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

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


07/24/14 - (OLB) - Todd Thomas, rSr, 6-2, 230
Other Pittsburgh prospects to watch in 2014: OLB Todd Thomas...Athletic linebacker with 23 career starts at the "Will" spot, who tallied 72 tackles, six TFLs and two QB hurries as a junior. Has had some health issues in the past, and has been inconsistent in coverage, but has the natural talent to compete for an NFL roster spot. - Derek Stephens, NFLDraftScout.com


07/24/14 - (FS) - Ray Vinopal, rSr, 5-10, 200
Other Pittsburgh prospects to watch in 2014: FS Ray Vinopal...Former Michigan transfer who started all 13 games for the Panthers last year while earning All-ACC Honorable Mention status, and was the team's second leading tackler with 83 stops while tallying three TFLs and a sack. He was also the team's leader with three interceptions and added six pass breakups. Vinopal's instincts, awareness and overall fundamentals are solid, and he demonstrates good timing and anticipation to make plays on the ball, but his lack of size and speed could hurt his draft prospects. A continued demonstration of versatility and consistency could earn him a chance though. - Derek Stephens, NFLDraftScout.com


05/27/14 - (C) - Artie Rowell, rJr, 6-2, 305
2014 RIMINGTON TROPHY SPRING WATCHLIST: Artie Rowell, Pittsburgh, Junior...Rowell (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) is one of 64 Division-I players on the Rimington Trophy Watch List. Rowell started every game at center last season and garnered All-Bowl Team recognition from NFL.com and CollegeFootballNews.com for his performance in Pitt's 30-27 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl victory over Bowling Green by helping Pitt produce 487 yards of total offense (255 rushing and 232 passing). Rowell is one of seven players from the Atlantic Coast Conference to be named to the Rimington Watch List. - Pitt football


05/13/14 - (P) - Matt Yoklic, rSr, 6-3, 209
Falcons Add 20 College Free Agents: Yoklic, 6-4, 220 pounds, averaged a career-high 43.0 yards per punt to rank third in the ACC as a senior at Pittsburgh in 2013. He totaled 70 punts for 3,008 yards, had 19 total punts downed inside the 20, and 19 punts of 50-plus yards in his final season with the Panthers. Yoklic earned all-conference academic honors all four seasons after joining the team as a walk on. He is a Gibsonia, PA native and was an All-Quad North punter at Pine-Richland High where he averaged 39.5 yards per punt as a senior. - Atlanta Falcons


05/13/14 - (QB) - Tom Savage, rSr, 6-4, 228
2014 NFL DRAFT BEST VALUE PICK: HOUSTON TEXANS: Round 4/135 -- Tom Savage, QB, 6-4, 235, Pittsburgh...The well-traveled Savage was outstanding as a true freshman at Rutgers and exceptional as a senior at Pitt. He went 1,024 days without playing because he missed three seasons while transferring. Good size, big arm, solid mechanics. He will be coached hard and won't be rushed into the lineup. - The Sports Xchange


05/13/14 - (WR) - Devin Street, rSr, 6-3, 198
2014 NFL DRAFT BEST VALUE PICK: DALLAS COWBOYS: Round 5/146 -- Devin Street, WR, 6-3, 198, Pittsburgh...Street is a big, athletic receiver who can high point the ball. There are concerns about his speed, but he was very productive in college. He played in 49 games during his collegiate career, starting 40 and totaling 202 receptions for 2,901 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Cowboys had a third-round grade on the playmaking receiver from Pittsburgh and got him in the fifth round. He will give them insurance for outside receivers Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. He also can play inside. - The Sports Xchange


05/12/14 - (QB) - Tom Savage, rSr, 6-4, 228
A closer look at the Texans' picks: Round 4/135 - Tom Savage, QB, 6-4, 235, Pittsburgh...The well-traveled Savage was outstanding as a true freshman at Rutgers and exceptional as a senior at Pitt. Went 1,024 days without playing because he missed three seasons while transferring. Good size, big arm, solid mechanics. Will be coached hard and won't be rushed into lineup. - The Sports Xchange


