Pitt ran through its final session of the summer Friday morning down at Acrisure Stadium, and it was a particularly good day for walk-on wideout Jake McConnachie.
“Coach Cignetti, anybody in particular show up here today?” Pat Narduzzi shouted out as Pitt took a knee around Narduzzi at the end of practice.
“Yeah, I’ll tell you who, coach, Jake McConnachie,” Cignetti replied, drawing some applause from the huddle. And it only took a second for the mass of Pitt players to look up and see Jake McConnachie flexing on the jumbotron.
It was a similar message, you’re on scholarship!
“This really means the world to me, man,” McConnachie said, after calls for a speech. “My dad passed freshman year, and ever since then, I’ve said by the time of my senior year, I want to be on scholarship and make him proud. So, this is really gonna help out my family.”
Special scholarship moment with the team at @AcrisureStadium today‼️
You EARNED it, @JakeMcConnachie 👏
— Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) August 25, 2023
McConnachie joined the team as a preferred walk-on out of Verona High in New Jersey in 2020, and he waited his turn as he didn’t see the field in 2020 or 2021.
McConnachie took just four offensive snaps last season, two against Virginia and two more against Miami, but he earned a big role on special teams as the season wore on. He recorded 18 special teams snaps, working kick and punt returns.
At 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, McConnachie is a big-bodied wideout (easily the tallest receiver at Pitt), and his size and agility have given him a chance to be utilized this season as a legitimate threat out wide.
The coaching staff likes Jake McConnachie — perhaps even more so than some of the scholarship wide receivers on the roster. He’s someone who has been around the team for a while, put his time in and impressed the coaching staff throughout the spring.
His path is similar to the one carved out by former Pitt wideout Gavin Thomson — before he transferred to UNLV.
McConnachie is the third walk-on to earn a scholarship this week, following Nick Lapi on Tuesday and Caleb Junko on Wednesday. With McConnachie’s scholarship secured, he’s the 85th and final roster player entering the 2023 season.
The 2023 season begins this week as Pitt preps for a Week 1 home kick against Wofford on Sept. 2 at 3:30 p.m.