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Pitt linebacker Wendell Davis enters NCAA transfer portal

Pitt linebacker Wendell Davis announced on Wednesday that he would be entering the NCAA transfer portal, bringing his time with the Panthers to a close. The fourth-year player had split time at the Mike linebacker spot with third-year player SirVocea Dennis this season, with Dennis being the more productive of the two.

“Thanks for all the folks reaching out,” Davis said in a message posted on Twitter. “Unfortunately I’ve decided to move on, but I’ll be a proud graduate of the University of Pittsburgh in a few weeks. Nothing bad here, not a selfish move. Those involved know the truth. Absolutely love my teammates, and I hope they win the ACC!”

The move deprives Pitt of some defensive depth, but it clarifies the pecking order of a key position, as Davis and Dennis were still listed as co-starters at the Mike linebacker spot on Pitt’s most recent depth chart, which was released on Monday. With Davis moving on, Dennis will be the starter, and he will be backed up at the position by Brandon George.

Over the last four years, Davis played in 26 games with the Panthers. Davis finishes his Pitt career with 44 total tackles, including five tackles for losses and two sacks. In 2019, he memorably returned a punt blocked by Aaron Mathews for a touchdown in Pitt’s 35-34 win over UCF. He also blocked a punt in Pitt’s 17-14 victory over Delaware the following week.

“I’m sure [Davis] will have success wherever he ends up,” Pitt linebackers coach Ryan Manalac said on Wednesday. “For us now, [we’re] focusing on our guys and giving some younger guys, some different guys an opportunity. We have some guys that will step up, some guys that are eager to fill that void.”

As for Davis, it is unclear where he will end up. But prior to committing to Pitt as a three-star recruit in 2017, the 6’2”, 240-pound linebacker held offers from Boston College, Duke, Indiana, Michigan State, Rutgers, Syracuse and West Virginia as well as Old Dominion and James Madison in his home state of Virginia.