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Pitt Football

There’s One Week Until the Portal Closes, Which Pitt Players Have Decisions to Make?

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Pitt had 27 seniors who had decisions to make when it came to returning in 2023. That included the seniors with no eligibility remaining, but it left about 20 players.

It seems that most of the Pitt players who had a 50/50 chance of returning have decided to move on, whether that meant Jared Wayne, Haba Baldonado or Erick Hallett to the NFL or John Morgan to the transfer portal.

However, there have been a few key returners, in players like Jake Kradel and Blake Zubovic on the offensive line and Marquis Williams in the secondary.

Staying:

  • Jake Kradel
  • Blake Zubovic
  • Marquis Williams

Going:

  • Kedon Slovis
  • Israel Abanikanda
  • Vincent Davis
  • Jared Wayne
  • Habakkuk Baldonado
  • John Morgan
  • SirVocea Dennis
  • Erick Hallett

But the deadline on whether or not players with decisions to make regarding COVID-added eligibility is near. If a player is not in the transfer portal on Jan. 18, they will not have another opportunity to do so for 45 days.

There are still eight players left who need to make decisions when it comes to using their COVID eligibility, entering the NFL Draft or transferring.

Offense

Nick Patti — quarterback

Nick Patti isn’t coming back to Pitt, but he may not be done with football just quite yet.

Pat Narduzzi confirmed in the Sun Bowl leadup that Patti would not return to Pitt, but Patti publicly stated that it might be the end of his career before his heroics in El Paso. That was before the heroics in El Paso. We’ll see what he decides to do now.

C’Bo Flemister — running back

Rodney Hammond Jr. and Derick Davis are set as two-thirds of Pitt’s running back trio in 2023, and now that Vincent Davis has decided to move on, it leaves Flemister as the only option.

Flemister, who arrived as a graduate transfer from Notre Dame, quickly impressed both coaches and teammates upon arriving last spring. Narduzzi has advocated for him to return.

I expect him to do so.

Pittsburgh Panthers running back C’Bo Flemister (24) November 19, 2022 David Hague/PSN

Defense

Devin Danielson, David Green, Tyler Bentley — defensive line

There’s a glut of defensive linemen who have decisions to make when it comes to returning next season, so we’ll combine them.

Devin Danielson and David Green rotated starts alongside Calijah Kancey in 2022 and getting either or both back next season would be big when it comes to both veteran leadership and production.

Tyler Bentley is another veteran presence who has featured in Pitt’s defensive line rotation. It wouldn’t be surprising to see all three return in 2023.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – NOVEMBER 7: Defensive Tackle Devin Danielson #95 of the Pittsburgh Panthers celebrates after a score during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on November 7, 2020 in Tallahassee, Florida. Pitt defeated FSU 41 to 17. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Character Lines)

Chris Maloney — defensive end

With all the injuries to Pitt defensive ends in 2022, Chris Maloney saw more of the field than perhaps many would’ve expected.

He’s a veteran guy, who earned a scholarship before walking on, and he’d be another solid veteran to have in the room. We’ll see what he plans to do, but he’d be a nice keep.

Shayne Simon — linebacker

Another Notre Dame transfer here in Shayne Simon, and Pitt needs him back.

The versatile linebacker, capable of playing Mike and Money in Pitt’s scheme, was a key piece in Pitt’s defense last season. He’s excellent in coverage, and he’s a veteran voice in the room.

If Pitt can keep Simon around for another season, especially in wake of SirVocea Dennis heading to the NFL, it would be huge. He can slot into the starting Mike or Money spot in 2023.

Pittsburgh Panthers linebacker Shayne Simon (32) September 24, 2022 David Hague/PSN

Brandon George — linebacker

Brandon George will be back next season, and since he did not play more than four games last season, he will still have two seasons of eligibility remaining going forward.

A.J. Woods — cornerback

Marquis Williams already announced that he will be back. If A.J. Woods does, Pitt will run with the same foursome — Williams, Woods, M.J. Devonshire and Rashad Battle — that it did in 2022.

Woods didn’t have the easiest 2022 season, but he is a veteran presence. We’ll see what he decides to do.

AJ Woods August 11, 2022 David Hague/PSN

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Giovanni
Giovanni
26 days ago

I hope the D-line eligible will stay but think Woods should transfer. He was the weak-link in the starting backfield. Plus Pitt has a lot of hungry young talent eagerly waiting in the wings — talent that we don’t want to transfer elsewhere.

Reese26
26 days ago

I know Danielson is returning, I know his parents and they told me as much. Most of these should and probably will return as their playing time will only increase next year, with exception of Patti. I hate to see him leave the program, he should have been the starter last year, Narduzzi admitted as much, but getting hurt against UT didn’t help. He’s not going to play in front of Jurkovec, but I do think he should transfer somewhere for next years and start.

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