In the recently instated age of the transfer portal ravaging middle-tier Power Five football teams, Pitt has ridden a conference championship and coaching consistency to a positive experience in the most turbulent offseason in college football history.
With the additions of Kedon Slovis, Konata Mumpfield, Shayne Simon and even Ryan Jacoby and Tylar Wiltz, Pitt has done well this winter and spring. Slovis, Mumpfield and Simon could all plausibly start in 2022 whole Jacoby will fill a key backup role along Pitt’s defensive line.
Since October, Pitt has lost A.J. Davis, Wendell Davis, AJ Roberts, Leslie Smith, Shocky Jacques-Louis, Todd Sibley, Noah Palmer, Naquan Brown, Cam Bright, Hunter Sellers, Michael Statham, John Vardzel, Preston Lavant, Kaymar Mimes and Davis Beville.
That list includes a whopping one (1) starter from the 2021 season, and the rest of the list includes players who, while they may have potential, didn’t make an impact during their seasons at Pitt.
Beville, a four-star quarterback from the class of 2019, will likely go on to success at another program, but he wasn’t going to see the field at Pitt. He’s a big, tall quarterback who left for an opportunity elsewhere. That’s why the portal exists.
Sibley and Davis — A.J. — both transferred to FCS programs. With Israel Abanikanda, Rodney Hammond Jr. and Vincent Davis already in place, their path to playing time just wasn’t there.
Jacques-Louis, a solid wide receiver at Pitt, was basically a trade for Konata Mumpfield. And where Mumpfield will see extensive playing time at Pitt in 2022, Jacques-Louis would not have done the same. And Vardzel left after it became clear he could earn opportunities elsewhere.
Towering offensive tackle Michael Statham wasn’t able to crack the field for Pitt during his time in Pittsburgh, and while Jacoby hasn’t earned anything yet, he’s earned praise from the Pitt coaching staff so far this spring.
Brown, who arrived at Pitt with high expectations, wasn’t ever to live up to those expectations, and with a landing spot at FCS Norfolk State, he should be able to adapt to the college game at a better rate. Palmer wasn’t able to see the field much in 2021, and with a new home in 2022, he should be able to carve out more playing time.
Sellers entered the transfer portal after not finding the field during his two seasons at Pitt, and with the level of depth ahead of and behind him at Pitt, he entered the transfer portal to find opportunities elsewhere.
Lavant, Smith, Roberts, Davis and Bright all entered the portal, which when combined with the exits of Phil Campbell III, Johnny Petrishen and Chase Pine, left Pitt quite thin at linebacker entering the 2022 season.
The 2022 linebacking depth is beginning to take shape, with a couple of transfer additions (Simon and Wiltz) figuring to either push for the starting spot or add vital depth, and the departing linebackers likely weren’t going to be huge contributors.
Bright’s exit was surprising, considering it was for another school and not the NFL, but Lavant, Smith, Roberts and Davis didn’t play much in 2021, and all four are now irrelevant in considering potential depth.
Winning helps, and with the instability of the 2022 offseason and college athletics in general, head coach Pat Narduzzi and his staff have not only kept Pitt largely intact but begun the growth of elite 2023, 2024 and 2025 recruits making visits to Pittsburgh.
Narduzzi isn’t perfect, but it’s hard to imagine many coaches having forged the same level of stability across the program in 2022. With a team poised to contend after winning an ACC title, perhaps the best recruiting class in the last decade and a program that’s added more than lost in the transfer portal, it’s tough to complain when looking at Pitt football.