With spring practice almost half finished, we take a look at five players who have had solid camps and have sent heir stock rise. This is just from our opinions, so you should not expect to see Dave Wannstedt's depth chart change because of it.
Dorin Dickerson has had to face scrutiny from every direction. Coming to Pitt as a five-star prospect and a U.S. Army All-American led to a lot of pressure. Dickerson did not redshirt as a freshmen. He suffered some minor and nagging injuries and then switched positions. Last season, he moved to linebacker and saw very little action. Now, he is at tight end and has been one of the Panthers most pleasant surprises this spring. Dickerson has shown the ability to block and get separation. He has always had the skills to be a great pass catcher and those skills are still there. Nate Byham
is out as is John Pelusi
, giving Dickerson a chance to shine. Dickerson will be used as a flex tight end a lot like Darrelle Strong was. He should give the Panthers another valuable weapon in the middle of the field.
Dom DeCicco is another highly touted local player out of Thomas Jefferson High. DeCicco saw limited action last year on special teams, but with his play in camp so far he is expected to be the early favorite to replace Mike Phillips
. DeCicco was a star during the Panthers first scrimmage on Saturday. He made multiple tackles, had an interception and blocked a field goal. DeCicco helped his cause in the off season by gaining twenty pounds of muscle onto his 6-foot-3 frame. He did not lose any of his speed and quickness in the process. He is still fending off Elijah Fields
who has looked good in his first live action in over a year. No matter who wins the battle, we'd expect the other to see significant time this season.
With a glut of talent at the tailback position it only made sense that the 6-2/220 pound standout from Florida made the move to defense. Greg Williams name has popped up daily in reports from practice as being one of the most active players on defense. Williams led the Panthers with eight tackles during Saturdays scrimmage. He is a (4.5) player who can cover a lot of ground and it is not a secret that the Panthers need to have more athletes on defense. We expect if Williams continues his solid play he will be in the rotation come August.
When Buddy Jackson committed the message boards were buzzing with people asking why would Pitt take this 6-1/165 pound cornerback with no offers? Scout.com recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels was quick to point out that there aren't many (6-1) kids out there running (4.3) and his body would fill out in time. Now it all makes sense, Jackson is still fast as all get out and he is filling out his frame. Jackson is considered by some to be the front runner to play the other corner position opposite of Aaron Berry
. Jackson fired up the team on Saturday with a bone-jarring hit on Shariff Harris
, despite giving up 30-pounds.
How many times do you see a kid who basically has an opportunity handed to him to start on a BCS team and it gets squandered. The Pittsburgh
staff was pretty honest with Houser when they told him that they needed a center and the job was wide open. Houser chose the Panthers and heading into spring practice his only real competition came from utility lineman John Bachman
. Bachman has had trouble with the quarterback-center exchange and Houser has been the most consistent. Houser saw a job opening and he has made the most of it thus far. Some have called him the most consistent of the bunch so far. In the fall, that may change as the Panthers walking wounded come back from injury. It's good to see that Houser has in fact made the most of his opportunity. It also looks like Pitt may have its best center in a long time.