Pitt FB Recruiting
Pitt Appears to Land Commitment From USC Transfer TE Malcolm Epps
Jake Renda may have impressed in the spring game, but Pitt needed another veteran tight end to supplement Gavin Bartholomew and Karter Johnson next season.
And the Pitt coaching staff appears to have found their guy in former USC tight end Malcolm Epps, as Panther-Lair’s Jim Hammett first pointed out.
Epps — a 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end who has spent time at USC and Texas during his collegiate career — appears to have committed to Pitt in a rather low-key way, updating his Instagram bio and posting a picture of himself in a Pitt uniform.
He entered the transfer portal in March and visited Pitt’s South Side facilities last week. With one season of eligibility remaining, Epps will finish his collegiate career at Pitt.
Epps has had an up-and-down college career since committing to Texas as a four-star tight end in the class of 2018, but he’s a huge pass catcher whose had big success at times during his winding collegiate career — in which he’s recorded 37 receptions for 483 yards (13 yards per reception) and seven touchdowns.
He committed to nearby Texas out of Dekaney High in Houston, Texas way back in 2017, and he spent his first three college seasons in Austin. He redshirted in 2018 before breaking out in 2019 — recording a career-high 20 receptions for 232 yards (11.6 yards per reception) and two touchdowns.
However, he didn’t play much in 2020 and finished his career as a Longhorn with 24 receptions for 292 yards (12.2 yards per) and four touchdowns. He played in 23 games, starting seven — all during that 2019 season.
He transferred to USC after the 2020 season, and in two seasons at USC, he recorded 13 receptions for 191 yards (14.7 yards per) and three touchdowns. In 12 games, five starts, during the 2021 season, Epps recorded 10 receptions for 173 yards (17.3 per) and a touchdown.
Epps’ time at both Texas and USC can be categorized by strong seasons (posting 20 receptions for 232 yards and two touchdowns in 2019 at Texas and 10 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown in 2021 at USC) before giving way to limited depth opportunities the next.
Bartholomew and Johnson formed a 1-2 duo at tight end last season, and while Johnson won the Conway Award as the most improved player of the spring, Pitt needed to add an experienced option to supplement. Epps is that, but is also a tight end with upside as an older, experienced pass catcher.
Epps recorded just three receptions for 18 yards last season at USC, but he cashed in with two touchdowns. He’s a huge target with a massive catch radius that may be able to help with Pitt’s red zone struggles. And he has been a factor in the catch-and-run phase, too.
The 1-2-3 at tight end is now Bartholomew, Johnson and Epps. And if Epps is able to rediscover any of that catch-and-run ability, Pitt will be in even better shape.