As Chris wrote back in March, the Pitt football program would be seeing some losses as the program worked its way down to the NCAA scholarship limit of 85. The march towards that goal continues and on Monday, the Panthers lost two more players to transfers. As reported first by PantherLair and subsequently by others, quarterback Adam Bertke and wide receiver Jaquaun Davidson are leaving the program.
In situations like these, you never know how much was the players deciding they wanted to leave and how much they were encouraged it might be better to go. While the Davidson move was a little more surprising, Bertke's departure is anything but that.
When the team landed Central Florida transfer Bo Schneider, it all but meant that at least one of the quarterbacks would likely be leaving. As I wrote at the time, it would have been a surprise if all of those guys returned for this year with Pitt still over the scholarship limit. The team will lose starter Nathan Peterman and potential backup Manny Stocker after this season, but Bertke wasn't likely to play much (if at all) this year and would have only two years left. Beyond this season, Pitt not only has Schneider, but also incoming recruit Tom MacVittie and redshirt freshman Ben DiNucci. Bertke has a little age on those guys but not much else at this point. In other words, someone almost certainly had to go, folks.
Davidson, a wide receiver, will leave the program as well. He hasn't played in two years at Pitt either and would have been a redshirt sophomore this season. Davidson saw some good action this spring and had a solid Blue-Gold game, but still would have been competing in a crowded field at wide receiver as the team looks to replace Tyler Boyd. And with Jester Weah sounding much improved this year, well, it could have been even harder to break out in that group. He probably had an easier path to playing time than Bertke did but that roster still includes Weah, Dontez Ford, Tre Tipton, Quadree Henderson, Chris Wuestner, Zach Challingsworth, Rafael Araujo-Lopes, not to mention the incoming guys this fall, including four-star receiver Ruben Flowers.
Seeing a bunch of transfers exiting the program in a relatively short period of time happens quite a bit when new coaches come in. While others, like the Chad Voytik exodus, hurt a little more in terms of depth, moves like these really don't affect the team all that much right now since neither has played a single game to date.
As indicated in that Post-Gazette article linked at the top, Pitt still has to shed two more guys to get to the magic number of 85. But with the departures of Bertke and Davidson, they are much closer to that.