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LOOK: Pitt Football Visits Families at UPMC Children’s Hospital

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Pitt football players Nate Yarnell and Brandon George

If there’s been a constant during the Pat Narduzzi era in Pittsburgh, it’s Pitt football giving back to the local community.

Since NIL was legalized in college athletics, Pitt has been using the platform to give back. But even outside of NIL opportunities, the entire Pitt football team has made sure to maintain a presence in the community.

That continued recently as Nate Yarnell and Brandon George made a trip to the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to spend time with the families.

The visits to UPMC Children’s have been constant, but the support hasn’t ended there. Cal Adomitis, a former Pitt long snapper and Pittsburgh native, raised over $115,000 for UPMC Children’s in 2021.

The veteran Pitt players have been giving back for years and now it’s Yarnell and George doing so.

Yarnell put together a consistent spring. He’s emerged as a leader in the locker room, voted as the best teammate by his peers, and his play on the field Saturday only reinforced his standing amongst his peers. It was remarkable to Narduzzi that this spring was the first season that Yarnell received first-team reps.

“This is the first opportunity he’s had since he’s been here to get reps with the ones, and to me, that’s the most impressive thing,” Narduzzi said in the spring. “He just keeps learning. He’ll have this offense mastered by the end of summer camp.”

Yarnell — a 6-foot-6, 215-pound redshirt junior from Austin, Tx. — started two games last season. And in those two starts, against Boston College and Duke, he completed 36-of-54 pass attempts (66.7%) for 472 yards with four touchdowns (one rushing) and one interception. He’s entering the summer as the starting quarterback.

George has played in 51 games during his time at Pitt. If you take out the 2022 season, in which he only played three games, he’s been a mainstay in the lineup. Every game in 2020, 2021 and 2023. He missed the first two games of his true freshman season in 2019 and then dressed for the final 11. He’s been a constant.

In a backup role for Pitt last season, playing in all 12 games, he racked up 49 tackles (24 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one interception in 296 defensive snaps — rated as a top Pitt defender. And he has recorded 112 tackles (60 solo), 11 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and two pass breakups in his Pitt career.

The Pitt coaching staff remained on George once he hit the transfer portal in November, Manalac especially (calling pretty much every day just to check in and see where George’s head was), and he felt the love.

It opened up George’s mind to the fact that he — hopefully — made an impact on the Pitt coaching staff and vice versa. So, when he eventually decided that Pitt was where he wanted to be, it was a mutual decision.

“I think it was happy on both accounts,” George said. “I think both of us were ecstatic that I made the decision. I, personally, hated that process while in high school. For lack of a better term, I don’t like people blowing smoke and as many people know that’s a lot of the recruiting aspect of things, telling you what you want to hear. I don’t like that.”

George — a 6-foot-3, 240-pound sixth-year linebacker from Reading, Pa. — is one the veterans at Mike linebacker and a defensive leader.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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