Former Pitt running back Malik Newton entered the transfer portal on April 13 after being medically disqualified from playing at Pitt, and on Tuesday, he announced on Instagram that he would continue his career at West Virginia State, a Division II program near Charleston.
The reason for the medical disqualification was never revealed by Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, and he invited Newton to remain on the team and earn a degree at Pitt. However, had Newton stayed in Pittsburgh, he would not have been permitted to play football with the Panthers.
“I’m not going to get into what it is,” Narduzzi told reporters on a Zoom call back in March. “But I feel bad for Malik and his family. You come mid-year to college, you think you are going to play football. We got some of the greatest doctors in the world in Pittsburgh, and they find out some things that are not going to allow him to play football at Pitt.”
The 5’11”, 225-pound running back committed to Pitt as a three-star recruit on May 26, 2020. At the time, Newton was considered the No. 20 running back in the 2021 class, and he held offers from the likes of Clemson, Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
Newton was a star at Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Virginia, before his brief stint at Pitt. During his time at Lake Taylor, he ran for 2,060 yards and 32 touchdowns on 213 carries in 2019. And thanks to his contributions, Lake Taylor went 14-2 and won a state title.
At West Virginia State, Newton will join a program that went 7-4 and reached the Mountain East championship game in its last full season, which was played in 2019. After that, the Yellow Jackets played four games in a shortened 2020 season, going 2-2. Now, they will look to rebound with Newton in 2021.