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New Pitt LB Jeremiah Marcelin Hopes to Channel SirVocea Dennis

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Pitt linebacker Jeremiah Marcelin.

Jeremiah Marcelin has always been pretty tall, standing at 6-foot-2, and he’s always had a nose for the football. He wasn’t exactly “big,” per se, but he was big enough to line up on the defensive line and get after opposing quarterbacks.

He’s always been good at it. Nonetheless, his high school coach came to him during his sophomore season at Norland with an idea. How about taking a crack at linebacker? It would add versatility to his game while still allowing him to make splash plays in the backfield. It just meant more responsibility serving as a middle linebacker.

Marcelin trusted his coach, so he thought, ‘Why not?’ It was a learning curve to drop back as a linebacker, but it was a natural fit.

So much so that when college teams came knocking, the offers weren’t far behind. He picked up offers from the likes of Auburn, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Ole Miss, Pitt, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCF and West Virginia.

Marcelin initially committed to Pitt last summer, following his official visits, but when Signing Day rolled around in December, it came down to Maryland and Pitt.

He picked Pitt, stayed true to his initial commitment and now he’s in Pittsburgh learning the defensive playbook.

Marcelin — a 6-foot-2, 238-pound linebacker from Norland in Miami — is a big, physical linebacker who would fit either Mike or Money in the Pitt defensive scheme, and it just so happens that — even before he picked up an offer from Pitt — he grew familiar with a Panthers star.

“When I first started watching Pitt defense, SirVocea Dennis,” Marcelin said last week at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “He stood out to me a lot — watching him play, how fast, how twitchy, how aggressive he was, it was something that I embody. It was something that I felt like I wanted to do and could do.

“As the Mike, you’re the leader on the defense. So, that starts with just knowing the defense in and out, and being able to lead the other guys, just winning games, causing turnovers, just making plays on that side of the ball. So, I just feel like how I’d fit into the leadership standpoint.”

Dennis was a standout Mike linebacker at Pitt, an All-ACC, All-American Mike who went on to be selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2023 NFL Draft, and it’s lofty praise to be compared to a player of his caliber. Dennis was a cerebral player who consistently found himself in the right place at the right time and a team captain.

Marcelin is a little bit bigger than Dennis, but like his predecessor, he has a nose for the football and a knack for putting himself in a position to make plays. It’s exactly the type of defense that he saw himself being able to thrive in.

“Their defensive is real aggressive, TFLs, getting sacks, causing turnovers, that’s what get you paid, so that was a bring thing that brought me here,” Marcelin said. 

He flashed a little bit of everything as a senior. Marcelin was extremely impactful on a very good Norland squad, racking up 65 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles and a recovery — putting up massive numbers as a junior, too. He looked like a man playing against boys at times.

It remains to be seen exactly where Marcelin will wind up in the linebacking corps, but it appears there’s a good chance he’s being groomed to play Mike. He’s used to it, and he’s heard a lot from Brandon George since he arrived — and well before.

George, who is one of the two true Mike linebackers on the roster entering the 2024 season, was a big piece in Marcelin’s unofficial and official visits. B-George, as he’s known, has been helping him with the playbook, honing in his attention to detail and even just adapting to life in a new city.

If there’s one thing that Marcelin wants to make sure he’s accomplished by the end of spring, it’s learning the playbook. That’s his top priority.

“If you know what you’re doing you can play faster, if you can play faster, you can make plays,” Marcelin said. 

And it’s not just George who Marcelin is familiar with either. He’s built a bond with the fellow early enrollees, but he’s known a fellow Floridian since their days sharing the field in high school.

“Me and Sincere (Edwards) actually played each twice for preseason — one for a spring game and one for a preseason game,” Marcelin said. “We both were making plays for both of our teams, and it was just like, ‘Who is that guy?’ And the same energy was reciprocated. So, from there, we just built a relationship. I committed before him, and when he recommitted from UCF and Pitt was in the mix, I kinda just hit him up, like, ‘Are we doing this?’”

Marcelin and Edwards, two of the newest Florida-to-Pitt pipeline products, are part of the future. They’ll be expected to contribute if not this season, then next. But the current plan is just to come into spring, work hard and see where they are after 15 practices.

Marcelin has already packed on 13 pounds since arriving in Pittsburgh, jumping from 225 to 238, and he’ll be able to better tell what his playing weight will be after the spring. He has a lot he wants to figure out this spring.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Tom D
Tom D
1 month ago

This kid absolutely needs to be starting in the middle come August. Pitt hasn’t had a replacement or Voc since he left.

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