I wrote recently about Pitt football freshmen from this past season seeing the field immediately. That trend could continue as Pitt should be seeing a few instant impact players from their 15 man recruiting class.
Pitt has a strong nucleus with eight starters back on offense and six on defense. Still, there are spots where the depth is not so deep, and a few freshmen may be able to plug the holes. Here is a look at some of the first-year players that I think will see some action.
First off, there is no doubt about this one - Jordan Whitehead will play in 2015, and he will play a lot. The four-star cornerback will have a chance to come in and compete with returning guys like Lafayette Pitts, Titus Howard, and Avonte Maddox. Truth be told, many feel Whitehead is a higher caliber player than those guys, but starting at corner as a true freshman is never an easy task. I do expect Whitehead to be returning punts or kicks to alleviate Boyd's responsibility, and he could even make his way on to the field on offense as well. Whitehead is a special talent, and one that will absolutely be on the field as a true freshman.
I think from there, a lot of it depends on need and whether guys step up and show they are worthy. One player on offense I feel will make an instant impact is Quadree Henderson. The slot receiver has game-breaking speed and could be a candidate to be the third receiver right away. In fact, after Tyler Boyd Pitt has a lot of bodies, but no sure things and a guy like Henderson could make a name for himself with an impressive Fall camp. I think the same goes for Tre Tipton, another smaller receiver. He is a longshot to play right away, but Pitt is without a lot of answers beyond Boyd at receiver.
I also believe Allen Edwards, the junior college defensive end, will have a chance to play right away. It is pretty normal for junior college players to see the field instantly as they have played college football for two seasons now. Pitt is a little thin on ends, so expect Edwards to at least be in the rotation this year at end.
Beyond that, I think most of the guys take a redshirt, and part of that is Paul Chryst leaving Pitt better stocked than when he got when he took the job. Pitt has a lot of linemen on both sides of the ball, a host of linebackers, and a great stable of running backs. It is getting to the point where Pitt will only need to play freshman because they are an upgrade, and not out of need or for a lack of depth.