Pitt already has taken an unusually large number of losses to its 2012 signing class.
With the recent news that three more players have decided to transfer, the Panthers have now lost five players out of the 16 they signed a little more than a year ago. Perhaps even worse, three of them were among the highest-rated players the Panthers signed. To review, here are the guys who have decided to leave:
Four-star running back Rushel Shell
Four-star linebacker Deayshaun Rippy
Three-star defensive lineman Terrell Jackson
At the time these players signed, coach Paul Chryst was praised for being able to keep such a strong class together after another coaching change seemingly set this program back. But that coaching transition -- from Todd Graham to Chryst -- may have ended up impacting some of these players who transferred. Shell and the Davis brothers gave commitments to Graham, though they ended up signing with Pitt anyway.
Rippy had a tough time choosing between Pitt and West Virginia, though he ultimately chose the Panthers on signing day, with Chryst firmly in charge. Jackson also picked the Panthers on signing day. Clearly, all these players have their own reasons for leaving, but it is plain to see the Panthers seem to be feeling the effects of all the coaching tumult still today. Remember, only 10 players remain from the 21-player class of 2011 as well.
Now having said that, the Panthers still have some very promising players from the 2012 class ready to take on prominent roles. Two four-star players remain -- left tackle Adam Bisnowaty and quarterback Chad Voytik. Bisnowaty is penciled in to start at left tackle, along with fellow class of 2012 signee Gabe Roberts at center. Voytik is competing for the starting quarterback job.
J.P. Holtz turned heads as a true freshman tight end last season; linebacker Mike Caprara made an impression during spring practice; defensive tackle Darryl Render played as a top reserve as a true freshman last year; and cornerback Jahmahl Pardner contributed as a true freshman before hurting his knee and taking a medical redshirt.
Still, losing these players hurts depth at their respective positions. Chiefly, running back -- once a position of strength -- is a now major concern. Bottom line: departures are expected at every program. But losing five from one class in a short period of time cannot be overlooked.