Three players who were on the Pittsburgh spring roster -- fullback Shane Brooks, defensive back Sherod Murdock and wideout Mo Williams -- are not on the 2008 fall roster. That leaves the Panthers with 86 scholarship players, if all the one-year rollovers for former walk-ons were retained. One must be eliminated for Pitt to reach the NCAA limit of 85.
Defensive back Irvan Brown (academics) and offensive tackle Dan Matha (injuries) are still listed on the roster. Two walk-on quarterbacks -- Dan Gustine and Spencer Whipple -- who spent two years in the program, are not back. Neither is walk-on backup punter David Kries.
There were several number changes as well. Tailback Kevin Collier switched from 22 to 24, while linebacker Tristan Roberts went from 39 to 32. And offensive lineman Frank Kochin is 76 instead of 75.
The incoming freshman class includes wideout Jonathan Baldwin, No. 82; tailback Chris Burns, 29; tight end Mike Cruz, 85; linebacker Shayne Hale, 46; place-kicker Kevin Harper, 47; defensive back Jarred Holley, 39; offensive tackle Lucas Nix, 52; defensive back Antwuan Reed, 22; wideout Cameron Saddler, 5; wideout Michael Shanahan, 87; quarterback Tino Sunseri, 16; Andrew Taglianetti, 36; linebacker Joe Trebitz, 53; offensive tackle Ryan Turnley, 75; tight end Justin Virbitsky, 92; and linebacker Manny Williams, 41.
Freshman cornerback Ronald Hobby, who joined Pitt in the spring, is still wearing No. 23. And junior-college transfers Robb Houser and Greg Cross are 64 and 14, respectively, for the center and quarterback.
For those checking out the roster, one might notice some position changes. Don't put much stock in them, because they aren't likely to be correct. Dorin Dickerson is listed as a linebacker, and he should see extensive playing time at tight end. Greg Williams is still at running back, and his playing time should steadily increase at outside linebacker. John Malecki is at defensive tackle, and he should start at right offensive guard this fall.
Also, Ty Tkach and Wayne Jones are defensive linemen. Tkach was a tight end in the spring, and Jones was moved to the offensive line. And Aaron Smith is listed as a defensive back after playing wideout the past year.
Big East football media day is July 29 in Newport, R.I., while Pitt's football media day is Aug. 4 at the UPMC Sports Complex. The first practice is Aug. 5, and the regular-season opener is against Bowling Green Aug. 30 at Heinz Field. A noon kickoff time is tentative and not officially been released by Pitt.
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