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Pittsburgh's projected starting RT, redshirt sophomore Jaryd Jones-Smith, will miss the season due to a right knee injury.

The injury was suffered during offseason activities. Jones-Smith started three games at left tackle last season and was expected to replace T.J. Clemmings on the right side. Like Clemmings, Jones-Smith offers immense size at 6'6/335 lbs. The Panthers have not had the offseason they were hoping for under new head coach Pat Narduzzi.
Jul 2 - 10:51 AM

NFL Media draft analyst Chad Reuter writes that Pittsburgh redshirt junior CB Lafayette Pitts "might be average in stature, but the NFL requires toughness and attitude at the cornerback position -- and Pitts has plenty of both."

"Mark him down as a third-round pick (or higher) if he continues to improve in his discipline and playmaking ability in coverage as he did from his sophomore to junior years," Reuter wrote. Pitts is entering his fourth year as the starter. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Pitts posted 39 tackles, six pass break-ups and two interceptions last season. He's currently viewed as a Day 2 prospect.
Source: NFL.com
Jun 29 - 9:45 PM

Pittsburgh DC Josh Conklin believes his CBs need to play with "a lot of swag."

Conklin is entering his first season with Pitt after coaching with FIU and helping turn that defense into a top 35 unit by some measurements. Whereas many collegiate defenses utilize off corners, Conklin takes a different approach. "We’re going to play on the line of scrimmage 95 percent of the time with the corners, so you better be able to bring it and bring it every single day," he told ESPN's David Hale. The position should be emphasized under Conklin's coaching.
Source: ESPN
Jun 29 - 12:08 PM

NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein ranks Pittsburgh junior RB James Conner as the No. 5 running back in the nation.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Connor rushed for 1,765 yards and scored 26 touchdowns last season. "[Connor] doesn't look like he's moving very quickly and isn't particularly elusive, but he is more than happy to play the role of battering ram," Zierlein wrote. "When defenses wear down -- and they almost always do -- Conner takes full advantage chewing up chunks of yards at a time. Conner created 71 missed and broken tackles last year and was as good as any runner in the nation at finishing near the endzone with a total of 26 rushing touchdowns. When the NFL comes calling, Conner might need to trim down and increase his quickness." Conner earned ACC Player of the Year and First Team All-American honors in 2014, and if he takes another step forward, he may be in New York for the Heisman presentation next winter.
Source: NFL.com
Jun 25 - 5:06 PM

NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein ranks Pittsburgh junior WR Tyler Boyd as his No.1 wideout to watch in College Football.

"The junior wideout has been heavily targeted since he stepped foot on campus with 250 targets over his first two seasons at Pitt. Boyd plays with outstanding body control and has an ability to gyrate and contort in the air in order to make circus catches look easy. Boyd is highly competitive and highly confident. Starting quarterback Chad Voytik returns, which is noteworthy since Boyd and Voytik hit their stride over the second half of last season," Zierlein wrote. The Pittsburgh prospect was a versatile play maker for the Panthers in 2014, recording 78 receptions for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns, while being the team's leading return man on special teams. With another solid season in 2015, Boyd looks headed straight for the first round of the NFL Draft.
Source: NFL.com
Jun 24 - 3:03 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler believes Pittsburgh redshirt junior CB Lafayette Pitts "has a chance to secure a draft pick with a consistent senior year."

"He also isn't shy about talking at the line of scrimmage, doing his best to get in the head of wide receivers. Pitts, who has shed 17 pounds this off-season, is reportedly in great shape for his final season at Pitt and under the tutelage of Narduzzi, he has a chance to secure a draft pick with a consistent senior year," Brugler wrote. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Pitts posted 39 tackles, six pass break-ups and two interceptions last season. The three-year starter has 38 starts in his career as a Panther and brings a high level of confidence to the cornerback position for Pittsburgh. TFY Draft Insider Tony Pauline gives Pitts a second/third round draft grade.
Source: CBS Sports
Jun 18 - 3:40 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler notes that "NFL scouts are skeptical about" Pittsburgh junior RB James Conner's "transition and role at the next level."

"Conner, who is beloved within the Pitt program for his work ethic and leadership, doesn't have the speed or twitchy moves to consistently make defenders miss and create his own yardage with elusiveness, but he runs decisive and makes it a chore on tacklers to get him on the ground. Conner is the favorite to again win ACC Player of the Year honors this season, although NFL scouts are skeptical about his transition and role at the next level," Brugler wrote. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound bruiser has been super productive for the Nittany Lions, in 2014 he rushed for 1,765 yards, with a whopping 26 touchdowns (ACC Record) earning ACC Player of the Year and First Team All-American honors.
Source: CBS Sports
Jun 18 - 2:35 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler notes that "there are similarities on film between" Pittsburgh junior WR Tyler Boyd and Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor.

