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A Look Into the Recent Pitt Transfer Additions and Their Impact

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The transfer portal in college athletics is here to stay and isn’t going anywhere, so all programs are going to be impacted by it in some fashion.

But make no mistake about it, both players and teams will try and use it. When talking about the transfer portal, most fans just think of it from the players’ side, but coaches use it to their advantage as well. When they want to free up some scholarships or when they’ve come to a decision that a player is no longer a fit for their team, they’ll ‘encourage’ the player to hit the portal. That sounds rough and probably is, but college football is a business.

Prior to last season, Pitt wasn’t really impacted a ton with the portal, in terms of losing or taking in players. They did lose former Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison a few years back, but other than that, the Panthers have done a really good job of holding on their players.

As far as free agent additions, Pat Narduzzi brought in a number of transfers this past offseason, which was a topic of conversation in his postgame press conference. Narduzzi made headlines when he stated that they didn’t do a good job of replacing the players they lost to the NFL/graduation after the 2022 season.

When examining that statement, Narduzzi has to be referring to the transfers Pitt brought in because no coach is expecting true freshmen to have an immediate impact on their roster. Since they’ve been at a college program for at least a year or two, it’s expected that transfers should be able to come right in and help out. From a team’s perspective, that’s the purpose of the transfer portal. Identify a hole on your roster and try and go out and fill it with an experienced player.

Programs like Pitt don’t have the money to go out and lure most of the top ‘free agent’ players in the portal, so when they do make additions, they need to hit with them more times than not.

Unfortunately, they haven’t done that and that’s part of the reason for their current record of 2-6.

Here are the transfers Pitt has brought in over the last two off-seasons and as you can see, the results have been mixed. Without a doubt, the top addition has been cornerback M.J. Devonshire, who’s been a tremendous addition to the secondary and to the special teams. After not having things work out at Kentucky, Devonshire returned home and has turned himself into an NFL Draft prospect. At the end of the season, he’ll have the option to return to Pitt for one more season or to enter the 2024 NFL Draft.

The other name on this list that looks to be a solid addition is safety Donovan McMillon. Like with Devonshire, McMillon came back home after originally signing with Florida. McMillon is receiving a ton of playing time and has shown a lot of promise, considering it’s his first real year of playing Power 5 football. He’s definitely a player with the talent to be a breakout player in 2024.

As far as the other names, the only other notable addition has been linebacker Shayne Simon (transfer from Notre Dame). Players like Konata Mumpfield, Daejon Reynolds, Malcolm Epps and Karter Johnson look to have some potential but haven’t been able to fully display it because of the struggles with the offense and the offensive coordinator.

The two biggest additions were quarterbacks Phil Jurkovec and Kedon Slovis, both of whom were busts in Pitt’s offense. When it comes to Slovis, his issue looks to have been the coaching and offensive system, as he’s doing just fine now with BYU. The jury is still out on what Christian Veilleux will be able to do in the Pitt offense.

Since the season is over in terms of trying to accomplish preseason goals, it would be smart to try and get Derrick Davis on the field for some meaningful snaps. With upcoming graduation and possible transfers, Davis could have a huge role in the Pitt backfield next season.

If Pitt hopes to turn this around, their transfer evaluation is going to need to be a lot better or the 2023 season might not just be a one-year blip on the radar.

Pitt Transfer Additions Over the Last Two Seasons

Quarterbacks
Phil Jurkovec
Kedon Slovis
Christian Veilleux

Running Backs
Derrick Davis
C’Bo Flemister

Wide Receivers
Bub Means
Konata Mumpfield
Daejon Reynolds

Tight Ends
Malcolm Epps
Karter Johnson
Dylan Deveney

Offensive Lineman
Jackson Brown
Ryan Jacoby

Linebackers
Todd Hill
Shayne Simon
Tyler Wiltz

Defensive Backs
MJ Devonshire
Donovan McMillon

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Sackman
Sackman
8 months ago

Pitt has the $$$ and Rich donars
Its up to AD to raise it this is what you have 7-6 teams every year they did it in 70’s Golden Panthers

Stop making excuses

ArmChairCritic
ArmChairCritic
8 months ago

Nice analysis! Question, is the Transfer Portal in general typically more Offensive players at P5 level or is this just a magnifying glass of fixes needed at PITT with recruiting/retainment as far back as 2019 with Transfers in/out on Offensive.

Panther
Panther
8 months ago

Starts with a coach (new OC that players can respect and they can develop. When/if that happens then all fans need to step up with a donation. Does not need to be much. But some small donation from the average fan will mean a lot.

Michael Roth
Michael Roth
8 months ago
Reply to  Panther

If pitt hires a new OC, I need to make a donation because pitt hired the wrong OC previously? It will go a long way?

I’m not sure I am following your logic. Tell pitt to dip into the billions they have for that money, not prey on alumni who make up boo city.

I was at the debacle in south bend. Believe my time, and money spent, is enough support for the embarrassment the football team put us through.

Actually had pity conversations on the way to the car.

MDTKD
MDTKD
8 months ago

It really is about the WR and QBs along with the whole offensive coaching staff including OL coach. The other transfers and positions have generally been fine.

Panther
Panther
8 months ago
Reply to  MDTKD

Keep Salem. Hardest worker and great recruiter.

Michael Roth
Michael Roth
8 months ago
Reply to  Panther

I can agree about Salem. Don’t think it’s his fault that Bartholomew isn’t being utilized

Zach
Zach
8 months ago

If you want to go back to the 2021 season, Lucas Krull
was here for Kenny’s breakout year of 2021 and he was a key transfer from Florida, even back in the Narduzzi era he did land Taysir Mack from Indiana and probably the last decent QB Pitt landed through the transfer portal, Nate Peterman.

Dixon
Dixon
8 months ago

Looking at the list of transfers, only Jurkovec was a “bust” IMO. Others have had varying degrees of success or have not been given an opportunity (looking at you Frank).
Also, great to see former wpial stars returning home rather than chasing NIL money elsewhere. Good way to add talent to the roster without breaking the bank.

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