Pitt loads up on quarterbacks after transfers
PITTSBURGH (AP) — After losing a pair of quarterbacks over the last month to transfers, Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson replenished their ranks at football’s most important position on Wednesday, as two of Pitt’s 15 early signees are quarterbacks.
Freshman Kenny Pickett started the team’s final game against Miami on Nov. 24, a 24-14 upset of the then-No. 2 Hurricanes, and seems to be the team’s answer as a starter going forward.
That prompted the December transfers of redshirt sophomore Ben DiNucci and redshirt freshman Thomas MacVittie, leaving the Panthers with just one scholarship quarterback. Pitt signed Nick Patti from St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey, and Ricky Town from Ventura (California) College.
Patti will arrive in the summer, while Town will be a midyear enrollee to help boost the number of available arms for Pitt’s offseason workouts and practices. Town was a late addition to Pitt’s class, giving the team his verbal commitment just this week.
“We really didn’t think we were going to lose two quarterbacks,” Narduzzi said. “We thought it was just going to be one. . Coach Watson did a heck of a job.”
Town was enrolled at both Southern California and Arkansas before landing at Ventura and was highly recruited coming out of high school, but Pitt was able to land the passer by selling him on competition.
“The best is going to play,” Watson said. “When you’re a guy like Kenny, you want that. You want competition. If you don’t have competition at quarterback, your team doesn’t have a chance.”
The rest of Pitt’s early signees featured a focus up front, as Pitt inked five defensive linemen and three offensive linemen. Local products Devin Danielson, David Green and Noah Palmer were joined by Ohio’s Tyler Bentley and Maryland’s John Morgan on defense, while local offensive linemen Jake Kradel and Blake Zubovic will come along with junior college transfer Chase Brown, who has an opportunity to start at tackle in 2018.
Pitt also signed Virginia linebacker Wendell Davis, Maryland defensive back Judson Tallandier II, Florida defensive backs V’Lique Carter and Marquis Williams and Alabama wide receiver Cameron O’Neil.