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Pitt linebacker Chase Pine declares for 2022 NFL draft

NCAA Football: Virginia at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt linebacker Chase Pine announced on Tuesday afternoon that he would be entering the 2022 NFL draft. Pine is the fifth Pitt player to declare for the draft, and he joins Keyshon Camp, Taysir Mack, Damarri Mathis and most notably Kenny Pickett in doing so.

“I would like to start by giving thanks to my lord and savior Jesus because without him none of this is possible,” Pine said via Twitter. “Also, to my family, friends, coaches and mentors that have helped me so much over the years of my career, thank you for everything. Without y’all’s guidance and patience, none of this would have worked. And a special thank you to my Pitt brothers for the everlasting memories made here at the University of Pittsburgh. H2P. With that being said, I am officially declaring for the 2022 NFL draft.”

The 6’3”, 250-pound linebacker came to Pitt in 2016, and after a redshirt year, he became a fixture in the Pitt linebacking corps, playing in a total of 58 games between 2017 and 2021. Over that five-season span, Pine came up with a total of 118 tackles, two sacks, 14 tackles for losses and four pass breakups. His best performance came in Pitt’s COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, as he posted career highs in tackles (43), tackles for losses (seven), sacks (1.5) and pass breakups (two).

Pine’s departure was expected after six seasons on campus, but it still deals a blow to the Pitt linebacking corps, which recently lost Cam Bright, a starter and team captain, to the transfer portal and will lose Phil Campbell and John Petrishen due to the exhaustion of their eligibility. With the four experienced linebackers moving on, Pitt will rely heavily on the contributions of SirVocea Dennis, who has been a star at the position since 2020. But beyond that, the team will need to see younger players step up to fill the void.

As for Pine, he is not currently counted among the top available players at his position in the upcoming NFL draft by outlets such as ESPN, Pro Football Focus or Walter Football. Given that, he will likely need to boost his draft stock with a strong showing at the NFL combine or Pitt’s pro day in the coming months.