Kicker Jake Scarton was listed as the backup to Alex Kessman on the preseason depth chart Pitt released in July, but he is no longer with the team and is not listed on the team’s roster. In addition, he has indicated on social media that he is heading to Oregon State. However, he has yet to be added to the Beavers roster.
Per his social media page current Pitt & former Hickory kicking standout Jake Scarton has transferred to Oregon State.— Bob Greenburg (@BobGreenburg) August 2, 2019
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi discussed Scarton’s departure during a press conference on Friday, noting that despite the apparently sudden move, the Panthers coaching staff was not caught off guard.
”We wish Jake luck wherever he lands,” Narduzzi said. “But we were not surprised at all. We worked in the offseason with several different holders. You kind of see the writing [on the wall] sometimes. He’s got a brother that’s really talented coming in. ... He might be the next best kicker."
”[Scarton] was in the transfer portal early because he’s a good kicker,” the coach added. “That guy’s a talented kicker that could go play somewhere else. And I let him get in the portal. I said, ‘You need to go, it’s going to be good for you if someone can give you a scholarship.’ ... We’ve got other guys who can hold it. We’ve got another guy who can kick, too.”
Despite Scarton’s talent as a kicker, the issue at hand for Pitt is who will replace him as the team’s holder. Narduzzi did not reveal any names but noted that the replacement might be a quarterback or wide receiver. He also noted that the decision would be made by Kessman.
While the departure of a holder and backup kicker may seem trivial, it should be noted that Scarton’s absence from last year’s matchup with Penn State proved costly, as punter Kirk Christodoulou served as the replacement holder and struggled in the wet conditions. That would hurt Pitt, as the team went on to lose 51-6 at Heinz Field.