2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 52 Pitt Panthers
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Pitt Panthers
No. 52: Pitt Panthers
Pitt Panthers Prespring Status
The two 8-5 seasons weren’t bad under head coach Pat Narduzzi, but this is when it’s all supposed to start kicking in. Last year’s team was good enough to beat Clemson and Penn State, tough enough for four of the five losses to come by a touchdown or less, and explosive enough to destroy the Dukes and Syracuses of the world. There wasn’t any pass defense, the offense was balanced and ultra-efficient, and there were signs of potential greatness – it just didn’t happen quite yet.
Some of the losses are massive, but there’s still hope to improve with the promising players waiting in the wings. Six starters are back on offense, and only four are back on defense, but it’s hard to miss three starters of a secondary that didn’t really fit or produce. However, it’ll be tough to replace …
Pitt Panthers Biggest Issue
The left side of the line. RB James Conner going off early to the NFL doesn’t really matter too much considering the talent behind him, and QB Nathan Peterman’s loss might not be that big a deal if USC transfer Max Browne can shine, but it’ll be impossible to find blockers are good as future NFL starters Adam Bisnowaty at left tackle and Dorian Johnson at left guard. The other three starters are back up front, but it’ll take a while to find the right combination across the board.
Pitt Panthers Biggest Positive
The receiving corps should help the new starting quarterback in a big way. It was more explosive than steady, with leading receiver Jester Weah only catching 36 passes for 870 yards, but there’s plenty of hope among the young corps. Three of the top four receivers in yards are done, but a slew of underclassmen got their feet wet last year and now should start to produce.
Really, Why Are The Pitt Panthers Ranked Here?
There’s a lot not to like. Nine of the top 12 tacklers are gone, Ejuan Price and the top pass rushers are done, and there might be too many missing parts on offense to hope for a big improvement. But again, there’s plenty of hope among last year’s backups, the running game should be fantastic, and the defense won’t be any worse – at least it can’t be against the pass.