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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Pittsburgh
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  Just weeks after Jared Wayne, Pitt's leading receiver in 2022, declared for the 2023 NFL draft, the Panthers have already found his likely replacement in the starting lineup. After extending offers to numerous pass catchers in the transfer portal this winter, Pat Narduzzi's team landed a Power Five receiver this week, as former Florida wideout Daejon Reynolds announced his commitment to Pitt on Friday evening. Reynolds, who measures at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, comes to the Panthers with three years of eligibility remaining. A former four-star recruit out of Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., Reynolds committed to Florida over other notable programs like Texas A&M, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida State.

After redshirting his first season on campus, Reynolds caught 11 passes for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns in eight games this fall for the Gators. His best game of the year came on Nov. 19 against Vanderbilt, where he hauled in eight passes for 165 yards and scored both of his touchdowns at the collegiate level. Reynolds also received offers from Mississippi State and West Virginia. He visited Pitt on Jan. 7, where he was seen courtside with Narduzzi prior to the start of the Panthers' basketball game against Clemson. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


rSo/2026 WR Daejon ReynoldsPittsburgh
News Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette
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  Gateway graduate Derrick Davis Jr. on Tuesday said Pitt is it. A former LSU player, Davis Tweeted his decision in the early afternoon that he would continue his football career with the Panthers. "Let's Get to it!" Davis said as he expressed his excitement with his decision. Davis last month announced he would enter the NCAA's transfer portal after two seasons with the Tigers. He visited Pitt over the weekend. Recruited as a safety, Davis moved to running back at LSU this fall.

The 6-foot, 210-pounder appeared in just four games as a sophomore this past season and preserved his redshirt. He tallied a pair of tackles in the Tigers' win over New Mexico on Sept. 24 as well as two tackles against Southern University two weeks earlier. On offense, Davis recorded 28 yards on five carries in LSU's 41-10 victory over UAB in the home finale Nov. 19. In the Citrus Bowl against Purdue, Davis ran six times for 29 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers' 63-7 rout. In 2021, Davis saw action in 12 games and made his collegiate debut against UCLA. The majority of his time was on special teams. - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Jr/2025 SS Derrick Davis Jr.Pittsburgh
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  Pitt senior defensive end Haba Baldonado officially announced that he would be entering the 2023 NFL Draft. Due to the extra year created by COVID, Baldonado had the opportunity to return for another season. In four seasons on Charlie Partridge’s defensive line, Baldonado developed and got better every season, as he finished his Pitt career with 98 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, a forced fumble, two recoveries and two pass breakups.

He earned All-ACC honors in 2021, when he compiled 41 tackles, nine sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Baldonado has the size, physical tools, football IQ and leadership to be the next Pitt defensive end to make the jump to the next level and succeed. This announcement didn’t come as much of a surprise considering Baldonado had already accepted an invite to play in the East-West Shrine Game. The Feb. 2, 2023 game will be played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada in front of NFL front office members, coaches and scouts. - Pittsburgh Sports Now


rSr/2023 DE Habakkuk BaldonadoPittsburgh
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  Another standout player from Pat Narduzzi's 2022 roster is chasing his dream at the next level. Senior receiver Jared Wayne announced Friday afternoon that he, like many of his teammates, has declared for the 2023 NFL draft. Wayne was a steady presence in Pitt's passing attack last fall, catching 60 balls for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns, earning him second-team All-ACC honors. His 1,000-yard season was just the 11th in program history.

"The process of making this decision hasn't been easy but is ultimately what I feel is best for my career," Wayne said via his social media announcement. "I've had a lifelong goal of playing in the NFL and it's time to pursue that." Wayne's biggest performance in 2022 came against Miami, when he hauled in 11 passes for 205 yards and three scores. He was also a key target for the Panthers in 2021, snagging 47 catches for 658 yards and six touchdowns to help Pitt capture its first ACC title. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


Sr/2023 WR Jared WaynePittsburgh
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  Ben Sauls booted five field goals, including a 47-yarder with seconds to play, to lift Pitt to a 37-35 win over No. 18 UCLA in a back-and-forth Sun Bowl. The Panthers (9-4), playing without five starters who opted out of the game, took advantage of five UCLA turnovers, including four interceptions. UCLA (9-4) scored what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown on an 8-yard run by T.J. Harden with 34 seconds remaining. That capped a drive that started at the UCLA 25-yard line with less than two minutes left, and was keyed by a 34-yard run by Harden. Pitt quarterback Nick Patti got completions of 18 and 17 yards to Jared Wayne and Bub Means on the ensuing drive. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Patti scrambled for 11 yards to the UCLA 29-yard line. After another spike with 10 seconds left, Sauls came on to kick the game-winner, which sailed through the uprights with just four seconds remaining.