"He does need to continue to get stronger for the NFL as he lacks the body power to consistently fight through tackle attempts and is disappointing as a blocker. Boyd's off-field decision-making also needs vetted after a DUI arrest earlier this month, which will likely lead to some type of suspension to begin the 2015 season. Philadelphia Eagles first round pick Nelson Agholor has a little more twitch and Boyd is more detailed, but there are similarities on film between the two wide receivers," Brugler wrote. The Pittburgh prospect was quite productive in 2014, hauling in 78 receptions for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns. Boyd also excelled on special teams as a return man, posting a 27.6 yard kickoff return average, while averaging 10.1 yard punt return average. While Boyd's arrest will cause some concern, he still has a chance to preserve his draft stock if he keeps himself out of trouble and has another productive year.
Source: CBS Sports
Jun 18 - 2:09 PM

Pittsburgh junior WR Tyler Boyd's charge on DUI is expected to be formalized on Tuesday.

Jefferson Hills (Pa.) police chief Eugene Roach said the department will "file DUI and other summary offenses Tuesday against" the 20-year-old (the courts were closed Monday because of Flag Day). The additional offenses will include underage drinking and what was described as "various vehicle code violations." Boyd was pulled over Friday. He told police he took two shots shortly before getting behind the wheel. Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi said that Boyd "will be held accountable to our internal standards of discipline and behavior." Stay tuned.
Jun 15 - 11:33 PM

Pittsburgh junior WR Tyler Boyd was charged and arrested for DUI early Friday morning, according to Richie Walsh.

Boyd is only 20 years old, so once he tested positive for alcohol following a breathalyzer he was arrested. He told police he only consumed two shots. "Certainly, he will be held accountable to our internal standards of discipline and behavior," head coach Pat Narduzzi said. To add to the story, Walsh tweeted "Nobody at Pitt had any idea about Tyler Boyd's arrest until I called." Boyd is considered one of the top draft-eligible receivers in the country.
Jun 13 - 7:08 PM

Pittsburgh junior WR Tyler Boyd is "a great all-around player who can makes plays anywhere on the field, both as a big-play threat and a reliable possession receiver," notes Sports on Earth's Matt Brown.

Pittsburgh attempted only 23.7 passes per game last year -- you've heard of James Conner, yeah? -- but Boyd had 78 catches for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns anyway (amazingly, no other Panther caught more than 21). "At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Boyd is a fluid athlete who also excelled late last season on kick returns," Brown wrote. "He's a pure wide receiving talent." Boyd's 27.6-yard kickoff return average ranked 10th in the NCAA last year.
Jun 12 - 5:26 PM

NFL Media notes that "defensive coordinators and special-teams coaches have to account for [Pittsburgh junior WR Tyler Boyd] in four different ways."

"Along with being one of the most prolific wide receivers in the country (78 catches, 1,261 yards), Boyd handles both return jobs for the Panthers, as well," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Chase Goodbread. Boyd's 27.6-yard kickoff return average ranked 10th in the NCAA last year. He's also a good punt returner and a good bet to receive a gadget carry or two per game.
Source: NFL.com
Jun 9 - 11:09 PM

Pittsburgh HC Pat Narduzzi's "already got an offense that can hold its own within the ACC, and he’s been charged with fixing what his specialty entails: the Pitt defense," notes the Sport Quotient.

Narduzzi, the old Michigan State DC, is replacing former Pitt coach Paul Chryst, who bolted for his Alma mater, Wisconsin. Pittsburgh defense ranked 11th in the ACC in scoring defense (11th) last year, and finishing poorly in rush defense (8th) and total defense (8th). It also was infective in getting to the QB (ranked T-103rd in sacks) and creating turnovers (T-116th). "Clearly that’s where Narduzzi must prove his worth as his Spartan defense ranked third in the country at forcing turnovers (34) and tied for ninth in the country in sacks (42)," wrote SQ.
Jun 8 - 6:12 PM

ESPN's Matt Fortuna argued that Pittsburgh will be the most improved ACC team that had a losing record last year.

In non-conference play, first-time coach Pat Narduzzi should get a couple of quick wins with Youngstown State and Akron scheduled out of the gate. The Panthers will also play Iowa and Notre Dame. The schools boasts reigning ACC player of the year RB James Conner and future first-round WR Tyler Boyd. Defensively, the best unit is the defensive backs, which welcomes back 2014 starters Lafayette Pitts, Reggie Mitchell and Avonte Maddox. "A half-dozen teams are in need of immediate improvement in 2015, but few might have the tools necessary to make that leap the way Pitt does as it undergoes another regime change," wrote Fortuna.
Source: ESPN.com
Jun 4 - 12:45 PM

ESPN's Jared Sanker believes Pittsburgh junior RB James Conner will be more productive in 2015 because quarterback Chad Voytik "should present more of an aerial threat to complement the ground attack."

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Connor rushed for 1,765 yards and scored 26 touchdowns last season and was named an All-American. He's been a star since he stepped onto campus and has moonlighted as an effective defensive end when he has the energy to do so. NFL Media ranked Conner as the No. 14 Heisman candidate.
Source: ESPN.com
May 29 - 9:48 PM


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