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How Does Pitt’s Offensive Line Depth Stack Up Over the Next Three Seasons?



There’s a very high likelihood that Pitt’s class of 2024 will add a handful of offensive linemen, it’s already started with three-star Jiavani Cooley, and that’s just the beginning of the pipeline.

A lot will change over the next three seasons — over the next three weeks even — so this is just a rough sketch of the future, but it’s all we’ve got right now.

We know a good deal about what to expect for the 2023 season, but even that’s subject to change with camp developments and injuries. This is just a look at Pitt’s depth along the offensive line in the wake of Cooley’s commitment Saturday.

There will be new commitments, those who will decide to transfer out of the program and unexpected developments when it comes to the NFL and those growing within the system. You can’t predict it all, so this is just a rough sketch.


Tackle — Matt Goncalves (R-Sr.), Branson Taylor (R-Jr.), Ryan Baer (R-Fr.), Trey Andersen (R-So.), Ryan Carretta (Fr.), Tai Ray (Fr.)

Guard — Blake Zubovic (R-Sr.), Ryan Jacoby (R-Sr.), Jason Collier (R-Sr.), Terrence Enos Jr. (R-So.), Dorien Ford (R-So.), Isaiah Montgomery (R-Fr.)

Center — Jake Kradel (R-Sr.), Terrence Moore (R-So.), BJ Williams (Fr.)

We know who’s back, and likely, who is going to be starting heading into Week 1 against Wofford in September.

As of right now, barring injuries or a very rapid rise from Ryan Baer, the starting five is going to be Branson Taylor (LT), Ryan Jacoby (LG), Jake Kradel (C), Blake Zubovic (RG) and Matt Goncalves (RT).

It’s a very solid starting line, with some veteran experience and youthful expectation, and there’s a solid second unit waiting in the wings. Baer is going to start on Pitt’s offensive line for a few seasons (maybe even next season), and there are interior options immediately in Terrence Moore, Jason Collier Jr. and Terrence Enos Jr.

Dorien Ford is getting his first taste of playing on the offensive side of the football this spring, so he’s someone to watch for the future.


Sixth seasons: Matt Goncalves (R-Sr.), Ryan Jacoby (R-Sr.) and Jason Collier Jr. (R-Sr.)

Tackle — Branson Taylor (R-Sr.), Ryan Baer (R-So.), Trey Andersen (R-Jr.), Ryan Carretta (R-Fr.), Tai Ray (R-Fr.), Jiavani Cooley (Fr.)

Guard — Terrence Enos Jr. (R-Jr.), Dorien Ford (R-Jr.), Isaiah Montgomery (R-So.)

Center — Terrence Moore (R-Jr.), BJ Williams (R-Fr.)

This is where the speculation starts, of course.

Kradel and Zubovic will have exhausted their eligibility, and Goncalves and Jacoby will have choices to make.

If Goncalves plays well in 2023, I expect him to head off to the NFL. If he returns, it will likely be to start once again. The jury is out on Jacoby — we’ll have to see how he plays this coming season.

I expect Jason Collier Jr. to compete for a depth role on the offensive line in 2023, and if he chooses to use a sixth season in 2024, he could compete for a starting spot. But let’s operate on the assumption that he’s done.

A full season of Taylor and Baer starting at the tackle spots is very intriguing. I think Baer at left tackle and Taylor at right tackle is a very, very enviable position.

Enos will likely have spent the 2023 season as one of the first tackles off the bench, and Ford will have been able to put in a full season (and offseason) on the offensive line entering the 2024 season. I mean, come on, they’re both about 6-foot-4, 320 pounds. That’s the kind of beef you need inside.

Baer-Taylor and Enos-Ford, with Moore finally starting at center, is a very nice long-term scenario.


Sixth season: Branson Taylor (R-Sr.)

Tackle — Ryan Baer (R-Jr.), Trey Andersen (R-Sr.), Ryan Carretta (R-So.), Tai Ray (R-So.), Jiavani Cooley (R-So.)

Guard — Terrence Enos Jr. (R-Sr.), Dorien Ford (R-Sr.), Isaiah Montgomery (R-Jr.)

Center — Terrence Moore (R-Sr.), BJ William (R-So.)

If Taylor starts for two full seasons at Pitt, either left or right tackle (plus his cameo in 2022), I’d expect the NFL will come calling. He’s big, strong and fast.

So, if he’s gone, Pitt will need to find a complement to Baer — who may or may not be pushing All-ACC, All-American status. He’s that kind of talent. Andersen will have spent nearly a career in the system, and by then, Carretta, Ray and Cooley may have done enough to step into the spotlight.

Enos and Ford will both return (if they decide) as seniors, and Isaiah Montgomery will have waited his turn behind them. Moore will have entered his second season as the starting center.

A lot could change between now and the 2025 season, but Pitt has the kind of young talent on the offensive line to be excited about the future.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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