It's early, but it sounds as if top recruit Jordan Whitehead is already impressing during Pitt's training camp.
I mentioned recently that he found himself in the mix in special teams as a return man. The Panthers had a scrimmage on Saturday (the offense reportedly 'won' in a close game) and the Post-Gazette's Sam Werner said that Whitehead was again on special teams in practice time before the game.
Afterward, defensive coordinator Josh Conklin said Whitehead was working through some things, but per Werner's report, also made it seem like playing time was inevitable:
"Jordan did really good. We always talk about defensively whether you can feel a guy or not and I think we could definitely feel him. He’s not 100 percent on his assignments or execution, but you can feel him. He’s going to make plays. He can cover a lot of ground, he’s very athletic and he’s very explosive. One time, he came from the opposite hash playing the boundary safety and made a play to the field that not many guys can make. Our whole deal with him right now is getting him reps and throwing him to the fire and seeing if he can get there."
The Trib's Jerry DiPaola also said that Conklin noted it was going to be hard to keep him off the field.
One thing that has changed is that the media was only allowed to view 30 minutes of it. I've been to scrimmages over the past few years and that's a change from then when those games were able to be viewed in their entirety. They did apparently get stats, though, and Whitehead recorded six tackles on the day, per Werner's notes.
As for Whitehead, he expects to be a contributor this season. The freshman recently said after a practice, "I definitely feel that I could help out. Hopefully the coaches see my talent, and that I can prove myself."
Whitehead is going to make some mistakes this year, but it also sounds as if his athletic ability is going to be too much to ignore.