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Pitt Adds New Defensive Graduate Assistant to Staff

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A Pitt football lays on the turf on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now.) College Football / Signing Period. NCAA.

Pitt needed to replace former defensive graduate assistant Malcolm Robinson after he took the outside linebackers’ job at Kent State, and the Panthers found their man.

TJ Minnifee announced Monday afternoon that he will join the Pitt coaching staff for the 2024-25 season on social media. He will serve as a defensive graduate assistant, working with the defensive ends.

Minnifee — who played his college ball at Tennessee and UT-Martin from 2017-21 — has spent the past two seasons as a grad assistant at UT-Martin.

Minnifee joined the UT-Martin staff following the conclusion of his four seasons as a Skyhawk, and he initially worked with the linebackers and special teams unit before spending last season with the tight ends.

He played in one game during his time at UT-Martin after walking on at Tennessee in the class of 2017.

Minnifee will now be tasked with helping defensive line coach Tim Daoust turn the defensive line around. It was a tough season, and while there’s a lot of youth, there’s some good potential.

Nate Matlack wound up being a significant winter pickup. He’s a Day 1 starter with experience and potential. Seeing him put together the season many expected Dayon Hayes to have wouldn’t be surprising. There are a lot of questions outside of Matlack though.

Bam Brima is an experienced rotation player but isn’t a difference-maker. Sincere Edwards looks like a future star off the edge, but he hasn’t played a snap of college football yet. Jimmy Scott and David Ojiegbe are both firmly in the mix.

It’s just hard to bet solely on potential.

Chief Borders brings a mixture of potential and expectation. He was sought after in the portal, visiting UCLA the week before committing to Pitt, sure, but he will be able to play in a scheme that better fits his style of play. He played as more of a stand-up linebacker at Nebraska; he’ll be able to rush the quarterback off the edge in Pittsburgh.

Pitt has four grad assistants now, Jacob Floyd and Chris Russell on the offensive side of the ball and Minnifee and Edward Warinner on the defensive side of the ball.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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