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Pitt Recruiting: Donovan Jeter de-commits from Notre Dame

A local standout reopens his recruitment

After praying and thinking about it I've decided to decommit from Norte dame but they are still my top school. I am opening my recruitment — Donovan Jeter (@__5god__) October 18, 2016

Earlier today, four-star Donovan Jeter announced he is no longer committed to Notre Dame. This is a pretty notable action for Pitt’s recruiting efforts. Donovan Jeter is a 6’5” 255 Defensive End/Tackle. He is rated as a four-star by all four major recruiting, and was considered to be one of Pitt’s highest priority recruits until he committed Notre Dame last month.

His commitment to Notre Dame was a bit shocking, truth be told. He was widely considered a Pitt lean by many for a variety of reasons. His brother is Sheldon Jeter, a senior on the basketball team. He is from nearby Beaver Falls High School in Beaver County, an area that has been considered a pipeline. Perhaps most importantly, he generally spoke highly of Pitt and Pat Narduzzi, especially in the months leading up to his Notre Dame decision.

Obviously Jeter reopening his recruitment should get Pitt fans on notice. I’m not sure it is a slam dunk to Pitt, though. His offer sheet is as impressive as it gets. He holds offers from schools like Alabama, Michigan, and Ohio State. In fact, he announced via Twitter today that Oklahoma had offered him. So obviously, the competition for Jeter will be pretty fierce. He also said on Twitter that Notre Dame is still in the mix as well.

It’s hard to say what will happen in the recruitment of Donovan Jeter from here on out, but it’s one worth monitoring. Jeter is one of the best players in the state and country for that matter, and Pitt had prioritized before, and knowing he’s back on the market he will be highly prioritized once again.

Cardiac Hill welcomes a new contributor in photographer Matt Hawley

Hi everyone, my name is Matt Hawley. I am a senior at the University of Pittsburgh and I hope to be attending Katz Graduate School of Business here in the spring. Recently for Cardiac Hill, I covered the Georgia Tech/Homecoming game with this photo gallery. I'll be shooting other events for the site on occasion as opportunities present themselves.

I currently work as a staff photographer with The Pitt News and I have also freelanced with Panther Lair recently. I am a student manager with the women’s basketball team and I am also one of the current leaders of the Panther Pitt, so I am very actively involved with sports on campus.

I grew up in a small city outside of York, PA. I wasn’t really a fan of any specific collegiate team growing up, but I still enjoyed watching college basketball and football. Pitt was the only school I applied to in 2013, and from that point on I became a huge Pitt fan. Through my few years here I have come to love this University and city. While there have been some heartbreaking losses in basketball and football recently, I have gotten to enjoy some incredible experiences.

In my junior year I started working with The Pitt News as a staff photographer and my love of photography grew. Sports are one of my main passions in life and I chose to combine that with my love of photography. I began shooting Pitt sports such as baseball and soccer. Once I started making more connections, I have now shot some high profile events such as Pitt basketball/football, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, two Pirates games, Steelers training camp, and two Steelers games so far.

I’m not really sure if I want to try and do sports photography full time, but I definitely want to be involved in a collegiate or professional sports team in some fashion. In the meantime, I’ll occasionally be contributing photo galleries to this site while hopefully obtaining my MBA here at Pitt. Please feel free to check out my Twitter and Instagram, both @MattHawleyPhoto.

Jordan Whitehead, Quadree Henderson win weekly ACC awards

Following Pitt's win against Virginia on Saturday, two players won weekly awards from the ACC - Jordan Whitehead and Quadree Henderson.

Whitehead secured the Defensive Player of the Week award and Henderson was the Specialist of the Week.

Whitehead no doubt won the award after his big play that changed the complexion of the game. With things tied just before halftime, the Pitt safety grabbed an interception and returned it back for a touchdown to give the Panthers the lead. He also had four tackles on the day and even made some plays on offense, running for 28 yards.

Henderson had a huge kickoff return for a touchdown as well as a key punt return. That, of course, was in addition to his regular work on the offense as a wide receiver. For the first time this year, he didn't record a catch. He did have a run that went for six yards, but most of his damage was done on special teams.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

King of the Hill: ACC Football Power Rankings (Week 7)

Here are the most recent rankings after this week's ACC action. We're starting to settle in a little here. There's movement, but the top half of the conference is mostly separated out from the second half at this point. There's a chance for the Wolfpack to move up and maybe a team like Pitt or Virginia Tech moves down.

