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Former Pitt Defensive Back Finds New Home in Transfer Portal

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Pitt defensive back Jahvante Royal and his teammates look on before playing against Virginia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now.)

Jahvante Royal was never able to make it work at Pitt, but he will have the opportunity to do so in the Mountain West Conference over the next two seasons.

Royal — a 6-foot-3, 205-pound defensive back from Miramar, Fla. — committed to New Mexico, the Lobos announced Wednesday. He entered the transfer portal in April and will now have a chance to work into the defensive secondary.

“Let’s welcome to Lobo Family Jahvante Royal,” New Mexico Football wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter). “A Pitt transfer with two years left, Jahvante brings with him 23 games of Division I experience at corner and special teams, including 11 last year.”

Royal arrived as a four-star defensive back out of powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in 2020 but wasn’t ever able to fully assimilate into the lineup — offensively or defensively.

The Pitt coaching staff experimented with Royal’s positional flexibility during the 2022 season, but he was moved back to the defensive side of the ball for the 2023 season. He didn’t take any snaps defensively last season but did take 49 special teams snaps — recording a tackle against Virginia Tech.

Royal recorded 86 special teams snaps during his time at Pitt, and he will have two seasons of eligibility to carve out a role on the defensive side of the ball.

Pitt is in a transitionary period on the backend, with new and inexperienced players looking to breakout.

Ryland Gandy appears to be the guy at cornerback. I feel comfortable penciling him into one of the starting spots. He’s a former top recruit turned special teams ace who stepped into more responsibility as the season wore on.

Rashad Battle is the biggest corner in the room but has suffered season-ending injuries in each of the last two seasons. Tamon Lynum was brought in from Nebraska over the winter, and I think he has a role to play on the back end, but Pitt needed more. Tamarion Crumpley and Noah Biglow have been around for a while.

Jaremiah Anglin Jr. has a good shot to be a Day 1 starter if he can master the playbook. It’s difficult to crack the rotation right off the bat, but Pitt doesn’t bring in another corner if the staff is comfortable with where the unit currently sits.

Royal is just the latest former Panther to find a new home in the transfer portal, joining Dayon Hayes (Colorado), Solomon DeShields (Texas A&M), Christian Veilleux (Georgia State) and Israel Polk (Akron).

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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