Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi landed his first commitment since the early signing period on Sunday evening, as Michigan graduate transfer Nolan Ulizio announced he would be joining the Panthers for the 2019 season.
The 6’5”, 291-pound lineman was considered a three-star recruit by 247Sports and ESPN when he committed to Michigan in 2015, but he also held a two-star rating from Rivals. The move reunites Ulizio with a program that recruited him heavily during his time at Lakota West High School in West Chester Township, Ohio.
During his four years with the Wolverines, Ulizio appeared in 17 games and played multiple positions along the offensive line, including left tackle, left guard and right tackle. He made six starts at right tackle, with his first coming against Florida on Sept. 2, 2017. However, he made no starts last season.
Ulizio announced his intent to transfer from Michigan last Thursday, and with his decision on Sunday, he became the third lineman in three years to come to Pitt as a graduate transfer, as Stefano transferred from Kent State in 2018 and Brandon Hodges transferred from Texas in 2017. In fact, it was Millin’s departure that prompted Narduzzi to bring in Ulizio.
Millin, who is also a native of Ohio, made an instant impact at Pitt, earning the starting job at left tackle and retaining it for all 14 games last season. Hodges wasn’t as fortunate, as he played in eight games with the Panthers and started three. However, he did earn an invite to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and a shot with the Oakland Raiders, so the transfer benefited him.
Ulizio brings size and Big Ten experience to the table and should get an opportunity similar to those of Millin and Hodges, meaning the job should be his to lose. Unfortunately for Pitt, this is just the first step in a larger rebuild of the line, as the team lost Alex Bookser, Connor Dintino and Mike Herndon in addition to Millin.
On a positive note, the Panthers will get Jimmy Morrissey back at center as well as Bryce Hargrove at left guard. But that still leaves two positions open, provided Hargrove, Morrissey and Ulizio lock down their spots.