Pitt Football : A Look Back At 2010

Pitt football experienced every kind of high and low that a program could experience in one full year. The year began with a final ranking of No. 15, followed by a pair of tight ends getting drafted, followed by a successful string of commits. Then came the regular season, which began with a string of off-the-field incidents and some key injuries.

January 18 - Scott Turner named receivers coach. Bryan Bossard moved on after two years coaching the receivers, and even throughout the spring, the unit noticed a difference under Turner--mostly more of an attention to detail, and working more specific on routes.

February 3 - Pitt signs 24 players to the class of 2010, including four members of the class--T.J. Clemmings, Aaron Donald, Bryan Murphy and K'Waun Williams--who saw significant reps in their freshman seasons. The class would later lose Andre Givens and Khaynin Mosley-Smith to prep school. Mosley-Smith has since re-enrolled. Jeff Knox was later dismissed from the team. As of now, 21 of the 24 are still on the team, including 17 who redshirted in 2010.

February 12 - Bernard Clark comes on board as linebackers coach. Sadly, Clark didn't have enough time to make an impact on the position. One year was too little time to decide how much of an impact he had on the position.

February 22 - Sam Collura, a tight end from DeMatha Catholic in Maryland becomes Pitt's first verbal commitment for 2011.

March 1 - Dorin Dickerson runs a 4.40 at the NFL Scouting combine, the fastest of all tight ends.

March 2 - Pitt begins spring drills. Among some of the notable changes are Jack Lippert from defensive end, to center. Junior-college transfer Saheed Imoru signed with Pitt, and enrolled in January, enabling him to take first-team reps at corner, with Ricky Gary recovering from injury. Greg Gaskins begins spring drills as the first-teamer at right guard. Tino Sunseri begins the spring as the first-team quarterback. Dan Mason takes over at middle linebacker.

March 26 - Dion Lewis was named the 2009 Breakthrough Athlete of the Year at the Pittsburgh Dapper Dan Dinner and Sports Auction.

March 30 - Dave Wannstedt's contract was extended another two years, which was technically supposed to keep him at Pitt through January of 2015.

April 17 - Pitt concludes spring drills, as the Blue (defense) defeats the Gold (offense) 62-24. Greg Cross and Antwuan Reed are the recipients of the Ed Conway Award for offense and defense respectively.

April 24 - Nate Byham is selected in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Dorin Dickerson was taken in the seventh round by the Houston Texans. Four other Panthers were signed as rookie free agents, including Aaron Berry by the Detroit Lions and John Malecki by the Tennessee Titans. Berry would eventually make the Lions roster. Malecki would bounce around to Cleveland, before landing with Tampa Bay.

May 19 - After a drought of nearly three months between commits, Pitt finally gets its second commitment for the 2010 class. Gary Nova, rumored to be nearing a decision, pulled the trigger and committed to the Panthers on the morning on May 19. Later that afternoon, Nova got a center, as Central Dauphin lineman Artie Rowell committed to the Panthers as well.

June 5 - Timber Creek Regional (LB) Quinton Alston becomes Pitt's second commitment, choosing the Panthers over approximately 20 offers.

Jun 7 - Looking to secure his spot in the Pitt linebacker class, Dallastown's Ben Kline becomes Pitt's second commit in just a two-day span. After sitting quiet for nearly three months, the Panthers added four big-time prospects in a two-week span. June 11 - Pitt kicked off the first off four prospect camps. The Panthers would host close to 2,000 prospects over the four sessions, but that wasn't the biggest news of the day. Winslow Township (NJ) receiver Bill Belton verbally committed to the Panthers that morning. By the afternoon, Belton had another receiver join him, in Massillon Washington's Justin Olack.

June 26 - Lafayette Pitts commits to the Panthers at Pitt's 7-on-7 passing camp. After his team's first scrimmage of the camp, Pitts gave the Panthers his verbal pledge. Pitts went on to help his team to a championship at the camp.

June 28 - A day after taking an unofficial visit to watch the 7-on-7 camp, Pitt lured another big-time prospect out of New Jersey in defensive tackle Marquise Wright out of Paramus Catholic. Wright had approximately 20 offers from around the country.

July 18 - Pitt defensive end Jabaal Sheard was arraigned on charges of including aggravated assault and resisting arrest, for his role in a fight on Pittsburgh's South Side. Sheard would be suspended indefinitely from the team.

July 28 - Jameel Poteat, at a press conference at Bishop McDevitt High School, puts an end to his recruitment by picking the Panthers. He chose a Pitt hat from a group of hats from Florida, USC, Tennessee and Notre Dame.

July 29 - Pitt stays hot in eastern PA, nabbing a commitment from Pottsgrove's Terrell Chestnut. Chestnut chose the Panthers over offers from West Virginia and Rutgers.

August 3 - Pitt is picked to win the Big East in the preseason media poll. The Panthers received 22 of the possible 24 first-place votes.

August 4 - Jabaal Sheard, following a trial for his role in a fight on Pittsburgh's South Side, is reinstated to the Pitt team.

August 6 - Pitt kicks off its annual media day. Instead of starting off with Dave Wannstedt addressing the media, Wannstedt turns the mic over to Jabaal Sheard, who reads a public apology for his recent off-the-field incident. Wannstedt would not comment on it further, and questions about the incident towards Sheard, were deflected away.

August 8 - Greg Romeus leaves practice with an injury on just the second day of fall camp. He would not return until. Romeus would return to practice nine days later.

August 10 - A little over a month after being offered at Pitt's prospect camp, defensive end Deonte Gibson commits to the Panthers.

August 13 - With Pitt one-week into its fall training camp, the Panthers also closed its first week with a trio of commits. Woodbridge (NJ) defensive end Max Issaka chooses the Panthers in the morning. Kyshoen Jarrett, cornerback from East Stroudsburg South (PA) commits in the afternoon. Clairton defensive end Desimon Green decides later that evening that Pitt is for him.

