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  College Player Notes by School: Pittsburgh  
Previous 25 Pittsburgh Notes Next 25 Pittsburgh Notes

10/16/14 - (WR) - Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-2, 200
Chad Voytik ran for a career-high 118 yards and threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd to help Pittsburgh end a three-game losing streak with a 21-16 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday night. James Conner ran for 85 yards and two scores for the Panthers (4-3, 2-1 ACC), who took control early and held off a late rally by the Hokies. Virginia Tech (4-3, 1-2) trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter but had the ball and a chance to take the lead in the final minutes. Michael Brewer's fourth-down pass to Cam Phillips sailed high and the Panthers ran out the clock. Brewer shook off a slow start to finish with 265 yards passing and a 14-yard score to Phillips, but the Hokies remained winless in four visits to Heinz Field.

Pitt came in reeling, having seen its promising 3-0 start evaporate into puzzling losses to Iowa, Akron and Virginia. Their chance to be any sort of factor in the wide-open Coastal Division on the line, the Panthers responded with a dominant - if not exactly crisp - performance. Relying heavily on its two sophomore stars and the nation's fourth-ranked defense, Pitt took a 14-6 halftime lead. Voytik found Boyd down the seam on the Panthers' second possession and the Boyd did the rest, catching it at the Virginia Tech 30 and sidestepping two defenders on his way to a 53-yard touchdown, Pitt's longest pass play of the season. - AP Sports

10/16/14 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
Scouting the Pitt running game: Pitt's running game has been slowed in recent outings with the Panthers rushing for only 129 yards against Akron and 116 against Virginia in their last two outings. Virginia Tech's defense has held opponents to just under 109 yards a game rushing. PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB James Conner leads the ACC and is fifth nationally in total rushing yards with 874. He has nine rushing touchdowns, which tops the ACC and is seventh nationally. - The Sports Xchange


10/16/14 - (WR) - Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-2, 200
Scouting the Pitt passing game: The Panthers simply haven't gotten enough out of their passing game to take the pressure off their running game despite having one of the nation's top receivers in Tyler Boyd. QB Chad Voytik is averaging only 158 yards a game passing. PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Tyler Boyd is a big-play threat in the receiving game as well as special teams. He leads Pittsburgh in receiving with 30 catches for 428 yards and averages 11.8 on punt returns with a long of 45 yards. - The Sports Xchange


10/16/14 - (SS) - Ray Vinopal, rSr, 5-10, 197
Scouting the Pitt pass defense: Opponents are passing for just over 152 yards a game against Pittsburgh, but Pitt's relatively young secondary has been vulnerable at times. The Panthers have five interceptions and 12 sacks. PLAYERS TO WATCH: FS Ray Vinopal is one of four senior starters on the defense. He is tied with CB Terrish Webb for the team lead in interceptions with two and also has 28 tackles. - The Sports Xchange


10/16/14 - (DT) - Darryl Render, Sr, 6-2, 300
Scouting the Pitt run defense: The Panthers have held their opponents to a respectable 127 yards a game rushing, but gave up 225 yards to Virginia in their last outing. Virginia Tech is averaging 174 yards a game rushing. PLAYERS TO WATCH: DT Darryl Render leads all Pitt down linemen in tackles with 28 stops. He has two sacks. - The Sports Xchange


10/16/14 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
RB James Conner will see time at defensive end against Virginia Tech, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The plan before the season began was for him to be used in pass-rush situations, but so far he has yet to appear on defense. - The Sports Xchange


10/16/14 - (K) - Chris Blewitt, Jr, 5-09, 190
Scouting the Pitt special teams: PK Chris Blewitt has hit on all nine of his field goal attempts this season after going 14-of-18 last year. P Ryan Winslow is averaging less than 40 yards an attempt. WR/PR Tyler Boyd leads the nation with his punt return average of 11.8 yards per attempt. - The Sports Xchange


10/12/14 - (OT) - T.J. Clemmings, rSr, 6-5, 309
SEP 8 ACC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: T.J. Clemmings, Pitt, Sr.-r, OT, 6-6, 315, Teaneck, N.J.,...Clemmings helped spearhead Pitt’s potent rushing attack at Boston College with his blocking up front. The Panthers rolled up 303 rushing yards on 51 carries (5.9 avg.) and did not give up a sack Clemmings has helped Pitt compile 712 rushing yards in its first two contests (356 avg.), the Panthers’ most in consecutive games since 1988. - ACC football


