Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
I’ve written before about Pitt’s extreme depth at running back. Led by junior James Conner, the team is stacked with all sorts of talent there. That’s part of the reason why landing four-star running back Darrin Hall last year was somewhat of a surprise to me. After all, the Panthers not only have a lot of depth there, but much of it is younger.
Conner is a junior and could very well leave for the pros early after this year, but the team still has underclassmen Chris James and Qadree Ollison, as well as senior Rachid Ibrahim, backing him up. That’s not even to mention Hall, redshirt freshman Dennis Briggs and senior Jameel Poteat.
To help ‘thin the herd’ a little, head coach Pat Narduzzi is shifting some guys around. Briggs, who looked like a potentially explosive player on offense, is now at cornerback. He is new to the position in college, but played some defensive back in high school as a two-way player, so it’s not completely foreign to him. The Panthers also moved Poteat, who transferred to Pitt last season, to linebacker. Obviously, that one means a little less since he’s only got a year left.
The moves benefit everyone all around. Briggs and Poteat weren’t even going to sniff the field at running back, so they’ll have a legit shot at playing time. The team also adds some depth in the secondary and at linebacker, where they’re replacing some starters.
Even with the roster moves, Pitt still has a lot of depth in the backfield. Many assume that Conner will head to the NFL after this year, but that still leaves the team with James, Ollison, and Hall for 2016. All three were solid recruits and should give the team a quality stable for the next three years if they can stay healthy.
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