, likely as the Money linebacker. Along with Bangally Kamara, Pitt’s 2022 linebackers will be a rangy, athletic bunch.

While not a transfer, 2022 signee Marquan Pope arrived at Pitt earlier than expected and will get to compete during spring ball as an outside linebacker. With him getting up to speed with Pitt’s defense, it’s a win-win on both sides.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Paul mcgrath
Paul mcgrath
10 months ago

Narduzzi saying that Simon reminds him of kylan Johnson gets me excited. Johnson was so good in his year at pitt and a clone of him is exactly what the pitt defense needs. When I read about Simon I thought he was going to be a good tackler but a bit on the slower side, but I’ll trust narduzzis assessment of our new linebacker.

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
10 months ago
Reply to  Paul mcgrath

Simon’s almost identical to Johnson in size and speed. Both run a 4.8 40 and that definitely didn’t hinder Johnson at all. Health is my only concern, but it’s a minor one. Simon comes in with more experience than Johnson.

Dukes

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