Pitt defensive line coach Charlie Partridge was named the Defensive Line Coach of the Year by Football Scoop on Wednesday morning. The honor went to Partridge after a group of past Defensive Line Coach of the Year winners voted to bestow him with the title based on his achievements in the 2020 season.
Last season, Pitt went 6-5, but the defensive line was the centerpiece of an elite defense that led the nation in sacks, with 46, and tackles for losses, with 111. Pitt fared almost as well in 2019, as the team ranked second in the nation in sacks, with 51, and 10th in tackles for losses, with 103. And in both seasons, Pitt ranked in the top 20 in total defense.
The nation-leading totals in 2020 were due in part to the contributions of defensive ends Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones, a pair of two-star 2016 recruits from the Pitt recruiting hotbeds of Florida and Virginia who Partridge helped mold into NFL draft picks. Last season, Jones led the team in sacks, with nine, and Weaver ranked second, with 7.5. And Weaver led the team in tackles for losses, with 14, with Jones posting the second-highest total, 12.5.
The line also featured promising young talent in freshmen Dayon Hayes, who had 2.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for losses in two games, and Calijah Kancey, who had 1.5 sacks and seven tackles for losses in 10 games. And with coveted recruits Elliot Donald and Dorien Ford joining the Pitt defensive line ranks in 2021, the Panthers appear poised to enjoy a third straight season of elite play from the position group.
Partridge beat out finalists Todd Bates and Lemanski Hall of Clemson, Cornell Brown and J.C. Price of Marshall, and Byron Dawson of Tulane for the honor this year. That group of finalists was chosen after coaches, athletic directors and athletic department personnel submitted nominations. Partridge was then selected by previous winners of the award.
Some past winners of the award include David Turner of Florida in 2019, Chuck Bullough of Michigan State in 2018, Larry Johnson of Ohio State in 2017, Greg Mattison of Michigan in 2016 and Bo Davis of Alabama in 2015.