Pitt Football: Tidbits on the 2014 roster

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Little factoids and observations on the 2014 Pitt football roster

The Pitt athletic website has the football roster updated for next season with the incoming freshmen class. Also a few number changes, surprising listed heights and weights, and some depth concerns have been upgraded. Here are some of my observations I took away from browsing the roster. It should be noted that an incoming group of walk-on freshmen will be added in Fall camp, but they aren't very likely to make much of an impact next season.

  • Quarterback Depth - No secret about this one, Pitt is really in a tough spot however you look at it. The Panthers only have three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster and only two with minimal experience heading into the 2014 season. Pitt is banking a lot on Chad Voytik. Not only do they need a big performance from him, they do not have anywhere to turn if he struggles or gets injured anyway.  Adam Bertke gets the 6"6 height listing, and that is big for a quarterback, but intriguing.
  • Running Back overload - Pitt has six backs, and it is still unknown how they will approach things. Could Conner move to defensive end full time? Sure, but I'm not counting on it.  Between this group of four; Chris James, Qadree Ollison, Rachid Ibrahim, and Dennis Briggs, three will likely redshirt. Only one in that group can expect carries next year along Conner and Isaac Bennett. My money is on Chris James playing next year.
  • Manasseh Garner the receiver - One of the biggest topics of the off-season was who would start opposite Tyler Boyd at wide receiver, and this little position change could answer that. Garner was technically a tight end last year, but played a lot like a wide receiver. He is very talented, and with his experience, it looks like he is the easy favorite to land that job.
  • Parrish is a big man - Jaymar Parrish is a versatile piece to this offense, but the 270 pound listing is interesting on many levels. Parrish can do a lot of things, but lining him up in short yardage situations in front of 250 pound James Conner makes for one big backfield.
  • Is that Boyd or Pitts? - Most Pitt fans knew who was returning kicks, but for national broadcasters having both kick returners wear 23 and alternate every possession, it could be annoying. Lafayette Pitts is now wearing number 6, and that should be less frustrating listening to the announcers.
  • Grigsby - Nicholas Grigsby has an intriguing listing of 6'1" 220 pounds , and that could make him a candidate to challenge for the middle linebacker spot, as well as provide depth for the outside. Grigsby can be a frustrating player to watch at times, but had a nice showing in the bowl game.
  • Grimm/Bookser watch - Pitt has the luxury of bringing in two massive four-star linemen for next season. The Panthers have also have the benefit of having five linemen back with starting experience, so will the two young stars play?  If Adam Bisnowaty or Dorian Johnson struggle, perhaps one or both the true freshmen can get a chance. Pitt is still in transition from the coaching changes, and while the depth is better, it is still not where it needs to be.
  • A true freshman will play at corner - Pitt has Lafayette Pitts locked into one spot, and the Clairton kids, Trenton Coles and Titus Howard battling for time at the other spot, but beyond that are a pair of true freshmen. Avonte Maddox from Detroit or Phillipie Motley of Columbus are the next guys in line. Maddox is undersized, but is a well regarded return man, and that could be his advantage into winning that other backup spot.
  • Seeing Double - The Pitts/Boyd number duplication is over, but a few more still exist on the roster. Terrish Webb and Adonis Jennings will share No. 2. Anthony Gonzalez and Elijah Zeise will both be sporting number No. 28, and James Folston and walk-on Colton Lively both wear No. 40. In each of the scenarios, only Jennings and Webb will both likely see action in 2014.
  • Unstable defensive line - Pitt is counting on a make shift unit after losing three starters from last season. David Durham, the ex-Ohio State fullback is the lone returnee. Khaynin Mosley-Smith is returning from a year long suspension and Ejuan Price and Devin Cook are coming off injuries. Aside from that, most of the guys have limited to no experience at all.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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