We've had quite a bit of talk about the Pitt wide receivers lately and, well, there was more on Thursday.
Before we hit on the potential starters. But on Thursday, Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada identified the team's top five wide receivers. That group includes Dontez Ford, Quadree Henderson, Jester Weah, Tre Tipton, and Rafael Araujo-Lopes.
"There are probably five, with [Dontez] Ford as the leader. I think they're doing a great job. Quadree [Henderson] and [Jester] Weah are doing a great job. Rafael [Araujo-Lopes] is playing very well and Tre Tipton has really done a good job. Those five guys have separated themselves. It's hard to do these things. Not that anybody else isn't doing well and getting better, but those five guys right now are getting the majority of the reps. We're going to start creating a lot of packages that we can use based on anywhere we want. I say it all the time, you have to play five and everybody else is a wildcard. Now we start deciding how those things work, the percentages, and going into a game which guys should play.
Some names missing from that list include junior Zach Challingsworth as well as the three true freshmen, Aaron Mathews, Ruben Flowers, and Maurice Ffrench. To that later group first, since those guys are first-year guys, it's not incredibly surprising that they're not in there, but it's sort of noteworthy. Mathews got some earlier recognition from the coaches and Flowers was a four-star wideout that fans hoped could make some sort of impact this year. But overall, as true freshmen, there's no guarantee those guys will see the field.
Challingsworth is sort of an interesting case. No, he wasn't a superstar last season. However, after Ford, he is Pitt's top returning wideout in terms of production. Last season, he started four games and had 12 catches for 171 yards. Again, not huge numbers by any means. But if you had asked people to guess the team's five top guys in camp this year, most would have likely named him.
None of this is to suggest that the freshmen or Challingsworth can't or won't play. But at the same time, Canada even naming a top five at this point really speaks to his level of comfort with those guys. That rotation could be shaken up a little during the season, of course. Someone makes a few drops, the team sustains an injury or two, etc. But for the moment, we're starting to get some separation here.