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The Pitt News

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • February 23, 2024

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • February 23, 2024

Column | Grading Pitt football’s 2024 transfer class

Pitt+football+players+run+out+onto+the+field+before+Pitts+game+against+Syracuse+on+Nov.+5%2C+2022.
Colleen Nguyen | Staff Photographer
Pitt football players run out onto the field before Pitt’s game against Syracuse on Nov. 5, 2022.

Last year, Pitt football brought in an exciting class of highly touted transfers to round out its roster. While some of these players — like wide receiver Daejon Reynolds and safety Donovan McMillon — panned out, others failed to live up to the hype. 

This season, Pitt is bringing in another large transfer class. While this season’s transfer class is not nearly as prestigious as last year’s, it still features many exciting new players for Panther fans to keep an eye out for. 

Here are grades for a few of Pitt’s incoming transfer players. 

Quarterback Eli Holstein — B+

Last month, Panther fans were treated to a welcomed surprise when former Alabama quarterback Eli Holstein announced his decision to transfer to Pitt. Holstein, who grew up in Louisiana before his stint at Alabama, is a long way from home at Pitt but hopes to make the most of the opportunity. 

“I just wanted a fresh start,” Holstein said in his introductory press conference about his decision to come to Pitt. “I didn’t really see myself growing in the ways that I wanted to at Alabama, and I knew that I needed to pursue other opportunities to grow. Pitt was the place for me to do that.”

Holstein, a three-star transfer prospect, joins a crowded Pitt quarterback room, featuring returning redshirt junior starters Christian Veilleux and Nate Yarnell. It is still too early to tell who will start for the Panthers come game one. But Holstein isn’t too worried about the upcoming battle for the starting role, as he said he is focused on learning as much as he can in his first few weeks at Pitt.

“[I’m focused on] just coming in and learning as much as I can,” Holstein said. “We are going to go through spring and see where everything goes with that. But I just got here, so those guys [Veilleux and Yarnell] are going to be in front of me because they have playing experience.”

Standing at 6 feet, 4 inches, Holstein is an imposing figure with great arm strength. Holstein actually has very similar attributes to former Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec, but he is much more accurate and has better arm strength. 

With his large frame and palpable work ethic, Holstein could easily start for Pitt at some point next season. Still, Holstein has never played in a college game. Considering Holstein’s lack of experience, Pitt may benefit from starting Veilleux or Yarnell before giving the Alabama transfer a chance. 

Defensive end David Ojiegbe — A

Pitt has a history of producing top-tier defensive line talent. From Aaron Donald to Calijah Kancey, the Panthers’ track record at defensive line requires no introduction.

The Panthers’ D-line may have found another future great with Clemson defensive end transfer David Ojiegbe. The three-star transfer prospect saw limited time with the Tigers but is arguably Pitt’s best offseason addition. 

Boasting NFL-caliber strength and quickness, Ojiegbe will grow tremendously under Pitt’s highly skilled defensive line coach Charlie Partridge. Ojiegbe cited coach Partridge’s reputation as one of the main factors for his move to Pitt.

“I wanted a coach who would coach me to the highest level and wanted to have a relationship with me as a person,” Ojiegbe said in his introductory press conference in January. “Coach [Partridge] has a relationship with all of his players and has a great track record for producing great defensive linemen who go to the NFL.”

Ojiegbe will prove extremely valuable to the Panthers’ defense as it rebounds from losing several key pieces from last year’s roster. The former Clemson lineman could even become Pitt’s next great defensive lineman in the NFL if he is able to grow under coach Partridge. 

Defensive lineman Nick James — B

Like Ojiegbe, Indiana transfer Nick James is a large defensive lineman who is quick on his feet. James also credited coach Partridge’s reputation as his main reason for coming to Pitt.

“Coach [Partridge] and his development with defensive lineman, and that’s just one thing that stood out to me [about Pitt],” James said in his introductory press conference. 

James saw limited playing time last year with the Hoosiers, appearing in three games for Indiana. But the defensive lineman still managed to make some waves when he was on the field, as he recorded a sack and two tackles last season.

Overall — B-

Pitt may not have gotten many big-name transfers this offseason, but that doesn’t mean the team failed to capitalize off of the portal. The Panthers’ 2024 transfer class mostly consists of untested but highly skilled players who could make a big impact in the future. 

Look out for Pitt’s transfer at defensive line to make the biggest impact. Along with Ojiegbe and James, the Panthers also acquired Kansas State transfer Nate Matlack to round out their D-line. While all three players are relatively inexperienced, they could develop into bona fide stars in the near future.

The Panthers’ transfer class looks strong, but only time will tell if any of these players pan out. 

 

About the Contributor
Brian Sherry, Sports Editor