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Pitt RB coach Andre Powell said that the staff was "really encouraged" by redshirt junior RB James Conner's performance in scrimmage on Saturday.

The Panthers continue to monitor and limit Conner's touches as he makes his way back from a torn MCL and Hodgkin's lymphoma (on both fronts, he is said to be doing well health-wise), but these limitations are of the precautionary nature only. To wit, Powell said that there is "no doubt about it" that the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder will start the season-opener against Villanova. He rumbled his way to 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns during a healthy 2014 campaign. Just how much Pittsburgh places on his plate initially remains to be seen.
Source: ESPN.com
Aug 22 - 4:00 PM

Pitt HC Pat Narduzzi recently noted that redshirt junior RB James Conner could be worked into the passing game more in 2016.

If Conner can bump his catch-production from "non-existent" to "on occasion," that would count as an improvement. Through 26 games, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder has just nine receptions to his fair name. Even in his breakout 2014 season, Conner only hauled in five. All signs point to a healthy return come the start of the 2016 campaign, as he has slayed both a torn MCL and Hodgkins lymphoma over the last almost-year.
Source: ESPN.com
Aug 8 - 12:40 PM

Pittsburgh sophomore S Jordan Whitehead is "already a really good player," says an anonymous ACC coach.

"Whitehead, the freshman defensive back, really caught our eye, and they also used him on offense some at the end of the season," he said. Over the winter, ESPN's Travis Haney wrote that Whitehead could become the Panthers' best secondary piece since Darrelle Revis. Rival coaches also showered praise on the Panthers defense as a whole. "They are a solid, sound football team that is really tough to prepare for because [Pat] Narduzzi is so multiple in the defensive looks they give you, and they have some good talent," a different coach said.
Aug 5 - 5:58 PM

Pittsburgh senior QB Nathan Peterman impressed a rival ACC coach with his 2015 play.

"I was impressed with the way Nathan Peterman stepped up and took control of the team," he said. "He was an unknown quantity, but he kept it simple and didn’t make a lot of mistakes. He’s not real flashy but he did a nice job managing the game." The 6-foot-2, 221-pounder is a pure game manager. He completed 61.5-percent of his passes (second in the ACC) for 2,287 yards and a 20/8 TD/INT rate last year.
Aug 4 - 8:12 PM

A rival ACC coach believes Pitt redshirt sophomore RB Qadree Ollison is "nowhere near the talent" level of senior RB James Conner.

The coach was speaking on the basis of anonymity. Ollison was named the ACC offensive freshman of the year in 2015 after taking over for the injured Conner. He finished the season with 1,121 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, but is expected to back up Conner if the latter can return from both a knee injury and Hodgkin lymphoma. Pitt's offense ran through Tyler Boyd last year, but it will run through the backfield in 2016.
Aug 2 - 11:37 AM

Pittsburgh HC Pat Narduzzi said that redshirt junior RB James Conner (knee/lymphoma) will be a full participant in August camp.

"We just have to monitor him a little bit, make sure we don't wear him out," Narduzzi said. "We have to be smart. You let him go out there for a two-a-day, but you don't have him out there every snap." Pitt will be monitoring him in a unique way, too -- he will wear a GPS device designed to track his movements and pace in practice, in order to help give Narduzzi and friends an idea of how he is progressing and when he might need a breather. Conner is on the mend from a traumatic 2015 season in which he tore his MCL in September and was subsequently diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma.
Source: ESPN.com
Jul 26 - 12:12 PM

Pittsburgh redshirt junior RB James Conner wrote at length about his experiences of battling lymphoma for the Players Tribune.

Conner has been working out this summer and is focused on his conditioning ahead of summer practice opening in August. The running back consistently pointed out that his return to the field against Villanova "is not going to be James Conner versus Villanova," but rather a team game. Conner tore his MCL last September and a cancer diagnosis followed, however, he rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2014.
Jul 25 - 10:39 AM

Pittsburgh sophomore S Jordan Whitehead played in 85 percent of the defensive snaps as a true freshman.

