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Phil Campbell announces plans to return to Pitt in 2021

The Pitt linebacker will play alongside rising stars SirVocea Dennis and Nahki Johnson during the 2021 season

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt linebacker Phil Campbell announced on Wednesday morning that he will return to Pitt in 2021. Campbell has been with the program since 2016 but will be able to return for an additional year thanks to the NCAA’s decision to extend additional eligibility to fall and winter sport athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve decided to utilize the extra year of eligibility and return to my Pitt Panther team for the 2021 season,” Campbell said. “The decision was not made lightly, but I do think it’s the right decision for me at this time.”

Campbell began his career as a reserve safety but ascended to a starting role at the star linebacker spot in 2019. Since then, he has amassed 102 tackles, including 15 tackles for losses and 10 sacks; two forced fumbles; two fumble recoveries; four quarterback hits; one interception and one pass breakup.

The 6’1”, 220-pound linebacker’s decision to return follows a similar decision from Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett, who will also return in 2021 to lead the Panthers offense. It also plugs a hole that would have opened up in the Pitt defense had he departed, and it should provide Pitt with a formidable linebacking corps, as Campbell will be flanked by SirVocea Dennis and Nahki Johnson behind the defensive line during the 2021 season.