10/12/14 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
SEP 8 ACC OFFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK: James Conner, Pitt, So., RB, 6-2, 250, Erie, Pa.,...Conner was named for the second consecutive week after leading Pitt to a 30-20 win at Boston College by rushing for 214 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries (5.9 avg.). It marked Conner's third consecutive game with more than 100 yards dating back to a 229-yard effort in the 2013 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. During this three-game stretch, Conner has totaled 76 carries for 596 yards (7.8 avg.) and six touchdowns. It is the best three-game rushing performance by a Pitt player since Tony Dorsett closed his 1976 Heisman Trophy campaign with 625 yards and six TDs on 108 carries (208.3 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry) against West Virginia, Penn State and Georgia (Sugar Bowl). - ACC football


10/12/14 - (OG) - Matt Rotheram, rSr, 6-5, 325
SEP 1 ACC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Matt Rotheram, Pitt, Sr., G, 6-6, 335, North Olmsted, Ohio,...Rotheram was Pitt’s top offensive grader in the season opener, helping the Panthers roll up 409 rushing yards (7.3 yards per attempt) and seven rushing TDs. Pitt’s rushing total was its highest single-game effort since the Tony Dorsett era of the mid-1970s. Pitt running backs were not dropped for a loss on any of their 56 carries against Delaware. - ACC football


10/12/14 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
SEP 1 ACC OFFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK: James Conner, Pitt, So., RB, 6-2, 250, Erie, Pa.,...Conner was the catalyst in Pitt’s 62-0 opening day win over Delaware. The sophomore tailback rushed for 153 yards on just 14 carries – an average of nearly 11 yards per attempt – and ran for four touchdowns. Conner, who was not tackled behind the line of scrimmage on any of his carries, is tied for the national scoring lead with an average of 24.0 points per game. His performance helped the Panthers achieve their largest margin of victory in a season opener since 1913 (67-0 over Ohio Northern). - ACC football


10/12/14 - (K) - Chris Blewitt, Jr, 5-09, 190
SEP 8 ACC SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Chris Blewitt, Pitt, So., PK, 5-9, 185, Alexandria, Va.,...Blewitt played a crucial role in Pitt’s victory at Boston College, tying his career high with 12 points. He converted 3-of-3 field goal tries and went 3-of-3 on extra points. Blewitt made field goals of 49, 42 and 41 yards. The 49-yarder marked a career long. Four of Blewitt’s seven kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. - ACC football


09/12/14 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
James Conner rushed for 153 yards and four first-half touchdowns as Pittsburgh ripped Delaware 62-0 on Saturday. Conner scored on runs of 7, 8, 1 and 19 yards as the Panthers opened the season with a victory for the first time under third-year coach Paul Chryst. Pitt pushed the overmatched Blue Hens around, outgaining Delaware 501-64 to post the program's first shutout in nine years. Chad Voytik completed 12 of 15 passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns in his first start, including a 12-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Tyler Boyd that gave the Panthers a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Boyd, who set school freshman records for receptions and receiving yards last fall, left in the second quarter with a dislocated finger in his left hand. Pitt will need Boyd if it wants to make noise in the ACC's wide-open Coastal Division. His presence was hardly required on a day the Panthers dominated Delaware from the first snap to the last. - AP Sports


08/21/14 - (QB) - Chad Voytik, rJr, 6-1, 215
Chad Voytik will be the starting quarterback for Pitt when opens the season on Aug. 30 against Delaware. Coach Paul Chryst officially announced Voytik as the starter on Thursday after watching Voytik separate himself from Trey Anderson during the two-plus weeks of training camp. Voytik took all the snaps with the first string during camp and impressed Chryst with Voytik's preparation. "I think he's proud, and he should be, of the work he's done," Chryst said of Voytik.

