A pair of walk-on football players got some great news this week as both tight end Jake Zilinskas and linebacker John Petrishen received scholarships from head coach Pat Narduzzi for this year. Around this time of year, coaches typically try to award available scholarships to walk-ons playing meaningful roles and Zilinskas and Petrishen were beneficiaries this season.
Zilinskas has not played in any collegiate games to date. He came to Pitt as a transfer from Division III John Carroll and was originally a backup quarterback. He’s sort of bounced around a bit, as both a backup linebacker and tight end (where he is now) but has not seen game action yet.
There were hopes for Petrishen to make an impact last season after transferring from Penn State. As a graduate transfer, he was available to play immediately without sitting out a year. But while he played in seven games, he was only used on special teams. He was a backup safety on the roster and moved to linebacker this year. Petrishen is expected to crack the two deep rotation this year as Narduzzi indicated he’s currently the No. 2 Star position linebacker.