05/12/14 - (QB) - Tom Savage, rSr, 6-4, 228
Quarterback Ryan Mallett was the subject of rumors and reports of a potential trade on the afternoon prior to the first round of the NFL Draft. One report indicated that a deal was quite close to finalization to send the fourth-year backup to the Texans, where he'd be reunited with former Patriots offensive coordinator and now Houston head coach Bill O'Brien. Belichick was subsequently asked during his day-one draft press conference if he'd had any discussions about trading Mallett. "Why don't you talk to whoever wrote the story?" Belichick responded tersely, referencing the original report on CSNNE.com. "Since that person has all the answers, go talk to them." Numerous reports have since said that no trade discussions ever took place between the two team and Houston went on to draft quarterback Tom Savage on the third day of the draft. - The Sports Xchange


05/12/14 - (DT) - Aaron Donald, Sr, 6-1, 285
A closer look at the Rams' picks: Round 1/13 - Aaron Donald, DT, 6-1, 285, Pittsburgh...Donald is a fierce penetrator and had 28.5 tackles for loss last season. He doesn't have great size, but his quickness allows him to make plays. The Rams will likely use him to start out on passing downs. Some have compared him to standout Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins. - The Sports Xchange


05/12/14 - (DT) - Aaron Donald, Sr, 6-1, 285
Snead said the Rams were so glad to get Donald that they never considered trading down. "We're jacked with the pick," he said. "He's very productive and way ahead at this point in hand use. He's an impressive young man." Although Donald is 6-foot-1, 285 pounds, Snead said he won't be asked to get bigger. "His game isn't size," Snead said. "He's short, but that helps him get leverage. Getting bigger wouldn't help him. His game is not size. His game is to penetrate." And that he did, totaling 66 tackles for loss in four seasons at Pittsburgh, including 28.5 in 2013. For his part, Donald said he's "excited" to be with the Rams. "They have the best defensive line in the NFL and I'm pumped up to be a part of it," he said. "I can't wait to get with the coaches and get to work." - The Sports Xchange


05/11/14 - (WR) - Devin Street, rSr, 6-3, 198
A closer look at the Cowboys' picks: Round 5/146 -- Devin Street, WR, 6-3, 198, Pittsburgh...A big athletic receiver who can high point the ball. There are concerns about his speed but he was very productive in college. He played in 49 games during his collegiate career, starting 40 and totaling 202 receptions for 2,901 yards and 16 touchdowns. - The Sports Xchange


05/08/14 - (DT) - Aaron Donald, Sr, 6-1, 285
2014 DRAFT SCOUT FINAL TOP 100: 10/1. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh, 6-1, 285, 4.62, 1...Short but not small at 6-foot, 3/4 inches, 285 pounds, Donald was the most dominant defensive college football player in 2013 after totaling 59 tackles, including 28.5 for a loss, 11 sacks, 16 QB hurries, four forced fumbles and a blocked extra point. He received the whole list of famous name awards to commemorate his season. Despite an array of schemes designed to slow him down, Donald was an unblockable force. He followed that season with great Senior Bowl workout and then stole the show at the combine where he blasted through 40 yards in 4.68, had a 32-inch vertical and benched 225 pounds 35 times. Frankly: Donald is a can't-miss, hyperactive disrupter who dazes opponents at the snap with a dazzling John Randle-type skill set. Unlike Randle, who went undrafted then made Hall of Fame, Donald will begin his career as a first round pick, says here. - Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com


05/08/14 - (QB) - Tom Savage, rSr, 6-4, 228
2014 DRAFT SCOUT FINAL TOP 100: 45/5. Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh, 6-4, 228, 4.97, 2...Traveling Tom transferred twice (from Rutgers, Arizona) and sat out two seasons (2011, 2012) in search of optimum situation, then struggled last season on a team that didn't give him a lot of protection. Savage has excellent size and an NFL-caliber arm. It is important to know what date of game is on films because as the 2013 season progressed so did his ability to understand how to accept the check-down instead of the sack. Note this: When Savage was a freshman at Rutgers in 2010, NFLDraftScout.com rated Savage as the No. 5 quarterback in the 2014 draft, right where he is now. Frankly: Big guy with a big arm who shows a grasp of the pro-style game and if he gets the time and tutoring necessary he might surprise those who lost track of him after two years out of the game. In weathering a rough start last season he showed maturity that was missing earlier career. - Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com


