Pitt held its first spring practice session on Wednesday morning at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side, and one of the first issues addressed was the pecking order at the quarterback position.
”[Kenny Pickett] is the starter,” Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple told reporters after practice on Wednesday. “We’ve got to even the reps some way, but he’s going ones-on-ones. The other guys are trying to even him out. But all of them had their bright spots today.”
Pickett was the subject of a lot of hype after he led Pitt to an upset win over Miami in 2017, but the excitement around him faded last year, as he threw for a disappointing 1,969 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games. Pickett was also responsible for six picks and completed 58.1 percent of his passes while throwing for 200 or more yards just one time in 2018.
This year, Pickett faces competition for the starting job from the likes of Davis Beville, Jeff George Jr. and Nick Patti. George was seen practicing with the second team Wednesday, suggesting that the pecking order for the position group appears to be unchanged.
Beville earned a four-star rating as a recruit during his high school career in Greenville, South Carolina, and much is expected of him as one of the crown jewels of Pitt's 2019 recruiting class. He flashed explosive ability as the signal-caller of the Red Raiders, throwing for 2,530 yards and 38 yards with just six interceptions in his junior year.
Given his prowess under center and Whipple’s penchant for moving the ball through the air, it seems likely that Beville could one day become the Panthers’ top option at quarterback and ascend to the first team. However, for the time being, Pickett remains entrenched in that role.