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Pitt football team names captains for 2021 season

Pitt named its captains for the 2021 season on Friday, and the four-man group was headlined by Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett. In addition to the signal-caller, Panthers long snapper Cal Adomitis, Panthers defensive end Deslin Alexandre and Panthers linebacker Cam Bright were also named captains. All four are fifth-year seniors who came to Pitt in 2017 and have played in at least 35 games.

Of the four, Pickett is the only 2021 captain who previously served the team in the role, as he was also a captain in 2020. During the 2020 season, Pickett’s fellow captains included Damar Hamlin, Patrick Jones and Jimmy Morrissey. All three of his co-captains went on to be selected in the 2021 NFL draft.

Pickett is coming off a season in which he threw for 2,408 yards and 13 touchdowns on 332 passing attempts. The 6’3”, 220-pound quarterback also added a career-high eight touchdowns on foot, bringing his total on the year to 21. But turnovers and injuries were issues, as Pickett matched a career high with nine picks in 2020 and missed two contests due to injury, both of which Pitt lost.

Adomitis is the most experienced of the four captains, with 50 games under his belt over a four-year career. Last season, he was a semifinalist for the Mannelly Award, which goes to the nation’s top long snapper, and he earned first-team All-ACC honors from Phil Steele. The 6’2”, 250-pound long snapper also earned an invite to the Senior Bowl but turned it down to spend another year at Pitt.

Alexandre is a proven pass-rusher who shined in Rashad Weaver’s stead in 2019, racking up 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for losses in his first season as a starter. However, the 6’4”, 285-pound defensive end has spent much of his collegiate career as a reserve and will be looking to make up for lost time in 2021.

Bright has posted two straight seasons with at least 50 tackles and eight tackles for losses, and this year, he is expected to play a key role in a loaded linebacker corps. Over time, the 6’0”, 220-pound linebacker has become an increasingly disruptive presence in opposing backfields, and in 2020, he had a career-high 4.5 sacks to go with 8.5 tackles for losses.

The four captains will lead the Panthers onto the field for their first game of the 2021 season on Sept. 4, when Pitt hosts UMass at Heinz Field. And in the coming months, the team will look to improve on its 6-5 record from 2020.