Pitt's running game was up and down this season with James Conner and Isaac Bennett breaking out in some games and stumbling badly in others. The running game needed some help and it will get it next year in the form of some recruits.
The Panthers will add freshmen Qadree Ollison, Chris James, and Dennis Briggs in 2014. Add to them little-used 2013 freshman Rachid Ibrahim and you've got a pretty crowded backfield. There's been talk of Conner moving to defense and who knows if Briggs stays at running back, but even then, someone's bound to be disappointed with playing time.
Ollison talked earlier about having the opportunity to playing right away as, in his own words, he declared Pitt doesn't have a star. Now, you can add James (who was recently bumped up to a four-star recruit by Rivals) to the mix as someone that expects to contribute right away as well. In fact, he says the coaches have told him to be ready to contribute in 2014, per PantherLair:
"Seeing that gives you the feeling that you can make an immediate impact," James said. "That was a big thing that played into me making my decision: there's a great opportunity there.
"All through my visit, the coaches were all talking to me about coming in and making an immediate impact. They said they want a home-run hitter like me and they want me to get ready so when I get there I can contribute. I just have to keep working my tail off and be ready."
'Contribute' is a word that could mean significant playing time or something more along the lines of what Ibrahim did this year. But even if Conner and Briggs don't find themselves in the backfield in 2014, it will be interesting watching Pitt trying to find playing time for four backs. None of that even deals with the highly-touted Shai McKenzie, who recently visited the school - if he's headed to Pitt, things change.
Having too many backs is definitely a nice problem to have ... but someone is bound to be disappointed with their playing time next season if neither James nor Ollison redshirts. Even Chryst, who used three backs this year, will find it difficult keeping everyone satisfied.
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