The big move up this week comes from North Carolina after they beat Miami. They climbed three spots after Virginia Tech threw everything out of whack with an upset loss to Syracuse. They own a head-to-head win over the Tar Heels but North Carolina had to be ranked higher since they beat Florida State, just had the big Miami win, and the Hokies suffered an ugly loss. And as a result, Syracuse climbed several spots and out of the basement with the Virginia Tech win.

Locally, Pitt moves up a spot with their win over Virginia. Hard to put them any higher than No. 6 right now and, obviously, teams like Virginia Tech and North Carolina State could prove to be better teams.

The previous week’s rankings are in parentheses and as always, let me know what I got right/wrong in the comments.

  1. Clemson (1) / 7-0: Wasn't easy, but Clemson pulled out a 24-17 win over North Carolina State
  2. Louisville (2) / 5-1: Also not easy, but Louisville beat Duke, 24-14
  3. North Carolina (6) 5-2: Beat Miami on road in big 20-13 win
  4. Florida State (3) / 5-2: Sensing a theme here? Not easy, but beat Wake Forest, 17-6
  5. Miami (4) / 4-2: Down a spot after loss to North Carolina
  6. Pitt (7) / 5-2: Up a spot after 45-31 win over Virginia
  7. Virginia Tech (5) / 4-2: Upset by Syracuse, 31-17
  8. North Carolina State (8) / 4-2: Played well in relatively close loss to Clemson
  9. Wake Forest (9) / 5-2: Hold steady at No. 9 after decent showing against Seminoles
  10. Georgia Tech (10) / 4-3: 35-24 win over Georgia Southern
  11. Syracuse (14) / 3-4: Out of basement with win over Hokies
  12. Virginia (11) / 2-4: Down a spot with Pitt loss
  13. Duke (12) / 3-4: Down a spot with loss to Cardinals and Syracuse win
  14. Boston College (13) / 3-3: We have a new basement team after the Eagles' idle week
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Former Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik struggling to make impact with Arkansas State

After losing his starting job at Pitt, quarterback Chad Voytik decided to transfer with the hopes of more playing time. So far, that hasn't exactly worked out.

Voytik opted to stay in Division I, but dropped to a non-P5 program in joining Arkansas State in the Sun Belt. He initially was reportedly headed to Eastern Kentucky, but then settled on Arkansas State. As I wrote at the time, it looked as if getting playing time at Eastern Kentucky might be difficult. Arkansas State's situation looked a little better and that's where he headed.

Early on, it appeared as if he made a good choice. He was the team's starter for the first three games and was given the opportunity he wanted. He talked openly about being glad to play in what he felt was more of a college town and the pieces were in place for him to play this year.

Unfortunately for him, things have sort of gone downhill. Under his command, Arkansas State got off to an 0-2 start. Now, to be fair, the competition wasn't bad as they faced 5-1 Toledo and then traveled on the road to face Auburn. And while Voytik didn't play particularly well against Toledo, he was solid against the Tigers (15-21 passing for 215 yards). But after going 2-6 against Utah State and throwing a pick, Voytik was sent to the bench in the middle of his third game.

That's where he's stayed for the most part in the team's last three games. He's only been used in some running situations and has given way to a former four-star recruit and Oklahoma transfer, Justice Hansen. Hansen came in during the Utah State game and threw for 277 yards, pretty much sealing Voytik's fate. Considering Hansen is a redshirt sophomore and the future of the program, it will be difficult for Voytik to reclaim his starting job without an injury.

It's sort of a shame that his career could seemingly end with him being benched for most of his final two seasons. He had a decent year for Pitt in 2014 and his future looked somewhat bright. But with the emergence of Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman and now Hansen at Arkansas State, he's now facing another season when he lost his starting job and may not get much of an opportunity to play.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

WATCH: Samford football player Deion Pierre pops the question in epic postgame proposal

This weekend’s best college football moment in the state of Alabama had nothing to do with the Alabama Crimson Tide or Auburn Tigers.

No, that title goes to the Samford Bulldogs.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Samford, which is a Birmingham-based FCS program that will play at Mississippi State on Oct. 29, took care of Virginia Military Institute 55-21 for its third consecutive victory on Saturday. But even that had little to do with the moment of the week, which goes to Bulldogs LB Deion Pierre for the postgame proposal he orchestrated for his girlfriend.

>> Read more trending stories

You can check out the whole thing here, but be warned that it’s sure to tug at your heartstrings:

>> Click here to watch

Teammates broke out into a chant after the successful proposal: “She said yes! She said yes!”

“I won twice today,” Pierre can be heard saying in the video. Indeed, Deion. Indeed.

