Paul Chryst and his staff released their first depth chart earlier this week. The interesting thing was that ten true freshmen were listed as either starters or first guys off the bench. The 2013 recruiting class was a pretty good one for Paul Chryst, but I don't think anyone expected such an immediate return.
The offense will have plenty of freshmen making plays this season, and it starts with Tyler Boyd. Boyd was a super recruit from the small school powerhouse, Clairton. If competition of play was a concern about Boyd, he dominated the Big 33 classic, and beat out numerous upper classmen to be a starter at receiver. A pair of tight ends will see the field quite a bit. Scott Orndoff is a traditional tight end with great size, while Jaymar Parrish will line up with a H-back type role. Dorian Johnson did not win the starting job, but is a moment's notice from being Pitt's right tackle. James Conner was not listed on the two deep, but after the training camp he had, it is almost certain he will have a big role on this team.
The defense will not see any starters from true freshmen, but will see some contributions. Shakir Soto will see some rotations at defensive end, while Matt Galambos figures to see time on special teams and middle linebacker. At the time, it seemed like offering Titus Howard and Terrish Webb may have been a ploy to lure their teammate Tyler Boyd to Pitt. The young defensive backs showed during camp that they can really play also. Both should see significant time in the defensive backfield after many thought they would redshirt. Chris Blewitt will take the kicking duties, and Ryan Winslow will be the backup punter.
While the talk is a lot about the true freshmen, the redshirt freshmen will also play a key role on this team. Chad Voytik is the backup quarterback and looks to be in line to start for three seasons after this one. Adam Bisnowaty looks like Pitt's version of a franchise tackle, and will start at left tackle this year. Bam Bradley was once an elite safety prospect out of high school and now looks like an outside linebacker with a world of promise. Trenton Coles is another Clairton Bear, and really showed a lot this training camp.
Pitt is well stocked for the future. They have plenty of guys in the freshmen class that will gain signficant experience in 2013. If things work out, these freshmen could win a lot of football games throughout their career. Even though we may not see that this season, knowing there is a lot of talent in the freshmen class is good news for the next couple of years.