Pitt wide receiver Maurice Ffrench has been electric for the Panthers as a return man in 2018, providing the team with a necessary spark on several occasions. And for his breakout performance this season, he was named to the CBS Sports Midseason All-America Team as a kickoff return specialist. He was the lone Pitt player on the list released Wednesday afternoon.
Ffrench was one of three unanimous selections on a team of 27 that was chosen by CBS Sports college football reporters. The other two unanimous selections were Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Alabama offensive lineman Jonah Williams. The list also included just 20 schools, with Pitt and Clemson being the only ACC universities represented.
The Pitt return specialist had big shoes to fill coming into the season, as former return man Quadree Henderson, a consensus All-American in 2016, left the team after the 2017 season to pursue a career in the NFL. The move seemed to leave the Panthers without a replacement anywhere near Henderson’s level, but Ffrench’s rise has served as a pleasant surprise.
So far this season, Ffrench has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, as he got the season started with a memorable 91-yard return against Albany and most recently weaved through the Notre Dame special teams unit to take a 99-yard return to the house last Saturday. He leads the nation in kickoff return touchdowns and ranks second in average yardage with 33.8 yards per return.
With two touchdowns on kick returns, Ffrench is within striking distance of the school record set by Henderson in 2016, which is three. He’ll get an opportunity to tie the record when Pitt returns to action after a bye week and hosts Duke at 3:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 27.