TWEETCAP: Pitt 45, Virginia 31

A game that was relatively painless, at least compared to the other games this season; that is to say, there was still a lot of pain, just not an absurd amount. You dig?

PREGAME GAME DAY, PANTHER FANS! STAND AMONG THE ASHES OF A TRILLION DEAD SOULS AND ASK THE GHOSTS IF HONOR MATTERS — PITT BSKTBL SHOUTING (@N_THEYSTAYTHERE) October 15, 2016 FIRST QUARTER One first down, then UVA forced to punt after failing on third and 11. — ChrisGrahamAFP (@AugFreePress) October 15, 2016 With a fourth and 10, back to back 5-yard penalties on Pitt’s punt team hands UVa a first down. — Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) October 15, 2016 Pitt received the punt and the offense was on the field, then they threw a flag for illegal substitution. Only in Ron Cherry's America. — Jim Hammett (@JimHammett) October 15, 2016 Wahoo-wa! Touchdown. @UVA Homecoming. Go hoos! — Carol Sawdye (@carolsawdye) October 15, 2016 This already feels like 4th-quarter Pitt. — Tony Jovenitti (@jovenitti) October 15, 2016 Pitt should field no players on this punt just to ensure they don't commit a penalty. — Dan Sostek (@dan_sostek) October 15, 2016 #GoACC — Corey Cohen (@CoreyECohen) October 15, 2016 CAN WE TALK ABOUT JESTER WEAH?? I LIKE JESTER WEAH — Lindsey Stafford (@LJStafford) October 15, 2016 There is nothing more surprising to me about this Pitt team than the emergence of Jester Weah. Didn't see it coming at all. — Gavin Williams (@GavWill13) October 15, 2016 Pitt is bad?? — 110 MBs of Horror (@justinxreese) October 15, 2016 i was happyonce — IAmKILLY (@IAmSpilly) October 15, 2016 Now we're not even stopping the run? — Mike (@85mf) October 15, 2016


Hold serve and go for the 56-49 win — pitt pass defense (@CzarOfPgh) October 15, 2016 This might be the worst Pitt pass defense I've ever seen since becoming a fan in 2008 — JD Schroeder (@Sta7ic) October 15, 2016 For the love of God bench Terrish Webb. — PittCabe (@PittCabe) October 15, 2016 Virginia throws it deep to take the lead in an early shootout in Charlottesville. 21-14 UVA — WPTS Sports (@WPTSSports) October 15, 2016 Watching Pitts defense makes me question why I watch Pitt football. — Pitt Enthusiast (@GrndCntl2MajTom) October 15, 2016 There is not sugar coating how bad this Pitt defense plays. — Jon Lavia (@Laviator_) October 15, 2016 SECOND QUARTER If, when Nar_uzzi was first hire_, you ha_ tol_ me Pitt woul_ score at the rate it has in 2016, I'_ have tol_ you Pitt woul_ win the Coastal — Matt Zemek (@MattZemek) October 15, 2016 Hard to believe this game was 0-0 at one point. — Dan Sostek (@dan_sostek) October 15, 2016 James Conner 1 yard touchdown run ties it up 21-21 with the point after. Key third down pass from Peterman to Orndoff on the drive. — Jenn Menendez (@JennMenendez) October 15, 2016 I spelled Conner wrong — Sean (@BuccoFan_4Life) October 15, 2016 MY PARENTS ARE AT DISNEYLAND AND JUST SENT ME THIS — cutie chaser (@cutiechaser_) October 14, 2016 Hey, at least Pitt has finally learned how to commit pass interference without letting the other team catch that ball. Baby steps! — Tony Jovenitti (@jovenitti) October 15, 2016 The PAT is good. UVA leads, 28-21. #PITTvsUVA — Virginia Football (@UVa_Football) October 15, 2016 NICE — IAmKILLY (@IAmSpilly) October 15, 2016 NICE — IAmKILLY (@IAmSpilly) October 15, 2016 Go for it — pitt pass defense (@CzarOfPgh) October 15, 2016 Absolute no-brainer there if you've watched the defense play this season. — Gavin Williams (@GavWill13) October 15, 2016 James. — Mike (@85mf) October 15, 2016 If you got my name in you're @ you're a real one — Conner Bobay (@BobayConner) October 15, 2016


