In the modern age of college football, when NIL and the transfer portal have changed the sport forever, the recruiting never ends — not even when a Pitt player is signed with a program.
Gavin Bartholomew, a rising senior tight end from Schuylkill Haven, Pa., announced that he’s returning to Pitt for his final season of college eligibility amid interest from a number of major college football programs.
It’s a massive return for perhaps the best offensive playmaker on the Pitt roster — a player to build around in the 2024 season.
“After thoughtful consideration, I’ve made the decision to return to the University of Pittsburgh for my last year of eligibility. Excited to be an @Alliance_412 athlete for another year,” Bartholomew wrote on Twitter.
After thoughtful consideration, I’ve made the decision to return to the University of Pittsburgh for my last year of eligibility. Excited to be an @Alliance_412 athlete for another year. #H2P🟡🔵 pic.twitter.com/uDEGlE5HJq
— Gavin Bartholomew (@GavinBartholom6) December 1, 2023
It wasn’t the easiest season for Bartholomew, who did not receive a target in two of the final three games he played in 2023 — missing the final two games of the season after picking up a lower-body injury against Syracuse at Yankee Stadium in November.
Bartholomew recorded 18 receptions for 326 yards (18.1 yards per catch) with a touchdown in 2023 on the way to All-ACC honorable mention honors. He had the highest reception percentage (66.7%), and he made 3-of-4 contested catches with just a single drop.
In three seasons at Pitt, Bartholomew has recorded 67 receptions for 935 yards (14.0 yards per reception) and seven touchdowns — thriving despite a serious disconnect between Bartholomew and the assortment of quarterbacks throwing the ball his way.
Bartholomew’s return, along with Karter Johnson, paves the way for what should be a productive tight ends room for the new offensive coordinator and whoever is playing quarterback at Pitt next season.
After a season in which many thought Bartholomew would not return to Pitt for his final season, his return is a massive win for the coaching staff and for the Panthers’ NIL efforts.