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Campbell: Pitt Should Use Final Scholarship on Walk-On WR Jake McConnachie



Pitt football wide receiver Jake McConnachie

One walk-on for Pitt football that has starred this preseason is redshirt junior wide receiver Jake McConnachie.

McConnachie hails from Verona, N.J. and played for Verona High School. He starred as a senior, making 46 catches for 1,012 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019, while also leading his team to a 12-0 record and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North1/North 2 Group 2 regional championship.

Throughout spring practice and now in the weeks leading up to the 2023 season, McConnachie has shown his talents and his growth as a player heading into his fourth season as a Panther.

The team twitter account has also posted two McConnachie highlights recently as well. Both feature him catching passes from starting redshirt senior quarterback Phil Jurkovec, with the first one a great catch over redshirt sophomore defensive back Stephon Hall.

McConnachie is the tallest wide receiver on the Pitt roster, standing at 6-foot-5, and also the biggest at 205 pounds. He uses his height to take on smaller opponents and make great catches, like he did against Hall. McConnachie is also a threat in the end zone, using that height and great leaping ability to rise above those below him to make a catch.

Pitt offered scholarships to two walk-ons this week to redshirt sophomores in linebacker Nick Lapi and punter Caleb Junko. As of Thursday, Pitt has one scholarship left to offer with 84 of the 85 spots already taken ahead of the season.

Out of all the walk-on players I’ve seen this camp, McConnachie is the most deserving of that final scholarship.

He hasn’t played much as a walk-0n at Pitt, only playing sparingly on special teams in 2022, but his experience on this team is incredibly valuable.

McConnachie, along with fellow walk-on in redshirt senior Josh Junko, are the only two wide receivers who were on that 2021 ACC Championship team. His experience with that team, as well as being in the same group as former Biletnikoff Award winner and 2023 Minnesota Vikings’ First Round Draft pick, Jordan Addison, no doubt played a role in his development as a wideout.

Much of the interest for the Panthers wide receiver group has gone to other talented players. This includes the four freshmen in Kenny Johnson, Israel Polk, Zion Fowler-El and Lamar Seymore, redshirt senior Bub Means, junior Konata Mumpfield and Florida transfer in redshirt sophomore Daejon Reynolds.

There isn’t anything wrong with that interest and praise, but it seems odd that McConnachie has been shown love on the Pitt football official Twitter account and still is a walk-on.

Now, there is time left to offer him that final scholarship either after practice on Thursday or at the team luncheon on Friday, so maybe I’m overreacting somewhat. Still, the talent and physical attributes that McConnachie possesses make him not only a worthy scholarship player, but a great option at wide receiver for the Panthers going into this season.

Joining Pitt as a preferred walk-on in 2020, McConnachie has seen many great moments for this program during his time. It’s now time to not just see those moments from the sideline but contribute on the field for what is looking like a solid Pitt team this season.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 month ago

All good points so fully agree. I don’t know why the kid has not been utilized for goal line passes as he is a matchup nightmare for opposing DB’s. Good hands and solid body control to go with his 6′ 5″ height advantage. Perhaps this is the year for him and also Epp’s near the goal line (especially when defenses stack the box to stop the run).

1 month ago
Reply to  Giovanni

Both comments make a great point,rather refreshing to read instead of the stupid posts (especially the STATE PENNERS) that make this whole comment section worthwhile to read and enjoy. Hope the kid gets the scholarship.Either love PItt sports or don’t read. It’s usually very informative stuff that average fans don’t know about. Keep up the good work!

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