Pitt will now lose its third player from this year’s roster to the NFL. Redshirt junior offensive tackle Brian O’Neill joins juniors Quadree Henderson and Jordan Whitehead in declaring for the draft this April.
O’Neill announced his decision in a statement released to the media on Friday morning.
“After careful consideration over the last few weeks, I have decided to enter the 2018 NFL draft,” O’Neill said. “Ultimately, I believe this is the best course of action to achieve my ultimate goal.”
O’Neill is the sixth underclassmen that won’t be returning to Pitt for the 2018 season. Along with the three players entering the draft, Pitt will be without redshirt sophomore Ben Dinucci, redshirt freshman Thomas MacVittie and sophomore Chawntez Moss who will all be transferring in January.
In his time at Pitt, O’Neill accumulated several honors including second team All-ACC honors in the coaches vote and third team All-ACC honors in the media vote last season. O’Neill also famously won the 2016 “Piesman Trophy” — an award given out by SB Nation every year to a lineman who either ran, caught or threw a ball during the season.
O’Neill came to Pitt as a tight end before switching to right tackle his sophomore year. This season he made the move from right tackle to left tackle.
He was ranked as the No. 6 offensive tackle heading into the draft by USA Today Oct. 30. Bleacher Report’s draft analyst Matt Miller ranked O’Neill as the No. 7 offensive tackle Nov. 20.