Sophomore Rodney Hammond Jr. rushed for 89 yards and two scores to lead the Panthers, who were without running back Israel Abanikanda, the nation's leader in total TDs with 22. The Bruins, who had led 21-14 at the half, played without star senior running back Zach Charbonnet. UCLA senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was injured and didn't return to the game after throwing an interception early in the fourth quarter, threw for 271 yards on 16 of 24 passing with three interceptions. Backup Ethan Garbers also threw an interception on the game's final play. Pitt got picks from Tylar Wiltz, Javon McIntyre, Bengally Kamara and M.J. Devonshire, and added a fumble recovery on a kickoff from Solomon DeShields. - Pittsburgh/AP College Football


rJr/2025 K Ben SaulsPittsburgh
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  Five more Pitt players announced via Twitter on Monday morning that they will forego the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft, and all of them were starters. Running back Israel Abanikanda, offensive tackle Gabe Houy, offensive tackle Carter Warren, linebacker SirVocea Dennis and defensive end Deslin Alexandre all took to social media to announce their decisions to skip the game. They joined both unanimous All-American defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, and safety Brandon Hill, who earned an All-ACC honorable mention, as Pitt starters who have announced they would skip the Sun Bowl but not enter the transfer portal.

Hill's announcement indicated his intentions to declare for the NFL draft, while Kancey's announcement was purely that he wouldn't be able to play due to injury. As of Monday, Kancey hasn't declared for the draft, even though he's a nationally recognized product who's moved up draft boards with a strong season. Abanikanda led the ACC with 1,431 rushing yards to earn first team All-ACC honors and led the country with 21 total touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound junior out of Brooklyn, N.Y., was the focal point of the Panthers' offense throughout the season. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


Jr/2023 RB *Israel AbanikandaPittsburgh
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  As the Pitt defense takes the field at Sun Bowl Stadium against No. 18 UCLA on Friday, Dec. 30, it will do so without another key player. Redshirt junior safety Brandon Hill announced Saturday afternoon he will not be playing for the Panthers in the bowl game in order to begin his preparation for the 2023 NFL draft. "After many prayers and discussions with my mother, I have decided to forego the upcoming bowl game so I can begin my focus and training for the 2023 NFL Draft," Hill said via social media. "It's time for this dream of mine to become true! Thank you Panther Nation!"

Hill ends his time at Pitt having started games in each of his three full seasons. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defensive back earned second-team All-ACC honors on the Panthers' ACC championship-winning defense in 2021. He followed it up with Honorable Mention All-ACC recognition this fall. Hill tallied 172 career tackles at Pitt, along with 12 passes defended, three interceptions, a pair of fumble recoveries and scored a pair of touchdowns. He is now the third starter on the Pitt defense who won't be playing in the Sun Bowl. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


Jr/2023 SS *Brandon HillPittsburgh
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  2022 WALTER CAMP FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICAN: DL Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh,...The 6-foot, 280-pound junior defensive tackle compiled 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 11 games played this season. His average of 1.32 TFLs per game ranks 16th nationally and first among the nation's interior defenders. - Pittsburgh Football

Jr/2023 DT *Calijah KanceyPittsburgh
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  2022 OUTLAND TROPHY FINALIST (OUTSTANDING INTERIOR LINEMAN): Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh,...In addition to the Outland, Kancey is also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented to the nation's top defensive player. He is the only player selected a finalist for both the Nagurski and Outland honors by the FWAA. Kancey is the first Pitt player to be named a finalist for the Outland Trophy since 2013, when defensive tackle Aaron Donald became the Panthers' second winner of the coveted award. (Donald also won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy that season.) Pitt's initial Outland Trophy winner was offensive tackle Mark May in 1980. The 6-foot, 280-pound Kancey (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern) has been one of college football's most dominant players regardless of position this season. He compiled 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 11 games played. - Pittsburgh Football