05/07/14 - (SS) - Jason Hendricks, rSr, 5-11, 182
2014 NFL Draft: 126 FBS programs, 126 possible UDFAs: PITTSBURGH: SS Jason Hendricks (5-11, 182, 4.83)...After poor numbers at his pro day (4.83 40-yard dash, seven reps), Hendricks will likely go undrafted, but he led Pitt in tackles the past two seasons and boasts eight career interceptions. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com


05/06/14 - (DT) - Aaron Donald, Sr, 6-1, 285
Dane Brugler's 2014 NFL Draft Final Top-50: 12. Aaron Donald DT, Pittsburgh (6-1, 285, 4.68, SR)...While Clowney received most of the publicity, Donald had the best Combine performance among the defensive linemen with a 4.68 40-yard dash, 32 vertical jump and 35 reps on the bench press. He's a prototypical 3-technique with disruptive ability. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com


05/06/14 - (DT) - Aaron Donald, Sr, 6-1, 285
Five players who should be on the Minnesota Vikings' draft radar...DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh: The Vikings invested big dollars ($31.5 million over five years) in Joseph and a first-round pick a year ago in Sharrif Floyd but neither is a premium pass-rusher like Donald, who is earning comparisons from some to Vikings' Hall of Famer John Randle. Like Randle, Donald is a virtual Energizer Bunny, demonstrating rare hustle for an interior lineman. He's explodes off the snap and uses his natural leverage advantage and surprising power to overwhelm blockers and is effective against both the run and pass. Zimmer had the benefit of a talented rotation in Cincinnati and may see Donald as the type of interior pass rusher to help minimize the great quarterbacks of the division. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com


05/06/14 - (DT) - Aaron Donald, Sr, 6-1, 285
The Sports Xchange 2014 NFL Draft Best Team Fit: Dallas Cowboys...DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh: Donald is the best 3-technique tackle in the draft. He is a perfect fit for the 4-3 defense designed by Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli. He is a quick, explosive player who gets to the quarterback. He could go in the top 10, but if he falls to 12, the Cowboys will consider moving up to take him. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange


05/06/14 - (DT) - Aaron Donald, Sr, 6-1, 285
The Sports Xchange 2014 NFL Draft Best Team Fit: Chicago Bears...DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh: He made more than 100 plays behind the line of scrimmage and is easily the best disrupter in the draft. It's not just as a pass rusher. He comes up with tackles for losses, as well. The Bears can't say with great certainty that they already have a defensive tackle that can disrupt unless they're looking at a 33-year-old rehabbed player like Jeremiah Ratliff. The chief stated goal of Emery when last season ended was to get "younger" on defense. This does it, and it's a pick worth moving up to make. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange


05/06/14 - (QB) - Tom Savage, rSr, 6-4, 228
2014 NFL Draft Quarterbacks: Tom Savage, Pittsburgh, 6-4, 228, 4.97...Traveling Tom transferred twice (from Rutgers, Arizona) and sat out two seasons (2011, 2012) in search of optimum situation, then struggled last season on a team that didn't give him a lot of protection. Savage has excellent size and an NFL-caliber arm. It is important to know what date of game is on films because as the 2013 season progressed so did his ability to understand how to accept the check-down instead of the sack.

Note this: When Savage was a freshman at Rutgers in 2010, NFLDraftScout.com rated Savage as the No. 5 quarterback in the 2014 draft. Frankly: Big guy with a big arm who shows a grasp of the pro-style game and if he gets the time and tutoring necessary he might surprise those who lost track of him after two years out of the game. In weathering a rough start last season he showed maturity that was missing earlier career. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange

05/06/14 - (QB) - Tom Savage, rSr, 6-4, 228
2014 NFL Draft Quarterbacks: Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois, 6-2, 226, 4.97...Garoppolo created a buzz as he broke all of Tony Romo's career school records, as well as all of the Ohio Valley Conference passing records. Won the Walter Payton Award in 2013 after throwing for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns. His career totals include 13,156 yards passing, 118 touchdowns in a pass-happy, shotgun offense that has not helped prepare him for the NFL. Frankly: Garoppolo can find receivers and fire the ball on target faster than you can say his name. Lighting release and frozen rope medium distance sideline passes are reminiscent of Dan Marino's lasers. This despite concerns about his size, short arms and small hands. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange


