So far, we haven’t seen true freshman cornerback Damar Hamlin on the field for Pitt this season. But even though with each passing week he gets closer to a redshirt, head coach Pat Narduzzi said on Monday, ‘not so fast.’
Narduzzi held his regular weekly press conference on Monday and was asked about Hamlin’s availability since, last we heard, he is battling an undisclosed injury. According to the coach, there’s still a chance he could play this year.
“There is a chance,” Narduzzi said. “There are still more guys ahead of him. We’re playing to win. Whenever they are ready, they are ready.”
That’s pretty much the definition of ‘vague’ but the one thing we can take away there is that Narduzzi is not ruling out a return for him this year.
Now, while it might seem logical to redshirt him soon if he doesn’t play in the next week or two, don’t be so sure of that happening. As Narduzzi pointed out before, in this day and age when players can leave after being three years removed from high school, it can actually hurt you to redshirt a guy. Hamlin is one of those talents that could conceivably leave for the NFL early, so if you redshirt him this year, he can still leave after two more seasons, anyway. So if he’s ready to play by midway or even late in the year, it makes sense to do that if you believe he could go after his third year.
It’s a guessing game to some degree, but the point is that he shouldn’t necessarily be redshirted even if he misses a few more games.