Column | Transfers look to make a name for themselves in their first year at Pitt


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The NCAA transfer portal is being utilized more and more by athletes each year. Staff writer Griffin Floyd breaks down four new additions across Pitt Athletics who can make an impact in Pittsburgh.

By Griffin Floyd, Staff Writer

With hundreds of college programs and not enough talent to go around for them all, it can be difficult to cultivate and retain talent in college athletics. The transfer portal provides reinforcements in the form of players who didn’t fit in with the first program they chose.

The Panthers received a number of high-profile transfers this year who will look to make an instant impact.

Marcus Minor, Offensive line, Football

Despite having standout offensive linemen like Jimmy Morrissey and Bryce Hargrove, the Panthers’ offensive line has struggled since 2018, especially in the run game. With Morrissey and Hargrove departing for the NFL this spring, the o-line needs to reload. Minor, a redshirt senior who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 325 pounds, provides just what they need.

Minor started 17 games in four years for the Maryland Terrapins, and saw action in 26 contests.

The offensive lineman has experience at both tackle and guard, making him a versatile asset for head football coach Pat Narduzzi and his staff. He’s currently slated to play left guard and will shore up the interior of the Panthers line, paving the way for talented running backs Israel Abanikanda and Vincent Davis who, to this point in their careers, haven’t had much room to work with.

Serena Gray, Middle blocker, Volleyball

Pitt pulled Gray, a two-time honorable mention All-American, away from rival Penn State in June. Gray, a three-year starter for the Nittany Lions, will have two years of eligibility remaining due to the COVID-19 exemptions awarded to college athletes for the 2020 season. Gray had a down year in 2021, but with senior standouts Chinaza Ndee and Kayla Lund returning to the Panthers for one last ride, Gray looks to help improve a team that had their best season in program history in 2021, after reaching the Elite Eight.

An ACC preseason coaches poll forecasted Pitt to win the conference this year, and the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll has them ranked No. 9, the highest mark in program history. Gray, a middle blocker with a knack for racking up kills — tallying 494 last season — will give the Panthers an added offensive pop.

Paige Petty, Midfielder, Lacrosse

It’s difficult to get budding programs off the ground, but Petty, a four-year superstar for Virginia Tech, will get the ball rolling.

Petty is the Hokie program’s all-time leader in points and goals for a career, and comes in at No. 4 in draw controls. A three-time All-American and All-ACC Honoree, Petty also captained the Hokies in 2021. Her leadership and scoring prowess will prove valuable for an inexperienced Panthers lacrosse squad that still has yet to play an official game.

Petty also provides an opportunity for addition by subtraction as the Panthers pull her away from their ACC rival.

Yvonne Whaley, Utility, Softball

Whaley, a utility player for Texas Tech from 2019-21, joins a Panthers squad in desperate need of reinforcements. The softball program hasn’t finished with a winning record — or a winning percentage above .400 — since 2018, when former head coach Holly Aprile left Pitt to coach for Louisville. 

Whaley isn’t your average utility player though. Last season she led the Red Raiders in batting average, hits and doubles, on top of being tied for first in on-base percentage and runs scored. Though she’s not much of a power threat, with only one home run in 46 games

But Whaley’s ability to get on base makes her a great candidate for the leadoff spot, and her defensive flexibility nearly ensures she’ll have a place to start on this team.

Gage Curry, 125 lb class, Wrestling

Curry, a western Pennsylvania native and North Hills High School alumnus, joins an accomplished Panthers squad who is in need of experience in his weight class.

A five-year wrestler for American University, Curry qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of his four years as a starter, making him a major upgrade that could put the Panthers over the top. 

He’s taking advantage of the extra COVID-19 eligibility year for one last shot at a national title as he joins a Pitt team that sent wrestlers in five different weight classes to nationals in 2021 and finished No. 11 in the country.