It kind of snuck up on us a bit, but Pitt's spring practices start today. It doesn't mean that football is right around the corner, but it does mean we can at least begin thinking in earnest about the upcoming season.
The big news, obviously, is that it will be Pitt's first ACC season. As we've previously detailed, it will be a heck of a schedule. So with that out of the way, I put together a list of the five players to watch this spring. There are several more than this, but here are the five I'll be watching the most closely:
5. Tyler Boyd: Whether or not Boyd can be a star remains to be seen. But I do expect he'll be the freshman that makes the biggest impact this season. Dorian Johnson is the higher profile recruit and will have more attention on him, but as I've said before, I'm not convinced he'll start in 2013. Boyd may not have a big season, but opposite Devin Street, with Mike Shanahan gone, the opportunity will be there for him to contribute right away.
And, brain fart since Boyd is a freshman and won't be here until later in the year. Let's go with Isaac Bennett here. It will be interesting to see how many carries he gets this year and with Ray Graham gone, he could be the favorite as the backup. Bennett had a huge spring last year and will look to impress again.
4. Todd Thomas: Thomas' time is now. He had a good season last year, but fully healthy this year, he can be one of the better defensive players. When he was recruited out of high school, he was expected to be a tremendous athlete. I think we'll see Thomas break out even more than he did last year.
3. Lafayette Pitts: After seeing Pitts (pictured above) last year in training camp, I was convinced he was a star. He didn't have a huge season, but started as a true freshman. I expect Pitts to take another big step this year and he could actually be the most talented player in the secondary in my opinion.The potential's there for him to turn into a shut down corner at Pitt.
2. Adam Bisnowaty: Playing on the offensive line, Bisnowaty may not get a ton of attention this year. But he could be the key to a unit that needs help. He was a big time recruit and with Chris Jacobson and Ryan Turnley moving on, the Panthers need to replace two players on the line. And as we mentioned before, Jacobson thought Bisnowaty can be a four-year starter. He could step into a starter's role this year, but it'll be up to him.
1. Tom Savage: Quarterback is the key position for Pitt this year, obviously, and all eyes will be on Tom Savage. I think the job is his to lose and while you could say Chad Voytik is the one to watch, I expect Savage will get the chance to start unless he's thoroughly outplayed by Voytik this year. I'm not sure that's possible, so I'm going with Savage here.