It doesn’t appear that 247Sports is very high on Pitt entering the 2023 season.
247Sports’ Chris Hummer listed Pitt as one of the teams that 247 expects to “tumble” in the 2023 season, and the reasoning is interesting, to say the least.
“No matter which measure you pick, the Panthers are on the low end of returning production,” Hummer wrote. “ESPN slots Pittsburgh 119th nationally, while Action Network’s numbers have the Panthers with the second-least returning production in the Power Five.”
“While there should be continued optimism for a defense that’s recruited well and produced year over year, I have questions about the offense’s direction. Pittsburgh pivoted away from the pass-heavy strategy that led to an 11-win season in 2021, and the offense tumbled to 59th nationally in yards allowed per play as a result.”
While it’s true that Pitt lost a lot of production to the NFL, it’s not as if the cupboard is bare. Pitt’s largely second-string defense limited a high-powered UCLA offense in Sun Bowl, and those first-time starters and contributors have had nearly a full offseason to grow.
And when it comes to Pitt’s offense, Israel Abanikanda is gone, but Rodney Hammond Jr. is still around. He racked up 101 yards of offense and two touchdowns in the Sun Bowl win.
Hummer wrote that he has questions about the direction of Pitt’s offense, but Pitt has just played to the strengths of its offensive personnel. When you have Kenny Pickett and Jordan Addison, you throw the ball. When you have Kedon Slovis and Israel Abanikanda, you run the ball.
The 2023 offense has a surprisingly veteran offensive line, a running on the brink of a true breakout and a deep tight ends room. The wide receiving corps may be a bit of a question mark right now, but if Phil Jurkovec offers any sort of improvement over Kedon Slovis’ 2022 production, Pitt’s offensive production will be more balanced. And definitely nothing to worry about.
Unsurprisingly, the one ACC team that Hummer expects to rise is Miami.