04/13/14 - (QB) - Chad Voytik, rSo, 6-1, 210
When Brooks Bollinger resigned as quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh in February, head coach Paul Chryst didn't hire another one. Instead, he added the job duties to his own. Consider it the most efficient way to keep track of the learning curve for starter in waiting Chad Voytik. A year after transfer Tom Savage started each of Pitt's 13 games, Voytik, a sophomore, will take the reins after spending the larger part of his first two years at Pitt watching and learning. Voytik, recruited by former Pitt coach Todd Graham, redshirted his freshman year and served as Savage's backup last year.

This spring, the emphasis between Chryst and Voytik has been on learning while Voytik said the mechanics will be worked on over the summer. When it comes to aspects of the position like reading opposing defenses, Voytik says his comfort level has already increased "a lot" as a result of the way he's being coached. "(Chryst) gives you such a different perspective and really makes you think for yourself," Voytik said. "That's really helped me because I was always the guy saying like 'tell me what I need to do' but now he's teaching us the game so we can kind of learn it ourselves when he's not there to tell us."

Savage completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns a year ago. Voytik has completed 6 of 11 passes for 116 yards in his career. Voytik saw his first extended period of play in the second half of Pitt's 30-27 win over Bowling Green at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl after Savage was unable to play with a rib injury he suffered on the last play of the first half. - AP Sports

04/12/14 - (RB) - Isaac Bennett, Sr, 5-11, 205
Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst says that running back Isaac Bennett will need surgery on his sprained left shoulder. Bennett is expected to compete for the starting running back job with James Conner when camp opens in the fall, but Conner is also out for the rest of the spring with a left knee sprain he sustained the same day Bennett was injured. Bennett ran for 797 yards and seven touchdowns on 171 carries. Conner led the team with 799 yards and eight scores. While Bennett will miss work in the summer, Chryst hopes the senior will be fully available once training camp begins in August. Chryst says the surgery was necessary "so you have to embrace it. He'll do everything he can to rehab." - AP Sports


03/17/14 - (DT) - Aaron Donald, Sr, 6-1, 285
2014 Pro Days: Pittsburgh DT Donald continues climb...Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was not in a racing mood on March 3. Donald, a 287-pound three-technique and NFLDraftScout.com's 22nd-ranked player overall, allowed his 4.68 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine to stand while going through position drills at Pitt's pro day, held at the Panthers' indoor facility. Bill O'Brien of the Houston Texans made Pitt his first pro day stop as an NFL head coach. Four quarterbacks coaches and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly were also in attendance according to Pitt's Sports Information Department.

Donald's height (6-foot 5/8-inch) is the only legitimate nick on his evaluation. He plays with power, suddenness and violent, jolting hand strength to shed blocks. With the momentum gained at the NFL Scouting Combine and as a dominant, award-winning defender last season, Donald could come off the board in top 15. - The Sports Xchange

03/17/14 - (QB) - Tom Savage, rSr, 6-4, 228
2014 Pro Days: Pittsburgh DT Donald continues climb...Quarterback Tom Savage, who could be a late-round riser, went through a scripted workout of 100 passes. Savage (6-4, 228), has the arm strength to be at least a quality backup. A two-time transfer, Savage said he patiently explains to scouts that his travels should not be a red flag. But his limited experience against FBS defenses do complicate Savage's evaluation. Savage, who also attended Rutgers and Arizona, said it doesn't have to be a negative.

"I've been in three different systems, probably four or five different offensive coordinators. I don't even know anymore I've been to so many schools," Savage said. "You kind of have to pick it up on the run. You have to learn on your own. At Pittsburgh, I had to walk on and earn my spot. I had to pick up the offense and learn it by myself. Being ineligible you can't offer to much to the team. You really have to grind in the film room and pick it up on your own, kind of like the NFL will be. There will be veterans that know the playbook. They're not going to slow down for some rookie." - The Sports Xchange

Previous 25 Pittsburgh Notes Next 25 Pittsburgh Notes

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