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Top 10 returning players at Pittsburgh headlined by DT Calijah Kancey

An embarrassment of riches returns to Pittsburgh this season as their prime returning players had been arduous to restrict to simply 10. Anchored by one of many prime defensive traces in faculty soccer, Pitt has an elite crop of returners this season. Even although they break in a brand new quarterback in Kedon Slovis and misplaced their prime expertise to the switch portal after Jordan Addison jumped to USC, the Pitt Panthers must be a favourite to win the ACC Coastal.

For each different convention’s prime returning players: AAC | ACC | B1G | Big 12 | Conference USA | Independents | MAC | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt

Top 10 returning players at Pittsburgh

We’re counting down all the highest 10 players returning to motion on each staff — we’ll take care of transfers later — from Air Force to Wyoming, from Miami to Hawaii, and all in between. Here are the highest returning players to Pittsburgh.

10) Marquis Williams, CB

Kicking issues off is Marquis Williams, Pitt’s fierce cornerback on the surface. After breaking out in 2020, Williams proved himself but once more in 2021. He recorded an interception and a number of other cross breakups when focused on the surface. Williams sticks with receivers of any body and shows nice motion each in his again pedal or straight-line working.

9) Jared Wayne, WR

It was a particular season final 12 months with Kenny Pickett throwing dimes left and proper. Jared Wayne was on the receiving finish of 47 of these which he changed into 658 yards and 6 touchdowns. Wayne can win in all places on the sphere and from any alignment. He’ll feast on defensive backs downfield together with his capability to separate and has terrific velocity for a person with a 6’3″ body.

8) Brandon Hill, S

It’s a wildly gifted group if Brandon Hill checks in at No. 8. Alas, right here we’re as Hill completed with two interceptions and 6 cross breakups final season. He flew across the secondary, patrolling the intermediate space of the sphere with ease, each in protection and towards the run. Hill brings hit-stick talents towards any ball provider or would-be cross catcher and runs the alley like a linebacker.

7) Erick Hallett II, CB

Dependable in every kind of protection, Erick Hallett made opposing quarterbacks pay for focusing on him so closely in 2021. Hallett recorded a team-high three interceptions and 9 PBUs a season in the past. He’s a ball hawk with nice size for his measurement and greater than sufficient burst to shut on the ball at the catch level.

6) Marcus Minor, G

It’s a dominant offensive line with 5 returning starters, together with left guard Marcus Minor and left deal with Carter Warren, maybe one of many nation’s greatest left deal with/left guard mixtures. Minor is sound in each sides however excels when he’s capable of get in entrance of the dashing assault and pave large dashing lanes. He’s a stable cross protector with nice motion abilities laterally.

5) Carter Warren, OT

The better of the 5 returning starters on the offensive line is definitely Warren, as the massive man is producing authentic NFL draft buzz. Warren strikes effectively in all sides, like the remainder of the returners on the road do, however Warren actually sees success when he can transfer laterally in cross safety and swat away unwillingly cross rushers. At 6’5″, 320 kilos, Warren has wonderful measurement and comes with nice size and a stable basis.

4) Deslin Alexandre, EDGE

Dictating the power of their line of defense, Deslin Alexandre checks in at No. 4 on Pitt’s prime 10 returners. Alexandre ripped by means of for two.5 sacks and 5 tackles for loss final season. He’s proven what he can do in dramatic type over the previous three years as he’s mixed for 11 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, and generated double-digit pressures in every season. A giant man with positional versatility, nobody offensive lineman can comprise Alexandre for an entire recreation.

3) SirVocea Dennis, LB

With spectacular vary and higher instincts, SirVocea Dennis opted to return in 2022 slightly than enter the draft. Dennis brings a fantastic measurement/velocity mixture, as he excels when initiating contact. He’s a bully towards working backs and limits receptions on beneath passes very effectively. Dennis is at his greatest, nonetheless, when he’s capable of blitz by means of the center. He makes use of his instincts to time the snap and his velocity to get previous any unsuspecting lineman with the best of ease.

2) Habakkuk Baldonado, EDGE

A former blended martial artist, the sky is the restrict for Habakkuk Baldonado off the sting. It’s protected to say that nobody understands the way to use their arms higher than Baldonado, as the massive man pressured his approach for a team-high 9 sacks final season. Baldonado is a heavyweight off the sting at 6’5″ and 255 kilos, transferring with the velocity of a lightweight heavyweight. He dominates with quick arms, sooner toes, and an extremely excessive motor.

1) Calijah Kancey, DT

Pressuring quarterbacks up the center grows in significance for a protection when you’ll be able to depend on a participant like Calijah Kancey. He led the staff in tackles for loss final season and dominated when dashing the passer for the second straight 12 months. Kancey now has two remarkably environment friendly seasons towards each the run and the cross. 2022 is trying prefer it might be his absolute best and in the end his final as Kancey may problem for one of many prime inside linemen chosen within the 2023 NFL Draft.

(*10*)Honorable point out players returning to Pitt in 2022

  • John Morgan III, EDGE
  • Israel Abanikanda, RB
  • Gavin Bartholomew, TE
  • Owen Drexel, C
  • Gabe Houy, OT
  • Jake Kradel, G

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can discover his writing right here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.

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