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Pitt receiver John Vardzel enters transfer portal

North Carolina v Pittsburgh Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Pitt wide receiver John Vardzel entered the NCAA transfer portal on Thursday, bringing an end to a four-year stint with the team. The former walk-on was placed on scholarship in 2020, but he spent his entire Pitt career as a reserve and special teams player.

“I would like to thank Coach Narduzzi, my teammates and the rest if the coaching staff at the University of Pittsburgh,” Vardzel said in a Twitter post. “After careful consideration and constant prayer, I have decided to enter the transfer portal as a grad transfer with two years of eligibility remaining.”

Vardzel arrived at Pitt from North Allegheny High School in 2018, having chosen to remain in the Pittsburgh area rather than take up Georgetown on an offer to play at the FCS level. At the time, that was the only other offer that Vardzel had received.

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2018, Vardzel began playing as a reserve wide receiver and as a contributor to the Pitt special teams unit in 2019. That year, he returned five punts for seven yards and caught three passes for six yards. He would be rewarded a scholarship in 2020, but from that point on, he saw his role on the team diminish. All told, Vardzel played in 35 games and recorded five receptions for 17 yards and two tackles in addition to his punt-return work.

The departure of Vardzel lowers the number of scholarship players on Pitt’s roster to 86. That leaves the program one over the limit, which is 85, meaning another departure is likely in the offing. As for Vardzel, it is unclear where he might end up. However, of the 11 other Pitt players who have transferred out of the program since the start of the 2021 season, six have ended up at FCS programs and only two have remained at the Power Five level.