August 14 - Ray Graham sprains his knee early on in the scrimmage, as starter Dion Lewis was given limited reps. Bryan Murphy, a highly-touted freshman defensive end, was expected to push for playing time. Murphy broke his foot in Pitt's first scrimmage of training camp. Murphy's injury puts a damper on what was considered a dominant performance from Pitt's defense.

August 21 - Pitt starts to put the end to its fall training camp. Alex Karabin, running with the first-team at center, is informed he will go on scholarship for his senior season. Pitt would take the next week to transition to its regular-season routine, in preparations for a Thursday night opener at Utah.

September 2 - Pitt loses to Utah 27-24, despite a late rally by first-year starting quarterback Tino Sunseri. Greg Romeus took nearly every single snap at defensive end, but did not look in game-shape.

September 11 - Pitt rebounds from its opening loss at Utah with a 38-16 win over New Hampshire. The win comes at an odd time for the Panthers, who only have two games under their belt, with a bye week, followed by a Thursday night encounter with Miami.

September 12 - News leaks out that redshirt freshman running back Jason Douglas is charged with a hit-and-run just blocks away from where Jabaal Sheard was charged for his role in on off-campus fight in July. Douglas was also charged with driving while intoxicated. Douglas was suspended indefinitely. Dan Mason, a passenger in Douglas' car, was demoted to the second-team at middle linebacker.

September 14 - It's announced that Greg Romeus will have back surgery. He is expected to return later in the season.

September 18 - Walk-on offensive lineman Keith Coleman is arrested for his role in an off-campus fight. Coleman would be suspended indefinitely.

September 21 - Jeremiah Bryson, a running back out of Smyrna High School in Tennessee, verbally commits to the Panthers.

September 23 - Just hours before its kickoff against Miami, freshman safety Jeff Knox is kicked off the team for an off-the-field incident the night before. In the 12 days since Pitt last took the field, this incident marks the fourth player tied to an off-the-field issue. Pitt would go out and lose 31-3 to Miami in front of a nationally-televised audience, but also in front of 400 former Pitt players come in town to see the game in person.

October 2 - Dion Lewis is held out, while Ray Graham rushes for 277 yards in a win over Florida International. It's the second-most productive rushing game for a Pitt player. After the game, Dave Wannstedt says that Dion Lewis is still the starter.

October 9 - The Panthers get over the .500 mark with an impressive 45-14 win at Syracuse, in the conference-opener. Tino Sunseri connects with Devin Street for a 79-yard touchdown pass on the very first play.

October 16 - After being dominated for the first half, Pitt loses at Notre Dame 23-17, making a valiant effort in the second-half. Special teams mistakes, including a fake punt that wasn't executed properly and two Notre Dame punts that were downed inside the Pitt 10, contributed.

October 23 - Pitt comes back again with an impressive 42-21 win over Rutgers. Dion Lewis rushes for 130 yards; his first 100-yard game of the season.

October 30 - Pitt wins its homecoming game over Louisville 20-3. Things were looking up for the Panthers, as they won their homecoming game, they were the only unbeaten team in the Big East (3-0) and in control of their own destiny.

November 11 - Pitt, coming off a bye week, lays an egg in a 30-28 loss at UConn. Pitt led 21-13 with seconds remaining in the third quarter, before Nick Williams returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, as time expired in the third quarter.

November 20 - Pitt holds off South Florida 17-10, but the Panthers still need at least one win in its final two games to clinch a Big East title, and a BCS bowl berth.

November 26 - Pitt comes out flat in a 35-10 loss to West Virginia in front of over 100 recruits, including New Jersey tight end Shilique Calhoun, who took his official visit to Pitt that day.

December 4 - Pitt rebounds again, this time with an impressive 28-10 win at Cincinnati. The Panthers finish the season 7-5, but must await their bowl fate.

December 7 - Just three days after winning the regular season finale, Pitt calls a 5:30 pm news conference, where it's announced that Dave Wannstedt steps down as head coach. When asked if Wannstedt was given the option to come back for another year, athletic director Steve Pederson answers by saying that conversation was strictly between him and Wannstedt. Wannstedt departs with five more seasons left on his contract. The recruiting fallout begins almost immediately. Earlier in the day, following a weekend visit to Penn State, Ben Kline de-commits from Pitt and commits to Penn State. Deonte Gibson de-commits on that first day as well.

December 14 - Saying that he is still committed to Pitt, Lafayette Pitts says he will take additional visits to Maryland and Iowa.

December 15 - Four-star receiver Bill Belton de-commits from Pitt.

December 16 - After a "national search," which included four other unknown candidates, Michael Haywood is introduced as Pitt head coach. He announces that he will bring Bill Elias with him as an assistant coach for outside linebackers. Elias will also be his recruiting coordinator.

December 18 - Gary Nova, the second player to commit to Pitt's 2011 class, de-commits.

December 19 - Justin Olack remains committed to Pitt. Max Issaka says he will also stick with Pitt.

December 20 - Jameel Poteat, four-star running back, de-commits from Pitt's 2010 class. He would commit to Cincinnati two days later.

December 21 - Marquise Wright announces he is staying committed to Pitt, but that he will take other visits.

December 31 - Head coach Michael Haywood is arrested in South Bend, Indiana on domestic abuse charges at a home in South Bend, grabbing a woman by the neck and slamming her into a wall. Police officers are called to the house to separate Haywood from the woman. Haywood is jailed without bail, and must wait until after the weekend for an arraignment. The University releases a statement at 10 pm saying they are aware of the incident, and that they consider the matter serious but that they will refrain from further comment.


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