Pro Football Focus graded Whitehead sixth-best overall among returning safeties. Whitehead ranked No. 2 with 15 run stops when playing in the box and he additionally had a very strong coverage grade. PFF also recently ranked Whitehead as the No. 70 overall player in college football.
Jul 10 - 12:24 PM

Pittsburgh redshirt junior RB James Conner (knee/lymphoma) finished with Pro Football Focus' No. 3 rushing grade in 2014, his last healthy campaign.

Conner completed his chemotherapy sessions to treat Hodgkins lymphoma and is expected to take the field in the opener. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder is also coming off a torn MCL last September. Last we saw him for a healthy campaign, Conner forced 88 missed tackles, the most PFF has ever tracked. Conner is the No. 78 player in PFF's college football player rankings.
Jul 8 - 6:00 PM

Pitt redshirt junior RB James Conner indicated that he is focusing on his conditioning.

"I’m just trying to get my body back in shape, just running, trying to get my endurance, my wind back. Just regular team workouts with our strength and conditioning coach," Conner told ESPN, "just trying to get back on little things and just work on my endurance." Earlier this offseason, he completed his chemotherapy sessions to treat Hodgkins lymphoma. His cancer is currently in remission. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder also tore his MCL last September, so it shouldn't be considered a surprise that he still has work to do when it comes to a return to true game-shape. Barring a complication with his health over the next two months, he should be ready to roll for the season-opener against Villanova the first weekend of September.
Source: ESPN.com
Jun 20 - 2:35 PM

Four-star 2017 RB Todd Sibley, formerly committed to Ohio State, flipped to Pittsburgh.

Sibley pledged to the Panthers following an unofficial visit. "It was a one day visit," Sibley said. "A lot of things stood out. One thing that really got my attention was all the NFL access they have. They share the field with the Steelers and eat with the players and stuff." Sibley is a top-20 running back recruit.
Jun 15 - 6:30 PM

Pittsburgh sophomore S Jordan Whitehead is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

Whitehead had an arthroscopic procedure performed to repair the meniscus in his left knee. There is never a good time to undergo knee surgery, but the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder hit a decent window, here, as he should be ready for August camp. Last season, Whitehead recorded 110 tackles (7.0 for loss), 0.5 sacks, an interception and six passes defended. In January, ESPN's Travis Haney wrote that Whitehead is on the progressive tract to become the Panthers' best secondary piece since Darrelle Revis.
Jun 12 - 12:09 PM

Former Pittsburgh and current Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd said Pittsburgh sophomore S Jordan Whitehead is "going to be real great."

"You can put him anywhere on the field and he's going to execute no matter what," Boyd said. Whitehead was named the ACC's Rookie and Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 after accruing 108 tackles and six pass breakups. On offense, just for fun, he logged 122 rushing yards (10.2 yards a carry) and two scores with 10 receiving yards.
Jun 2 - 4:41 PM

Pitt redshirt junior RB James Conner told reporters, "Honestly, it felt like I got drafted [after receiving the call that his cancer was in remission]."

"I was with Tyler [Boyd] on draft night and seeing him wait for the call. I felt the same," Conner said. "I was waiting for a phone call. But this is better. ... This is my life." The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder plans on being ready for the start of August camp, but stressed that his medical team will be with him every step of the way. "I'm happy. I'm celebrating, but we still have to stay on top of it and still be smart because I have to get my body back." In addition to his fight against Hodgkins lymphoma, Conner has been rehabbing from a torn MCL suffered in the season-opener last September. Pitt plays Villanova to open the 2016 season.
Source: NFL.com
May 25 - 1:01 PM

Pitt redshirt junior RB James Conner plans to be on the field for the opening of preseason camp in August.

Conner announced yesterday that he has been cleared of Hodgkins lymphoma after undergoing numerous rounds of chemotherapy. The fact that Conner will be ready for camp is no surprise; not because it isn't impressive, but because of the resiliency Conner showed throughout this entire process. Conner was even working with teammates on the field between chemotherapy treatments this spring. He could be the starter in the school's opening game.
May 24 - 10:16 AM


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