The Panthers have some experience at tight end, but also, plenty of depth. There will be four players going up for playing time and all should see some this season. It's rare to have a position with players each bringing something valuable to the team. Pitt has that with at tight end this year and it could prove to be a much more effective weapon than it was last season.
JP Holtz should be the every down guy in the group. He is a beast physically, and possesses the talent to be a future star. The true sophomore caught three passes for 54 yards with one going for a touchdown in the near upset of Notre Dame. Holtz is a good blocker, and has plenty of game experience with Hubie Graham being hurt virtually all of last season.
Drew Carswell should figure to be that number two guy on the depth chart. Carswell actually looks more like a receiver, but that is the intriguing aspect about him. Carswell can line up in a variety of packages, even as far as lining up as a receiver. He caught 13 passes last season, but dropped some key passes. If Carswell can stay consistent and focused, he can have a break out season.
Manasseh Garner and Scott Orndoff are the two newcomers, but figure to make some impact this season. Garner transferred from Wisconsin, but is a native of Pittsburgh. He is another intriguing piece in that he is not a traditional tight end. He is built somewhat like former Panther, Dorin Dickerson. Dickerson found a niche in being a versatile threat, and perhaps Garner can take on that sort of role. Scott Orndoff is an early enrollee from the recruiting class, and he has tremendous size. At 6-6 245 pounds, many think Orndoff will have an opportunity to play this season. He was highly sought after, so the talent aspect should be there.
The recruiting class will also bring two more players into the fold during Fall camp. Tony Harper and Devon Edwards both hail from Ohio, and both may end up not being tight ends. They are likely heading for redshirts this season and we will see what they become next Spring.
This battle is intriguing, because it does seem like all four can play. Each player adds versatility and a different skill set. Chryst and Joe Rudolph excelled with the tight ends at Wisconsin, so this Spring should be a valuable learning experience for these guys.