Safety should be a strength for the Pitt Panthers in 2016. They have Jordan Whitehead, who appears to be as good as any safety in the country. Opposite of Whitehead will be a pair of seniors with starting experience in Terrish Webb and Reggie Mitchell. Beyond the expected contributors, Pat Narduzzi brought in a strong crop of safeties ready to help build depth for the future.
SS - Jordan Whitehead 5'11" 190 pounds, Sophomore / 2015 Stats - 109 Tackles, 1 Interception
FS - Terrish Webb 5'11" 195 pounds, Senior / 2015 Stats - 28 Tackles, 2 Interceptions
Jordan Whitehead quickly established himself as one of the top players in the ACC last season. Whitehead led by Pitt in tackles, and looks to build on a very impressive season. He finds himself on all kinds of watch lists for awards and preseason teams. He is already one of the faces of the Pitt football program. Whitehead is a unique athlete that showed enough versatility to play offense last season. With him coming off a minor knee surgery and the depth at running back seems adequate, we may see less of that this season. Either way, Whitehead is Pitt's most important and most talented player on defense. He will stick out every Saturday this Fall.
Terrish Webb has been a key contributor for the past three seasons. He has 18 career starts under his belt, including nine last season. Webb has four career interceptions, and has come up with some big plays in his career. Webb is a solid veteran that should give Pitt steady play in the defensive backfield in 2016.
-- Reggie Mitchell 6'0" 200 pounds, Senior / 2015 Stats - 15 Tackles
-- Dennis Briggs 5'10" 190 pounds, Sophomore / 2015 Stats - 7 Tackles, 1 Sack
Reggie Mitchell is effectively a returning starter in his own right. He will compete with Terrish Webb for the starting spot at free safety. Mitchell started 2 games last season, but missed seven games with an injury. He started all 13 games back in 2014, and has logged some big playing time in his career at Pitt. Mitchell has played both corner and safety in his time at Pitt, and is versatile enough that he should handle any assignment thrown his way.
Dennis Briggs is the team's starting nickel back, but according to the preseason depth chart will be Jordan Whitehead's backup as well. Briggs made a few plays in 2015, but was mostly quiet. He initially came to Pitt as a running back, and moved to safety early in his time at Pitt.
-- Phil Campbell 6'1" 195 pounds
-- Bricen Garner 6'1" 175 pounds
-- George Hill 5'11" 210 pounds
-- Henry Miller 6'3" 205 pounds
-- Jay Stocker 6'2" 185 pounds
Phil Campbell is a physical true freshmen from New Jersey. I would assume he is on his way to a redshirt. Campbell is a hard-hitter that doubled up as a running back for his high school team. Pitt was able to pluck his commitment away from Rutgers, and some believe he could be a steal in the 2016 recruiting class.
Bricen Garner comes to Pitt from powerhouse high school, Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Garner along with other star freshmen, Damar Hamlin and Rashad Wheeler guided their team to an undefeated state championship last year. Garner was a big time playmaker in high school, but appears to be on a redshirt this year to likely add some weight.
George Hill was a major recruiting win for Pitt from the state of Ohio. The former four-star recruit has blazing speed, and for that it still seems unsettled what position he will play in college. Some think he could either play corner or safety, but there is a belief he could slide to running back as well to better utilize his speed.
Henry Miller is another player that could slot into a number of different positions. He has a rare blend of size and speed, and that could play well at cornerback. He may bulk up and play safety, or even really bulk up and move to outside linebacker. Miller was a big recruit from the state of Florida, and it seems like he could have a big impact here at Pitt.
Jay Stocker took a redshirt last season, but could really work his into some playing time this season. Stocker comes from the Eastern half of Pennsylvania, and was a three-star recruit out of high school. Stocker has ideal size and athleticism that should translate well to playing safety in college.
-- Mark Bernsdorff 5'11" 185 pounds, Junior
-- Rob Boatright 5'10" 185 pounds, Junior
-- Rimoni Dorsey 6'0" 190 pounds, Freshman
Pitt has a trio of walk-ons to help fill out the depth at safety. Bernsdorff started his college career at Wheaton College in the Division III ranks. Rob Boatright comes to Pitt after starting his career at Bluefield College in the NAIA. Boatright is originally from Clairton and was a high school teammate of Tyler Boyd and Terrish Webb. Dorsey took a redshirt last season.