Pitt Names New Starters

Deslin Alexandre gets first shot replacing Rashad Weaver

Jeff Hathhorn
August 26, 2019 - 6:38 pm

93.7 the Fan

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – Days before the season opens against ACC Coastal Division favorite Virginia, Pitt announced new starters for 2019.

Listen to your team news NOW.

We’ll begin with the position that opened after the season ending injury to Rashad Weaver, redshirt sophomore Deslin Alexandre will start at defensive end.  Alexandre played in 13 games last year with five tackles after making his football debut as a junior in high school.

Florida transfer Kylan Johnson will start at “Money” Linebacker with a couple of no-decisions at the other linebacker spots, either Elias Reynolds or Saleem Brightwell at “Mike” and Cam Bright or Phil Campbell at “Star”.

Johnson played in 33 career games with the Gators with 83 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss.  Meanwhile all of the other four have played for the Panthers with Brightwell starting 14 games (12 as a sophomore).  Reynolds started seven games as a junior taking over following the injury to Quintin Wirginis.  Campbell moves from a crowded safety group to linebacker this year and in competition with the sophomore, Bright.

Competition at defensive tackle as Keyshon Camp or Amir Watts could start as Jason Pinnock or Damarri Mathis will start at one corner.  Dane Jackson secured the other spot with Paris Ford joining Damar Hamlin at safety.

There were four jobs open on the offensive line with All-ACC center Jimmy Morrissey back to anchor the unit.  Michigan grad transfer Nolan Ulizio will be one of the tackles with sophomore Carter Warren beating out Carson Van Lynn on the left side.  The move from tackle to guard went well for 6’6”, 310 pound Upper St. Clair grad Gabe Houy, he will start on the right side with Bryce Hargrove on the left.

Often last year it was either Qadree Ollison or Darrin Hall starting at tailback and each ended up with a thousand yards rushing.  This year it’s either junior A.J. Davis or sophomore Todd Sibley getting the start with likely a rotation that will also include V’Lique Carter and freshman Mychael Salahuddin.

Will Gragg wins the tight end battle as the former Arkansas Razorback beat out former Rutgers tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart with Pine-Richland grad Grant Carrigan listed as third team to begin the year.

The starting receivers are seniors Tre Tipton and Maurice Ffrench and junior Taysir Mack.  Freshman John Vardzel is listed as one of the backups.