5 Standout Pitt Panthers to Watch In 2022
The 2022 football season officially began today for the Pitt Panthers as Pat Narduzzi, his coaches and the players all reported to the South Side for the start of training camp.
As Narduzzi tweeted this morning, “2022 Camp starts today! All of our goals are right in front of us, time to take it!!” #WenotMe
Coming off their first ACC Championship in program history, Pitt has the same goal. They are legitimate contenders to repeat as Coastal Division Champions. Despite losing Heisman Trophy finalist and first-round pick quarterback Kenny Pickett and Biletnikoff Award Winner Jordan Addison, the Panthers were still predicted to finish 2nd in the Coastal Division by the media in the ACC Preseason Polls.
In past seasons, this might be a rebuilding year for Narduzzi’s team but that’s not the case thanks to the tremendous job the coaches have done assembling talented depth in their last few recruiting classes. Pitt is in the mindset of ‘we don’t rebuild, we just reload’.
The strength of this season’s team appears to be on both sides of the line. The offensive line will return all five starters from 2021 and will be led by left tackle Carter Warren, who comes in looking to be a high pick in the 2023 NFL draft. It’s not a surprise that Charlie Partridge’s unit will be strong as they have an embarrassment of riches that stretch down to their third string on their depth chart.
With that being said, for Pitt to have a chance to return to Charlotte in December and to achieve all of their goals, new faces on the depth chart will need to step up and produce more than they’re currently being projected to do.
Who could these breakout players of 2022 be? Here are five names that I’m looking to step up and become the sleepers or breakout performers of the 2022 Pitt Panthers.
Javon McIntyre, Safety –– The redshirt freshman from Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia played sparingly last season but look for that to change in 2022. The 6’1″, 195-pound defensive back will play behind starter Brandon Hill but will still see plenty of action in Pitt’s scheme. Archie Collins unit continues to develop top notch defensive backs and McIntyre is someone that has the skill set and potential to join that group. McIntyre is a smart player with good speed, good instincts and is viewed by the coaching staff as a football junkie. McIntyre was a member of Pitt’s Class of 2021 and signed with Pitt over other offers from Penn State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Michigan State, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Arizona State.
Bangally Kamara, Linebacker– Pitt needs to replace Cam Bright and John Petrishen at the Money linebacker spot and it’s time for Kamara to show his enormous potential. After playing in all 14 games last season, mostly on special teams, Kamara showed enough in his limited time that many believe that Kamara could develop into a star on this Pitt defense. The 6’2″, 225-pound junior from Akron, Ohio signed with Pitt over offers from Penn State, Syracuse, Rutgers, Purdue, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Kentucky, Iowa State, Indiana and Cincinnati.
Jaden Bradley and Jaylon Barden, Wide Receivers– One of the reasons, Pitt coaches aren’t panicking about the departure of all-world wide receiver Jordan Addison is because of what was behind him on the depth chart. Don’t get be wrong, Pitt would’ve loved to have Addison catching passes from either Nick Patti or Kedon Slovis this season. Anyone that says otherwise isn’t telling the truth. However, unlike the fanbase and a majority of the media, the coaches at Pitt know the talent they still have at wide receiver and are excited to see them get their turn to shine in this potentially explosive offense. Jordan isn’t returning but Jaden and Jaylon are, and I believe both Jaden Bradley and Jaylon Braden have the chance to create names for themselves. Barden has shown flashes of his big play ability, but injuries prematurely ended his 2021 season. Barden is one of the fastest players on the roster and is a big play waiting to happen. The 6’3′, 195-pound Bradley played in 12 games during his freshman season, catching 9 passes for 129 yards (14.3 average). Keep in mind that he is still learning the position after having played quarterback and other positions in high school at DeMatha Catholic. The combination of Jared Wayne and Bradley will give Frank Cignetti, Jr. two tall playmakers to get the ball to down the field.
Dayon Hayes, Defensive End– The junior from Westinghouse High School showed glimpses of his star potential as he received his first real playing time in a Pitt uniform. In 14 games, Hayes 16 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks last season. Despite being surrounded by a ton of talent, I would not be surprised if Hayes ended the season as Pitt’s most productive defensive end. With his athleticism and ability to get to the quarterback, Hayes will thrive in Pitt’s defensive scheme and could develop into the next Charlie Partridge defensive lineman to hear his name called on NFL Draft Day. Hayes was a member of Pitt’s Class of 2020, and the 4-star recruit selected his hometown school over major offers from Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
I think mcyntire and obrien will be the next safety duo
I think O’Brian and k.Anderson are 2 guys to watch
After watching the Spring game, I think Mumpfield is going to be a really good fit for Pitt.
Kahalil Anderson is a Phenom, and was a HUGE steal for Pitt.
Dayon Hayes will be the most dominant of this group. Shameful that he wasn’t starting last year. Hayes will have a chip on his shoulder though and explode if he can stay injury free. Duzz needs to make the starting priority based on talent, not seniority.