The sophomore played in three games for Pitt last fall, including the entire second half in a 30-27 victory over Bowling Green in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl. He appeared to have the job locked down after a solid spring but Chryst wanted to get a fuller picture of Voytik's development before making a final decision. "It feels good," Voytik said. "I have been getting the (first-team) reps, but being named is an honor and I am just so excited to play in nine days." Through his first training camp taking snaps with the first team, Voytik said his timing was the most improved aspect of his game. "That comes with learning the offense," Voytik said. "I think staying in my rhythm and knowing when to escape, those are really things that I have improved on and now I can be a pocket passer and still get out of the pocket when I need to." - AP Sports

08/20/14 - (QB) - Chad Voytik, rJr, 6-1, 215
Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst isn't saying much about his starting quarterback competition. Maybe that's because Chryst's decisions on who gets the snaps in practice is doing all the talking for him. Sophomore Chad Voytik took the majority of the reps with the first team during a scrimmage over the weekend, and it's almost certain he'll be the one under center when the Panthers open the 2014 season on Aug. 30 against Delaware. While Chryst stressed Voytik is "still learning," the coach has been impressed with his command of the offense during camp. "I've never been around a quarterback who doesn't go through growing pains," Chryst said. "But he's a knowledgeable player. I think he's got a good knowledge base and he's working to keep it growing."

Voytik redshirted in 2012 and took his first reps in 2013, playing in three regular season games. A lot of that time was spent learning Chryst's system and preparing for the day he would take over. Chryst, who won a state title as a high school quarterback in Wisconsin, has taken over duties as quarterbacks coach. The list of his proteges include Derek Anderson at Oregon State and 2014 Super Bowl-winner Russell Wilson at Wisconsin. - AP Sports

08/06/14 - (WR) - Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-2, 200
2014 PRESEASON MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST: Tyler Boyd, Pitt Wide, Receiver, Sophomore...Boyd (Clairton, Pa./Clairton) was the nation's most productive freshman receiver last year, compiling 85 catches for 1,174 yards (13.8 avg.) and seven touchdowns. He set Pitt freshman records for receptions and yards, eclipsing marks held by Larry Fitzgerald (who had 69 catches for 1,005 yards in 2002). Boyd also set the ACC record for freshman receptions, topping the mark held by Clemson's Sammy Watkins (82 catches in 2011). - Pitt football


08/06/14 - (WR) - Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-2, 200
2014 PRESEASON BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH LIST: Tyler Boyd, University of Pittsburgh, So.,...Boyd (Clairton, Pa./Clairton) was the nation's most productive freshman receiver last year, compiling 85 catches for 1,174 yards (13.8 avg.) and seven touchdowns. He set Pitt freshman records for receptions and yards, eclipsing marks held by Larry Fitzgerald (who had 69 catches for 1,005 yards in 2002). Boyd also set the ACC record for freshman receptions, topping the mark held by Clemson's Sammy Watkins (82 catches in 2011).

Boyd closed his freshman season with a magnificent performance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, compiling 242 all-purpose yards to help the Panthers defeat Bowling Green, 30-27. He had eight catches for a career-high 173 yards (21.6 avg.) and added a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown. Boyd's receiving yardage against Bowling Green set a Pitt bowl record, surpassing the mark of 163 set by Gordon Jones in the Dec. 30, 1977, Gator Bowl against Clemson. His punt return TD was Pitt's first since Darrelle Revis had a 73-yarder vs. West Virginia in 2006. - Pitt football

08/06/14 - (C) - Artie Rowell, rSr, 6-1, 310
2014 PRESEASON RIMINGTON TROPHY AWARD WATCH LIST: Artie Rowell, Pittsburgh, Junior... One of four returning starters on Pitt's offensive front, Rowell is considered the glue of the unit. He started all 13 games last season and earned postseason media praise for his performance in the Panthers' 30-27 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl win over Bowling Green. In that game, Pitt churned out 487 yards despite playing with an injury-plagued offensive line. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Rowell was a four-year starter on both sides of the ball at Central Dauphin High School. He was selected first team All-State Class AAAA by the Pennsylvania Sports Writers and Pennsylvania Football News first team All-Class AAAA as a senior. - Pitt football


08/06/14 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
2014 PRESEASON MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST: James Conner, Pitt, Running Back, Sophomore...Conner (Erie, Pa./McDowell) led Pitt in rushing yards (799) and rushing touchdowns (eight), becoming the first freshman to lead the Panthers in those two categories since Dion Lewis in 2009. He averaged 5.5 yards on 146 carries in 12 games (missing the Oct. 19 Old Dominion game due to injury). Conner's most memorable performance came in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl when he rushed for 229 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries (8.8 avg.).

