We've lamented quite a bit about Pitt's quarterback situation for next season. Not that it's guaranteed to be bad, only uncertain. With starter Nathan Peterman out of eligibility, Pitt is likely to experience some growing pains with the current roster, no matter who would win the job.
The Panthers, though, might be in the mix to add a little bit of experience via a potential transfer in Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire. Zaire will be a graduate transfer and, like Peterman was, would be eligible to play right away. He will have one year of eligibility left.
Plenty of schools are likely to be interested, of course. Scout says Pitt is among a group that includes Wisconsin, Florida, and Michigan State (though the Spartans have been apparently ruled out since they play Notre Dame next year).
So what makes the Panthers look like a potential destination? Well, in addition to the obvious chance for immediate playing time, 247 says he has a relationship with Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Ordinarily, that in and of itself would be attractive. But factor in how well Pitt's offense performed under Canada this season, and it has to make the Panthers even more on Zaire's radar.
And about that competition, SB Nation sees a few more roadblocks to playing time at Florida and Wisconsin than at Pitt. One of them, ironically, is Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who was of course a Pitt commit before Paul Chryst left for the Badgers. Funny how that works out.
Zaire would give Pitt some much-needed experience - but not a ton of it. After playing sparingly in 2014, he was named the Irish's starter in 2015. He had a huge game against Texas (19-22 for 313 yards and three touchdowns) in the opener, but was injured in the second game and missed the rest of the year. This year, he played a little but lost his starting job.
In all, he's thrown fewer than 100 college passes for a total of only 816 yards. Still, there's obviously enough promise there that he will be a hot commodity.
I don't know what Pitt's chances truly are for landing Zaire. Even if Michigan State is out of the running, Florida and Wisconsin both are strong programs. But at the very least, it seems as if the Panthers have his attention. If Pitt does manage to land him, you have to think they will have the look of a preseason Top 25 team. They already might be anyway, but adding a quality quarterback to the mix makes them even stronger.
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