Jr/2023 DT *Calijah KanceyPittsburgh
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  Phil Jurkovec, Boston College quarterback and former Pine-Richland High School star, entered the transfer portal Friday and has an interest in possibly coming to Pitt. But he said a number of other schools also had contacted him. Jurkovec spent the past three seasons at Boston College after transferring from Notre Dame. He has an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19. "It's not like I'm that close to a decision yet," Jurkovec said. Jurkovec said he has heard from Power Five conference schools, as well as colleges from smaller conferences. "I really liked Boston College, but it just wasn't the right situation for me right now," Jurkovec said. "There are no hard feelings. Coach [Jeff] Hafley wishes me the best and he's trying to help me out. I'm not leaning one way or another. I have to take in all the information right now."

Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. was Boston College's offensive coordinator for Jurkovec's first two seasons at Boston College. Whether Jurkovec ends up at Pitt might hinge on whether Kedon Slovis uses his final year of eligibility at Pitt, transfers elsewhere or turns to the NFL. "In regards to Pitt, I really like coach Cignetti because of the past. That's a huge draw," Jurkovec said. "Coach [Pat] Narduzzi always has been good to me, too. I'm very interested in Pitt, but we'll see how this plays out and what exactly is the situation at Pitt." - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


rSr/2024 QB Phil JurkovecPittsburgh
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  Pittsburgh defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year, will miss the team's bowl game due to injury. Kancey, a junior, made the announcement in an Instagram post on Friday. Kancey sustained an injury in the second half of a win over Duke on Nov. 19 and did not travel with the team for a victory at Miami on Nov. 26. "Thanks to the best trainers in the country at Pitt," Kancey said. "I know they will help me get back to 100% soon." Kancey collected 7 1/2 sacks and 14 1/2 tackles for a loss in 11 games this season for the Panthers (8-4).

He is the first Pitt player to win the conference's highest defensive honor since Aaron Donald in 2013. The 6-foot-1, 280-pound player has been coy about his intentions next year, though the Miami native likely has worked himself up NFL draft boards over the last three months. Kancey did say he plans to help teammates prepare for whatever bowl they might be headed to. Pitt did not defend the ACC title it won a year ago but finished strong, winning four straight to end the season to come in second to North Carolina in the ACC's Coastal Division. - AP College Football


Jr/2023 DT *Calijah KanceyPittsburgh
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  2022 ALL-ACC FOOTBALL HONORABLE MENTION: DE - Deslin Alexandre, Pitt, 19 votes,...In addition to his second-team specialist nod, Devonshire received Honorable Mention at cornerback. Other Panthers receiving Honorable Mention include defensive end Deslin Alexandre, safety Brandon Hill and cornerback Marquis Williams. - Pittsburgh Football

rSr/2023 DE Deslin AlexandrePittsburgh
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  2022 ALL-ACC FOOTBALL HONORABLE MENTION: CB - M.J. Devonshire, Pitt, 33 votes,...In addition to his second-team specialist nod, Devonshire received Honorable Mention at cornerback. Other Panthers receiving Honorable Mention include defensive end Deslin Alexandre, safety Brandon Hill and cornerback Marquis Williams. - Pittsburgh Football

rSr/2024 CB M.J. DevonshirePittsburgh
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  2022 ALL-ACC FOOTBALL HONORABLE MENTION: C - Jake Kradel, Pitt, 21 votes,...The versatile Jake Kradel, who split his 12 starts between two different positions, earned third team All-ACC at guard and was an Honorable Mention center. - Pittsburgh Football

rSr/2023 OG Jake KradelPittsburgh
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  2022 ALL-ACC FOOTBALL THIRD TEAM: OG - Jake Kradel, Pitt, 50 votes,...The versatile Jake Kradel, who split his 12 starts between two different positions, earned third team All-ACC at guard and was an Honorable Mention center. - Pittsburgh Football

rSr/2023 OG Jake KradelPittsburgh
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