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Pitt adds Penn State graduate transfer John Petrishen

The safety was a standout at WPIAL powerhouse Central Catholic

Penn State v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi announced the addition of Penn State graduate transfer John Petrishen on Wednesday morning. Petrishen, a native of Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, who attended Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, announced his decision to leave Penn State on Tuesday night via Twitter.

”Right before camp started two weeks ago, I informed the Penn State coaching staff of my intentions to leave,” Petrishen wrote. “While this was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, my family and I have decided this is best for me. Most people do not know this, but I recently had total reconstructive shoulder surgery, which was my third [or] procedure in four years. And with that being said, I believe a fresh start and change of scenery will pay huge dividends in all aspects of my life.”

Petrishen went on to note that he has two seasons of eligibility remaining due to medical redshirts, and he will be eligible to take the field for the Panthers immediately after arriving in Pittsburgh. The addition will bolster an already impressive lineup of local standouts in Pitt’s defensive backfield, as fellow Central Catholic graduate Damar Hamlin and former Steel Valley standout Paris Ford are both listed as starters at safety on Pitt’s depth chart.

The 6’0”, 211-pound safety was a three-star recruit who committed to Penn State in January 2015 after an impressive season at Central Catholic. As a senior with the Vikings, Petrishen came up with 59 tackles and four interceptions over the course of a season that saw the team go 11-2 and reach the WPIAL final. For his efforts, he earned first-team All-State and All-WPIAL honors and was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fab 22.

However, despite the promise Petrishen showed at Central Catholic, Penn State head coach James Franklin declined to utilize him in his primary position with any regularity in State College. After sitting out his first two seasons, Petrishen made 16 appearances over the past two seasons, mainly on special teams.

Petrishen may well see his role increase at Pitt, as Hamlin is on pace to graduate after this season. Given the current configuration of the Panthers defensive backfield, the exact role he will play in 2019 is less certain, but at the least, he will add depth and foster competition.