It’s been a long road for 2019 three-star wide receiver Jerrod “Bub” Means, but he made it count in 2021. After transferring following a freshman season at Tennessee in which he didn’t play, even seeing time as a defensive back, he arrived at Louisiana Tech.
Means (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) sat out the 2020 season, arriving the season before the transfer portal allowed free-for-all transfers, but he showcased his original potential at Louisiana Tech in 2021.
While Means wasn’t exactly an elite caliber recruit out of Lovejoy High School in Hampton, Georgia, rated as the 1,893rd-ranked recruit in the class of 2019 (223rd-ranked wide receiver and the 185th-ranked recruit from Georgia), he still showcased a blend of speed and strength that intrigued scouts — and Tennessee.
“A sleeper receiver prospect with good size and speed.” 247Sports’ Greg Biggins said in 2018. “Has a strong body and is pushing 215 pounds on a 6-2 frame. Mostly a straight line guy right now and needs to improve his fluidity and ability to change direction as a route runner. Not a natural pass catcher right now and could be limited in how many routes he can run until he improves his hands. Can get behind a defense and that size/speed combo is intriguing. If he can develop his all-around game, he has a chance to be a contributor at the next level.”
In his lone season at Louisiana Tech in 2021, Means hauled in 22 catches, turning those into 430 yards and two touchdowns. At just under 20 yards per reception, he served as a big-play deep threat in an offense that wasn’t exactly built for the deep ball.
Means graded out positively in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus, lining up almost exclusively out wide. With 164 yards after the catch, averaging a robust 7.5 yards after catch per reception, he served as a threat with and without the ball in his hands.
In racking up two yards per route run in 2021, averaging a 17.5-yard average depth of target, Means was able to maximize just 39 targets on the season.
As a deep ball threat, Means hauled in five of his 17 targets for 199 yards and both of his touchdowns on routes over 20 yards. While those numbers don’t pop off the page, with stronger quarterback play in a rapidly pass-happy ACC, Means could an underrated weapon.
It would be tough to break into Pitt’s loaded 2022 wide receiving corps, behind the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison, Jared Wayne and Konata Mumpfield and the depth of Jaylon Barden, Jaden Bradley, Addison Copeland and future enrollee Che Nwabuko, but Means may not even be eligible to play in 2022.
Since Means is a second-time transfer, he’s not immediately eligible for the 2022 season. So his eligibility is currently up in the air.
While Means is an older recruit from the class of 2019, having spent a season at Tennessee and two at Louisiana Tech, he’s technically entering his sophomore season at Pitt in 2022. No matter the outcome in 2022, and especially if both Addison and Wayne leave following the season, Means is a very valuable insurance piece.
So, even if Means’ 2022 contributions are non-existent, he’ll have spent a season at Tennessee, two at Louisiana Tech and one at Pitt, and he’ll still have two seasons of eligibility remaining. So, Pitt will enter the 2023 season with a big (6-foot-2, 205-pound wideout), fast (rumored 4.4 40-yard dash speed) wide receiver who could bridge the gap between Addison and Wayne and Mumpfield and Bradley.
Wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood was a key factor in bringing Means to Pitt, adding yet another crucial piece to Pitt’s wide receiving corps. While Pitt’s wide receiving corps is legitimately challenging for a place among the best in college football, there’s always room for improvement. While the unit is strong now, Means provides depth now — and in the future.
In watching Mean’s tape, his speed is legitimate. And against major Division I talent (Mississippi State and North Carolina State), he caught seven passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns — his two highest yardage performances of the season.
It may seem like Pitt is adding a scholarship player at a position that isn’t a need, but Means will be a key piece in the future. And he still — if not able to play in 2022 — should be able to position himself for increased playing time in 2023 and beyond.