Pitt officially added 2016 recruit Maurice Ffrench on National Signing Day after he committed to the team last year. And while he may not have been the biggest name, he looks to be a key figure for the Panthers in the years ahead.
Rivals lists Ffrench as a three-star wide receiver, but by the sound of things, it seems Ffrench could be all over the field. In an interview following signing with the Panthers, Ffrench says that the coaches want him to play on both sides of the ball ... and special teams. He also says that they have told him he could play immediately:
"They want to use me on both sides of the ball, including special teams, as well," said Ffrench. "They say I can have a role from the beginning, I've just got to come hard.
In addition to Pitt, several others were pursuing Ffrench, including Penn State and Rutgers.
Lots of recruits expect to play early and my guess is that coaches will tell just about everybody that they can play as a true freshman if they earn it. Whether or not Ffrench can do that this year is up in the air, but it will be interesting to see where he ends up on the field when it's all said and done.
To wide receiver specifically, the Panthers do need players to step up. But there are also a glut of players there and he'll have to pass up quite a few guys to get time. His future looks to be at receiver but even looking at running back where he was featured this season (1,200 yards and 12 rushing scores), you don't see much chance for time there, either. With guys like James Conner, Qadree Ollison, Darrin Hall, and Rachid Ibrahim next year, receiver seems to be his immediate destination. My guess is that if Ffrench finds his way onto the field this season, it will mostly be on special teams or possibly defense.