Jordan Whitehead gets a Pick 6 right before Halftime for PITT — NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) October 15, 2016 JORDAN WHITEHEAD MY BOYYYYYYYY — JD Schroeder (@Sta7ic) October 15, 2016 PITT'S USUAL STELLAR PASS DEFENSE — IAmKILLY (@IAmSpilly) October 15, 2016 FEED JORDAN WHITEHED GRAPES, REST OF SECONDARY — PITT BSKTBL SHOUTING (@N_THEYSTAYTHERE) October 15, 2016 HALFTIME: PITT 35, VIRGINIA 28 Considering the half, kinda mind blowing Pitt is ahead — JD Schroeder (@Sta7ic) October 15, 2016 Football is dumb — Anson Whaley (@AnsonWhaley) October 15, 2016 THIRD QUARTER WHAT UP ARUJO-LOPES #H2P — Morgan Flood (@morgan_s_flood) October 15, 2016



*blewitt jokes ensue* — spooky eliza (@NotTheRealEliza) October 15, 2016 amazed every time commentators talk about Blewitt missing a FG and don't make jokes about living up to his name — Tara Jerry (@tara_jerry) October 15, 2016 I will miss the puns with Blewitt's name and that's about it. — Chris (@ThunderPittRoad) October 15, 2016 (that was a long distance and tough angle for him, and he just barely missed. but still...) HE BLEWITT! — James Santelli (@JamesSantelli) October 15, 2016 He Blewitt — Brandon Lloyd (@blloyd8298) October 15, 2016


BamBamBam bam bam — 110 MBs of Horror (@justinxreese) October 15, 2016 OR, AS A GIF, — PITT BSKTBL SHOUTING (@N_THEYSTAYTHERE) October 15, 2016 BAM!!! TRUMP JUST ATTACKED THE CLINTONS IN THE WORST WAY IMAGINABLE! LIS... via @YouTube — Cornelius Bradley (@CorneliusBradle) October 15, 2016 Bam Bradley has played well with Caprara out the past two weeks. Big third-down sack. — Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) October 15, 2016 Ejuan Price down noooooo — Mike (@85mf) October 15, 2016 If Juan Price is seriously hurt, you should probably cancel the remainder of the season. — Gavin Williams (@GavWill13) October 15, 2016 #DefensiveStruggle — Chris Peak (@PantherLair) October 15, 2016 Go for it here. Pitt can get a yard. — Jim Hammett (@JimHammett) October 15, 2016 Dumb call. Conner would've easily gotten a yard. — Jim Hammett (@JimHammett) October 15, 2016 Best of luck to all the Baggies fans participating in the #birminghamhalfmarathon tomorrow morning! #WBA — West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) October 15, 2016 FOURTH QUARTER THESE BIG BOYS SURE LOVE TO ROUGHHOUSE — PITT BSKTBL SHOUTING (@N_THEYSTAYTHERE) October 15, 2016 Attention ACC teams: when you have 3rd or 4th and 1, do not run up the middle on @PITTMAN_54 , it won't end well on your part #H2P #BeatH2P — The Panther Pitt (@ThePantherPitt) October 15, 2016 A Panther-Lair poster said earlier this year that Tyrique Jarrett's nickname should be "Big Hero Six" and I'm all in on that. — Ryan Donnelly (@RDonnellyBG) October 15, 2016 Jim Chaney — Doc Harper (@doc_harper) October 15, 2016 "What a terr......awesome play call!!!" - me — JD Schroeder (@Sta7ic) October 15, 2016 Peterman-to-Aston shovel pass on third-and-goal from 5 gives #Pitt 42-28 lead at #UVa. 9:47 left. Three unanswered TDs from Panthers. — David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) October 15, 2016 The number of times I have said, just stop right here and u will be fine. #Pitt #H2P — Chris Bruno (@BrunoPittsburgh) October 15, 2016 The last few drives the defense has looked... I don't know, what's the opposite of "terrible as always"? — Mike (@85mf) October 15, 2016 James Conner on defensive!! — Justin Kappert (@J_Kapp_09) October 15, 2016 James Conner playing DE AND ALMOST GETS THE SACK!! — Carlo Veltri (@vetchy119) October 15, 2016 Arujo Lopes has been good today — Mike Tam (@mike10003) October 15, 2016 Just a dumb penalty by Andrew Brown. Crappy end to a crappy day. #UVA — Ed M. (@writered21) October 15, 2016 How stupid is that by Virginia....whistles clearly blew...15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness...or 15 yards for STUPIDY — Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) October 15, 2016 Field Goal is GOOD: Chris Blewitt's 25-yard FG gives Pitt a 45-28 lead over Virginia with 3:21 left in the fourth quarter — Pitt News Sports (@pittnewssports) October 15, 2016 Pitt gave up 21 points in the first quarter, and then one TD in 2nd. Quarter. Nothing since — JD Schroeder (@Sta7ic) October 15, 2016


