PITTSBURGH — It’s finally here, the 2023 football season has arrived. And with the arrival of a new season, the first Pitt two-deep depth chart has been unveiled.
With Pitt hosting Shawn Watson and Wofford this weekend, a 3:30 p.m. kickoff set at Acrisure Stadium, Pitt enters the 2023 season with high expectations after a summer camp that featured growth from across the roster. All three phases of the team ironed out position battles and areas of perceived weakness.
There are no major surprises offensively, and there are only a few ‘OR’s, but there are some things to note.
Christian Veilleux won the backup quarterback battle by making fewer mistakes than Nate Yarnell, but it’s an ongoing competition. Yarnell is no longer a scout team quarterback. Similarily, it’s C’Bo Flemister or Daniel Carter backing up Rodney Hammond Jr. right now.
Konata Mumpfield, Bub Means and Daejon Reynolds are the starting wide receiver trio, which isn’t surprising, and Kenny Johnson, Zion Fowler-El and Jake McConnachie (freshly on scholarship) are the backups. A nice blend of youth and experience.
Interestingly, it’s Karter Johnson or Malcolm Epps or Jake Renda at tight end behind Gavin Bartholomew. Renda has taken strides this offseason, but I didn’t expect him to get an ‘Or’.
The offensive line is about as expected, except Matt Goncalves flipped over to left tackle and Branson Taylor moved over to the right side, but with Ryan Jacoby’s season-ending injury, it’s opened an opportunity for Jason Collier Jr. at left guard. He’s going to be the Week 1 starter, and after waiting his turn all these years, he has a chance to make an impact.
A healthy Nate Temple earned the starting end spot across from Dayon Hayes, and there’s a lot of depth inside. David Green or Devin Danielson and Deandre Jules or Tyler Bentley. It seems Pitt will rely upon the veterans early. Sean FitzSimmons and Elliot Donald did crack the two-deep, an encouraging sign.
Solomon DeShields and Bangally Kamara are interchangeable at Money and Star, able to flip across the field depending on the opponent or the situation, and Kyle Louis, Braylan Lovelace and Nick Lapi provide young depth outside.
Pitt is rolling four deep at cornerback, with Marquis Williams, M.J. Devonshire and A.J. Woods basically three starters, and Ryland Gandy as that No. 4 on the depth chart.
Javon McIntyre and P.J. O’Brien Jr., as I expected, did enough to earn the starting safety spots.
Ben Sauls will handle placekicking and kickoff duties, Caleb Junko is the punter, Cam Guess will hold and Byron Floyd will snap. Devonshire will continue to serve as Pitt’s punt returner, and Means is the new-look kickoff returner.
Here is the first two-deep depth chart:
We’ve got the first #Pitt two-deep depth chart of the season.
It’s Wofford week. pic.twitter.com/4G7PGPnPnS
— Karl Ludwig (@LudwigKarl8) August 28, 2023