Pitt Punter to Transfer to UNC

With four-year starter David Wooldridge graduating at the conclusion of the 2006 season, North Carolina will have a huge hole to fill at the punter position in 2007. The transfer of Anthony Piccirilli from Pittsburgh will add a candidate to a position battle that will begin a year from now.

The 5-foot-11, 240-pounder from Aliquippa (Pa.) spent this past season as a walk-on at Pitt, where he was redshirted in 2005, his freshman academic year. He will sit out the NCAA mandated one year during the 2006 campaign -- making his first eligible year at UNC the 2007 season as a redshirt sophomore.

"Their situation is Wooldridge will be a senior this season during my sit out year," said Piccirilli, adding that there will be a battle in 2007 for the vacated start spot between the walk-ons, which include then-senior John Choate and others.

"For my first eligible year, whoever wins the job will be on full scholarship."

Piccirilli will also be looked at for kickoff duties and as a replacement for Connor Barth after the junior graduates.

In a domino effect, Piccirilli's transfer was spurred by the transfer of Dave Brytus to Pittsburgh. Brytus was a starter for Purdue the past two seasons and one of ten finalists for the Ray Guy Award, given to the best collegiate punter.

"We had a transfer come in for Purdue and he was most likely going to get the nod above me," said Piccirilli. "North Carolina has really good academics, I like ACC football, and the campus is beautiful."

In addition to the Tar Heels, Piccirilli talked to Northwestern, Stanford, Virginia, and Notre Dame about a possible transfer, but choose UNC during an unofficial visit to Chapel Hill last week.

"Coach [Andre] Powell, the one who recruited me, he offered me an official, but if I would have token it I would have lost financial aid until I earned a scholarship [at UNC]," said Piccirilli. "I took an unofficial. I came down Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, and committed Wednesday morning."

As a senior at Hopewell Senior, Piccirilli punted for an average of 43.2 yards, booted 77 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks, and converted 2-of-3 field goals with a long of 44 yards. He averaged 44.8 yards per punt during his junior season.


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