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Spring Bowl Update: Late Night Trade and Rodney Hammond Jr. Status

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Pitt running back Rodney Hammond Jr. / Spring Game.

It’s almost time for the conclusion of the Pitt spring season.

In just under 24 hours, Pitt will kick off its 2024 Blue-Gold Spring Game, and no matter what, Pitt is going to win. Okay, bad jokes aside, there have been a couple of alterations to the teams ahead of Saturday’s game.

There are six players who are going to be a game-time decision, and there are 18 players who were ruled out when Pitt conducted its Blue-Gold draft Wednesday afternoon at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Rodney Hammond Jr. was among those who were listed as INJ/OUT, but Pat Narduzzi announced Thursday that Hammond will suit up — in a red non-contact jersey.

“And I think we’re going to put Rodney Hammond in a red jersey as well to get him — you know, can’t get tackled, but at least get him involved a bit so he’s not bored on the sideline,” Narduzzi said.

The Blue team drafted Desmond Reid, Montravius Lloyd and Derrick Davis Jr. (who is listed as probable), so it’s a pretty loaded room. Hammond is a little banged up, but it will be good to get his legs under him one more time this spring.

There was also a little trade that took place Wednesday night, long after the draft concluded.

Nick Lapi was moved from the Blue team to the Gold team in exchange for Isaiah Neal playing on both the Blue and Gold teams. It’s a move that worked out well for both sides.

“I just kind of looked and said we had enough guys each and wanted to get the best 11 on the field that we can,” Narduzzi said. “Nick Lapi moved over from the Gold to the Blue, so there’s one roster change that we moved. Isaiah Neal will play on both teams as part of the trade. It was a late-night trade.”

Lapi joins a Blue team linebacking corps that features Rasheem Biles and Abe Ibrahim on the outside. For Neal, it’s an opportunity to recoup some of the snaps he’s missed throughout the spring.

“(Neal’s) been a little bit banged up during the spring, and we wanted to make sure we’ve got enough guys,” Narduzzi said. “He might be a guy that will have two different jerseys on. We’ll probably have about four or five guys that will have another jersey in case we need them.

“Nigel Maynard will be another guy, just if something happens on one side, we can get him over there and we’re not looking like a ragtag football team out there with different color jerseys. But we’re going to give Isaiah more reps because he didn’t have as many as we’d like to this spring. He’s a good football player.”

So, it appears as though there are a handful of players who will be able to play on both the Blue and Gold teams if the need arises.

The spring game is scheduled to kick off at Acrisure Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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