Connect with us

Pitt Football

Who Are Pitt Football’s Newcomers in the 2023 Season?



The 2023 Pitt Panthers will look a lot different when the season kicks off against Wofford on Sept. 2.

There are some offensive and defensive mainstays that left for the NFL, which include team captains, program record-holders, All-ACC and All-American performers and so much more, but it’s always a next-man-up mentality at Pitt.

So, let’s take a look at the players that Pitt has brought in — in the transfer portal and from the high school level — since the Sun Bowl win on Dec. 30.

Defensive Backs


Donovan McMillon — 6-foot-2, 210-pound safety

McMillon was Pitt’s lone transfer portal addition in the secondary, arriving from Florida in January. He’s a nice pick-up. A big, strong safety that will play the boundary safety position at Pitt.

He’s still relatively new at Pitt, and he was focused on learning the boundary position in the spring before adding versatility at the field spot, too. It’s a good bet that McMillon will see the field a solid amount during the 2023 season.


Shadarian Harrison — 6-foot-1, 175-pound cornerback

Cruce Brookins — 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety

Jesse Anderson — 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback

All three of Pitt’s defensive backs in the class of 2023 finished out their high school careers before arriving at Pitt this summer, but Brookins being a WPIAL kid has certainly allowed him to be around the team a lot more than most incoming recruits.

With a deep cornerbacks’ depth chart, I wouldn’t expect much from Harrison or Anderson in the 2023 season, but Harrison especially is someone to watch going forward. He’s a long, lanky corner with rich Florida high school tradition.

Brookins is also kind of gridlocked by the safeties ahead of him, but he’s the kind of athlete who could follow the Steph Hall timeline of eventually contributing in the system.

Defensive Line


Todd Hill — 5-foot-10, 240-pound hybrid

Hill transferred from Duquesne to Pitt in the spring, and while he arrived as a linebacker, he’s going to fill that hybrid type of role. He’s a very stout 240, and he excelled in rushing the passer last season with the Dukes.

He’s the kind of Money linebacker who should be able to wreak havoc off the edge in certain packages.


Maverick Gracio — 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end

Antonio Camon — 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end

Isaiah Neal — 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive lineman

Neal arrived on campus in January and immediately impressed his coaches and teammates alike. He’s wearing No. 97, the first to do so since Jalen Twyman. That isn’t lost upon me. He may not make an impact in 2023, but he has all the makings of a future team captain.

Camon and Gracio didn’t arrive until the summer, but the pair have interesting pass rushing chops. Camon is an inside-outside threat who is able to win with his strength and ability to get off the line quickly. Gracio is the picture of a Pitt edge rusher, and he will benefit from spending time growing in Pitt’s system.



Jordan Bass — 6-foot-4, 215-pound linebacker

Rasheem Biles — 6-foot-1, 195-pound linebacker

Braylan Lovelace — 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker

This is a linebacker class that could seriously change the defense going forward.

Only Lovelace was around for spring ball, and he made it count. He was Pat Narduzzi’s choice as the best early enrollee throughout the spring. He should immediately serve as the No. 2 Star linebacker entering the season.

Bass has all the tools to be a game-changer in Pitt’s defense. He’s huge, he’s athletic and he’s earned rave reviews from all those who have seen him play. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make an impact this season.

Biles had his senior campaign disrupted by an injury, but he’s healthy and will benefit from spending time growing within the system.

Offensive Line


Jackson Brown — 6-foot-6, 305-pound offensive tackle

Pitt was close to landing Brown during his initial commitment, but he decided to stay close to home at Cal. He spent one season at Cal, playing sparingly, before deciding to enter the portal. He committed to Pitt soon after.

Brown, the son of the late Tony Brown, provides a big presence on the outside, and he should figure into the tackle rotation as he adjusts to the system.


BJ Williams — 6-foot-3, 315-pound interior offensive lineman

Tai Ray — 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive tackle

Ryan Carretta — 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman

Williams arrived in January, and Jake Kradel immediately took Williams under his wing. Williams is destined for the interior, either center or guard, but he spent a lot of time at center in the spring. He could be a surprise early contributor.

