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  Two players pushing starters for playing time were named the most improved players during Pitt's spring drills. Running back Izzy Abanikanda and senior outside linebacker John Petrishen (Lower Burrell/Central Catholic) were chosen on both sides of the ball by coach Pat Narduzzi and his staff. The announcement was made Saturday prior to the Blue Gold game at Heinz Field. Abanikanda (5-foot-11, 210 pounds) flashed his speed in the truncated spring drills of 2020, but played sparingly as a freshman, carrying 28 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a touchdown pass in the Boston College game. His playing time was limited as he learned the demands and nuances of playing running back at the collegiate level.

After Narduzzi all but named Vincent Davis his starting running back at the start of spring drills this year, Abanikanda started catching the coach's eyes with improved pass blocking and ball-carrying abilities. Now, there will be intense summer camp competition for Pitt's starting running back job. "Izzy has taken major strides in becoming a complete back," Narduzzi said in a statement. "His ability to run was always apparent. This spring he made excellent progress in his protections and overall assignments. Izzy is really putting it all together and it is exciting to see." - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Jr/2024 RB Israel AbanikandaPittsburgh
News Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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