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Pitt Football

Exclusive: Pitt WR Jared Wayne Declaring For 2023 NFL Draft

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For the second time this offseason, the Pitt Panther football team is losing a captain and one of their top on-field performers.

Senior wide receiver Jared Wayne tells Pittsburgh Sports Now that he will bypass a year of eligibility and instead declare for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Last month, senior linebacker SirVocea Dennis made the same decision.

Losing Wayne is a definite blow to next year’s offense as he proved to be the only true reliable wide receiver last season. With the off-season additions of Phil Jurkovec and Christian Veilleux, some thought that Wayne would want to take advantage of this but that’s not the case.

Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Wayne prior to him making his decision public and one thing he made clear was this was a decision that he wrestled with and changed his mind on multiple times.

“This hasn’t been an easy decision. In fact, I kind of had to try and commit to multiple decisions that I made before I was sure I made the right one,” said Wayne. “I’ve decided that I’m going to go through with the draft process and I’m going to declare for the NFL Draft. It’s something that has been a goal of mine for my entire life, and I feel that I’m ready to chase that now. I’m excited about it and I’m excited to show people what I can do.”

“This decision is something that I’ve really been thinking about since the Miami game. After that, I kind of felt like it was time to go but then I was also trying to hear everyone out and what they had to say, which led me to hear a lot of good things about both coming back but also coming out. Because of that, I definitely had a change of heart more than once, actually a couple of times. There was a time I thought I was coming back but ultimately I went with my gut decision.”

Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Jared Wayne (5) gains control of a pass during the second half against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA on October 1, 2022. (Michael Longo/PSN)

Passing up another year to develop his skills and NFL Draft stock at Pitt was something that Wayne seriously considered. Not only that, but a long-term factor was also weighing on his mind.

“Legacy was probably the biggest thing,” Wayne told PSN. “Also, Pitt is where I’ve been for the past four years now, so it was definitely hard to move on from that. Knowing that I had the chance to become the all-time leading receiver in maybe a couple of categories. But, after thinking about my future and what’s ultimately best for me, I believed it was best to chase the goal of playing in the NFL.”

“In terms of what I’m hearing about my possible draft position, I’m hearing mid to late, but a lot of teams want to see how I’m going to test. My tape doesn’t speak of 4.3 or anything like that so the time that I’m able to run will be big for me. But everything I’ve heard to this point has been positive and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to test in front of teams and show them what I can do.”

Wayne was a member of Pitt’s Class of 2019 as he arrived from Clearwater Academy in Florida. The native of Ontario, Canada is yet another example of a player that wasn’t highly recruited but developed under the Pitt staff and has a shot of playing in the NFL. In fact, Pitt was Wayne’s only Power Five offer, with others coming from Bowling Green, Old Dominion and South Florida. Wayne appreciates and recognizes the impact the Pitt coaching staff had on him, which made the conversation in telling Pat Narduzzi a difficult one.

“A decision and conversation like this are never easy,” said Wayne. “Obviously, that man has been a great coach, we have a great relationship and I’m just very thankful for what he’s done for me over the past four years, helping me get to this position. Those type of conversations are never easy when you have to move on from something. He supports me in whatever I do and I’m very thankful for that.”

Wayne will finish his Pitt career with 146 receptions for 2,307 yards, 13 touchdowns, while averaging 15.4 yards per catch. As was obvious by anyone that followed Pitt, Wayne was a player that got better and improved his game every season in a Panther uniform. Statistically, his totals went up every year: 18 catches in 2019, 21 catches in 2020, 47 catches in 2021 and 60 catches this past season.

Wayne experienced a lot during his time as a Panther and he reminisced about things he’ll always remember.

“My time at Pitt has been nothing short of a blessing, both the highs and the lows,” said Wayne. “It hasn’t been pretty all the time, it hasn’t been perfect all the time but the things that I’ve learned, the people I’ve learned from, the experiences at Pitt are something that I will truly cherish forever. Pittsburgh will always have a special place in my heart. Everyone in that building throughout my four years has been great. Winning that championship was everything I’ve ever wanted. Looking back, I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Everything I went through at Pitt, both the good and the bad is just going to propel me through the rest of my life.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago

Great Panther. All the best. H2P

Giovanni
Giovanni
1 month ago

It would be nice to hear the specifics of the “bad” Wayne refers to, not just the good. Hopefully, such disclosure and transparency would lead to a realistic judgement of the big picture of the program and Wayne’s up-and-down journey. Also, garner productive suggestions for improvement of the program.

DL
DL
1 month ago
Reply to  Giovanni

The guy is making a decision to turn pro and you want him to talk about the bad things that happened to him the past 4 years? Its life and not every moment of every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows.

Eli
Eli
1 month ago

He’s been a huge part of their success over the last two seasons. Good luck to him.

kevin
kevin
1 month ago

Good luck and thank you for the great memories. I think he has talent, but the NFL is loaded with talent. Consistency is going to be the key. Dropped balls are not going to be tolerated, especially since he won’t be a 1-2 rounder.
H2P!!!

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago

CFL bound

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
1 month ago

Cuckold bound on your front.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Rose

Hi Ed…I’ve missed you. It’s so easy to get responses here, thanks for the fun

Joe Schmo
Joe Schmo
1 month ago

Idiot

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Schmo

Idiotic statement or just a realist? He’s not going to be drafted and is a CFL talent. Nothing wrong with that, it’s a great achievement, take off your blinders. Being from Canada this is a good thing.

Kowboygoc
Kowboygoc
1 month ago

I hope I’m wrong but this is a mistake to come out. He needs another year. Bad information..

Student section
Student section
1 month ago

Unless you are a sure thing NFL player, best advice is to use all of your college eligibility.
Jared is making a mistake by leaving now. He will not be drafted in the NFL. Too many other great wide receivers. He could come back to Pitt, improve his speed and strength for another year and then have a better chance to get on an NFL roster.
Being from Canada gives him a 100% chance to play in Canada.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 month ago

You don’t get faster and stronger by playing another year. You have to train for the combine, which means dedicated speed training and track work on how to run the 40 as well as training on the bench press. Bench not so important anymore, especially for WR. Shuttle, 40 and routes/pass catching at combine are it

kevin
kevin
1 month ago

Another year as the #1 receiver would give him a lot more air time and TV coverage. It’s not all about elite talent in college football, but national coverage.
H2P!!!

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
29 days ago
Reply to  kevin

NFL execs have all the film they need, TV coverage means nothing. In this day and age if you are not a sure fire pick then it’s film, interviews, and combine testing. TV coverage means nothing and not sure he gains anything coming back except risk of injury

Rooster
Rooster
1 month ago

Good luck Jared and thanks for playing in the Sun Bowl !

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