Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff have seen two key contributors leave the program this offseason, as Ryan Murphy and Trey McGowens both opted to enter the NCAA transfer portal. However, it appears none of the team’s other young stars plan to leave Pittsburgh, as Au’Diese Toney and Justin Champagnie both confirmed over the weekend that they would return next season.
Champagnie was the first to confirm his status, as he said that he would “be back for more” in a Twitter message posted on Friday night.
I’ll be back for more https://t.co/yhsgXmoPxb— Justin Champagnie (@JusChampagnie) March 27, 2020
Toney went into greater depth about his return after he had a talk with Capel.
You never forget those who believed in you first and you never abandon those who held you down while experiencing your worst. Coach Capel and The Zoo thank you for accepting me at my best and my worst ....Let’s finish the job #ZooEraContinues pic.twitter.com/4S1FV5OLfm— A.M.T (@thefuturetoney) March 28, 2020
”You never forget those who believed in you first, and you never abandon those who held you down while experiencing your worst,” Toney said in a message posted on Twitter on Saturday. “Coach Capel and the Zoo, thank you for accepting me at my best and my worst. Let’s finish the job.”
Although neither of the two departures that preceded the announcements from Toney and Champagnie were entirely unexpected, they did leave a degree of uncertainty in their wake that may have prompted the check-ins. It should also be noted that the announcements were preceded by Xavier Johnson’s confirmation that he will be back next season as well. So at the moment, it appears Pitt has a solid core in place with Champagnie, Johnson and Toney.