I wanted the second half shutout — JD Schroeder (@Sta7ic) October 15, 2016 FINAL: PITT 45, VIRGINIA 31 Fire up the Second Half Victory Lights!!! — Souf Oaklin fo' Life (@Souf_Oaklin) October 15, 2016 Great win. See you at 5-5 in a month — pitt pass defense (@CzarOfPgh) October 15, 2016 Left my mark. — The Smallwood Years (@TheWillardYears) October 15, 2016 Things @JamesConner_ can do for @Pitt_FB: ✔️ Play RB & DE✔️ spin moves✔️ pressure the QB✔️ everything#ConnerStrong — ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) October 15, 2016 Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. This is an@N_THEYSTAYTHERE joint.

Pitt-Virginia Panther of the Game: James Conner

The Pitt running back pulled double duty to take home this week’s award

Despite Jordan Whitehead’s pick-6 and his four tackles and Quadree Henderson’s electrifying plays, James Conner takes home the Panther of the Game award this week in Pitt’s 45-31 win over Virginia.

You can make an argument for a couple of other players, as mentioned above, along with another strong game from last week’s co-winner: Tyrique Jarrett. However, Conner’s statistics, along with coming up big, when it mattered most give him the award.

Conner finished yesterday with 20 rushes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. He also chipped in two catches for 28 yards on the receiving end. And in case you missed it, he also played defensive end and put some pressure on Kurt Benkert on an important late drive for Virginia, nearly picking up a sack in the process.

Ho-hum...just another day for number 24. Do you want more? OK, how about the clutch plays Conner put on the field yesterday. Pitt went three-and-out right off the bat when not using Conner, but on their second possession, with Pitt trailing 7-0 and facing 2nd and 10, big James completely ran over two Virginia defenders in route to a 16-yard run. This seemed to get the offense going. Add to that two 3rd-and-2 conversions and one 4th-and-one run that resulted in a first down and it seemed that every time the Panthers needed a big play, James Conner provided it.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

Expect to see more of James Conner on defense for Panthers

Yesterday, Pitt running back James Conner got onto the field as a defensive end in the Panthers' win against Virginia. He was also pretty effective, nearly sacking the quarterback on a play.

If you are a Pitt fan hoping to see more of that, it sounds as if you'll get your wish. Here's what head coach Pat Narduzzi said after the game:

''We've been kind of working that in and as you guys know, he was recruited as a defensive lineman,'' Narduzzi said. ''... James is a super football player. I was happy he got a hurry on the quarterback and we'll have a little bit more of that.''

The key is obviously the last part of that where he suggests Conner could be doing that a bit more.

As I said yesterday, I'm not sure I want to see James back there on defense playing 15-20 snaps. But at the same time, if Pitt wants to use him on a few plays, similar to what they do with Whitehead on offense, I think that could be helpful. Narduzzi also talked about using Conner in part to help keep his other players fresh, which obviously makes a lot of sense. And with Pitt missing star defensive end Ejuan Price with an injury for part of yesterday, inserting him made even more sense.

I'll be interested to see how much they use Conner on defense going forward. And from the sounds of it, we can count on Conner playing there in some capacity.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

The Pitt-Virginia Turning Point of the Game: Whitehead Pick 6

Jordan Whitehead’s interception was an easy selection as The Turning Point of the Game

In writing about “The Turning Point” week in and week out during Pitt’s football seasons, yesterday couldn’t have been easier. Safety Jordan Whitehead’s pick-6 is The Turning Point of yesterday’s 45-31 victory over Virginia.

Pitt had just tied the game at 28, with under one minute remaining. With two timeouts and the Panthers’ suspect secondary, Virginia decided to take a chance. It was one that they would regret. The Cavaliers drove to almost midfield, before quarterback Kurt Benkert looked to his right and tried the seam. Unfortunately, Pitt safety, Jordan Whitehead, was waiting right there.

The sophomore picked off Benkert’s pass at the Pitt 41-yard line and immediately turned towards the right sideline. Whitehead followed his blockers and made one cutback, inside the 10, and streaked almost untouched into the end zone. The pick-6 gave Pitt a 35-28 lead with only four ticks left on the clock before halftime, and Pitt received the opening second half kickoff, too.

It was the Panthers’ first lead of the game and it was one that they would never relinquish. Pitt has made the majority of their games too close for comfort, but today was not one of them. Whitehead’s play, just before halftime, seemed to take the sail out of Virginia’s offense. The Pitt defense stiffened up in the second half and the Cavaliers would never get closer than the 35-28 deficit.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

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