Ray is a massive presence from a hard-nosed Apopka program in Florida. He has the kind of aggression and athleticism to make an impact at either tackle spot. I don’t know a whole bunch about Carretta, who arrived this summer, but he picked Pitt over a lot of good programs. I’m excited to see him live this summer.

Special Teams


Jeff Yurk — 6-foot-1, 215-pound punter

Yurk is not on scholarship, but he is competing with Caleb Junko for Pitt’s starting punter gig. He appears to be a step behind Junko, but that could change through the summer.


Sam Carpenter — 5-foot-10, 160-pound kicker

Franco Fernandez-Enjo — 5-foot-10, 160-pound kicker

5-foot-10, 160-pound kicker

Carpenter is likely Pitt’s backup kicker this season. He won’t play over Ben Sauls, obviously, but he should have the edge over walk-on Fernandez-Enjo.



Phil Jurkovec — 6-foot-5, 235-pound quarterback

Christian Veilleux — 6-foot-4, 220-pound quarterback

Here are QB1 and QB2. Jurkovec doesn’t need much introduction at this point, the prodigal son returning home to lead his hometown team for one last season. And the Penn State transfer who came in with a mindset to start right out the gate.

These two are the present and future of Pitt’s quarterbacks room.


Ty Dieffenbach — 6-foot-6, 210-pound quarterback

Dieffenbach is a very big quarterback with a very big arm, but he’s raw. He’s still pretty new to playing quarterback, so he has a lot of growing to do in Pitt’s system. He will be QB4 this season.

Running Back


Derrick Davis Jr. — 6-foot, 210-pound running back

Davis received a trial run at running back to end his sophomore season at LSU, earning some carries against UAB and Purdue, and he’s arrived at Pitt as a full-time running back.

Andre Powell said that Davis still has a lot to learn back in the spring, which makes sense as he adjusts to a new position, but he’s a load at 210 pounds and very athletic. I’d expect Davis’ role to increase as the season wears on.


TJ Harvison — 6-foot-1, 190-pound running back

Montravius Lloyd — 5-foot-10, 185-pound running back

Harvison is another early enrollee who benefited from working throughout the spring with his position mates. He’s a big, physical back who is now learning what it takes to be a college football player. I think he’ll be a good one given time.

Lloyd just arrived on campus over the summer, so he’s still new to the program, but he’s the kind of running back that fits the modern game. He was a running back as a junior at Lakewood High and a wide receiver as a senior. He’s an elusive back with excellent hands. Teams always need a guy like that.

Tight End


Malcolm Epps — 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end

It’s Epps’ last stop at the college level, and after an up-and-down college career, he’s in a good spot to end his career. He doesn’t have to be the guy in a deep tight ends room, but he does open up added wrinkles in the offense.

With his versatility playing inline and out wide, he should open further opportunities for Gavin Bartholomew and Karter Johnson — and prove to himself that he’s not just a big red-zone threat.

Wide Receiver


Daejon Reynolds — 6-foot-2, 210-pound wide receiver

Reynolds was never really featured in Florida’s offense, but when he was given the opportunity (eight catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns against Vanderbilt), he made it count. People can say it’s just Vandy, but Reynolds is a big body and possesses contested catch ability.

We will see if he can put that to use in Pitt’s offensive scheme as the No. 3 wideout.


Zion Fowler — 6-foot, 190-pound wide receiver

Izzy Polk — 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver

Kenny Johnson — 6-foot-1, 195-pound wide receiver

Lamar Seymore — 6-foot-1, 185-pound wide receiver

Here’s an interesting unit. With the inexperience in the wide receivers room, there’s a very good chance one or two true freshmen wideouts make a serious impact on the 2023 season.

Polk and Seymore both impressed during the spring session, emerging — right now — as the No. 4 and 5 wide receivers on the roster. I’m looking forward to watching the progression from both during the summer. A lot to like here.

Johnson and Fowler are recent arrivals, but both offer their own pluses. Johnson dominated the Big 33 game earlier this summer, and Fowler is an explosive athlete who is a true jump ball winner.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
1 Comment
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

A nice overview of the newcomers. Thank you.

Get PSN in your inbox!

Enter your email and get all of our posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Like Pittsburgh Sports Now on Facebook!
Send this to a friend