His rushing yardage set a Pitt bowl record, eclipsing Tony Dorsett's 202 yards vs. Georgia in the Jan. 1, 1977, Sugar Bowl. Conner also contributed as a pass rushing specialist vs. Bowling Green, drawing a key holding call on the Falcons' final possession, and was named the bowl's MVP. - Pitt football

08/06/14 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
2014 PRESEASON DOAK WALKER AWARD WATCH LIST: James Conner (So.), Pittsburgh...Conner (Erie, Pa./McDowell) led Pitt in rushing yards (799) and rushing touchdowns (eight), becoming the first freshman to lead the Panthers in those two categories since Dion Lewis in 2009. He averaged 5.5 yards on 146 carries in 12 games (missing the Oct. 19 Old Dominion game due to injury). - Pitt football


08/06/14 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
2014 PRESEASON PAUL HORNUNG AWARD WATCH LIST: James Conner, Pittsburgh...Conner (Erie, Pa./McDowell) led Pitt in rushing yards (799) and rushing touchdowns (eight), becoming the first freshman to lead the Panthers in those two categories since Dion Lewis in 2009. He averaged 5.5 yards on 146 carries in 12 games (missing the Oct. 19 Old Dominion game due to injury). - Pitt football


08/06/14 - (WR) - Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-2, 200
2014 PRESEASON PAUL HORNUNG AWARD WATCH LIST: Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh...Boyd (Clairton, Pa./Clairton) was the nation's most productive freshman receiver last year, compiling 85 catches for 1,174 yards (13.8 avg.) and seven touchdowns. He set Pitt freshman records for receptions and yards, eclipsing marks held by Larry Fitzgerald (who had 69 catches for 1,005 yards in 2002). Boyd also set the ACC record for freshman receptions, topping the mark held by Clemson's Sammy Watkins (82 catches in 2011). - Pitt football


08/01/14 - (CB) - Titus Howard, Jr, 6-1, 178
Pittsburgh sophomore defensive back Titus Howard has been suspended for the 2014 season by coach Paul Chryst. Chryst cited disciplinary reasons when handing out the suspension Friday. Howard played in 11 games as a freshman last year, finishing with 21 tackles and two pass breakups. Chryst said Howard, who is from Clairton, Pennsylvania, will remain with the program and can participate in practice. - AP Sports


07/24/14 - (OT) - T.J. Clemmings, rSr, 6-5, 309
Pittsburgh's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 1. OT T.J. Clemmings...A converted defensive end who didn't make the switch to OT until during Bowl prep week in 2012, but started all 13 games for Pitt in 2013 at right tackle, Clemmings demonstrates fluidity, quickness and athleticism that are ideal for a next-level tackle, though he looks more the part of a left tackle prospect than a right tackle considering his finesse style and leaner frame. He utilizes long arms and a rapid, fluid kick-slide to stall and mirror opponents on the edge, and considering his lack of experience on the O-line, is surprisingly consistent with his technique - particularly his footwork.

He shows good natural flexibility in his lower half to bend on contact, and as a run blocker can fire through to the second level where he has the ability to square up and target effectively in space. He needs to improve hand placement as a pass-blocker, and will drop his shoulder and head on contact at times, but the athleticism and ability to pick things up quickly are both apparent. Could be a guy who rises rapidly leading up to the draft, with a strong senior season. - Derek Stephens, NFLDraftScout.com

07/24/14 - (RB) - Isaac Bennett, Sr, 5-11, 205
Other Pittsburgh prospects to watch in 2014: RB Isaac Bennett...Started 13 games for Pitt at tailback in 2013, posting 797 rushing yards on 71 carries (4.7 ypc), and also snagged 10 passes for 58 yards and a TD. Demonstrates quick feet, toughness and good hands out of the backfield, but exhibits only marginal burst and lacks top-end speed to pull away. - Derek Stephens, NFLDraftScout.com


Previous 25 Pittsburgh Notes Next 25 Pittsburgh Notes

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