PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Last year Pitt used the legs of ACC leading rusher Israel Abanikanda and Rodney Hammond, Jr. to a nine-win season. With Izzy off to the NFL, Kedon Slovis to BYU, Phil Jurkovec and Christian Veilleux in and a couple of new receivers. Look for more passing in 2023.
The sign of a good offense is designing one to fit the best players on your roster. No doubt with Abanikanda and Hammond, along with Vincent Davis and the inconsistencies of Slovis, running was the choice.
They committed to it and Abanikanda set individual game records. They averaged 187 yards a game on the ground during their five-game winning streak to end the year. It’s a new season in 2023 and one of their newcomers said it’s going to change.
“We are going to be able to throw the ball now,” said Pitt freshman receiver Lamar Seymore. “Last year they were a run-heavy team and now they want to spread the ball. That’s better for me as a receiver.”
Seymore and Florida transfer Daejon Reynolds are part of that change. Both can be dynamic and both are confident.
“I get open and score touchdowns,” Reynolds said. “That’s really it. I work hard, I’m competitive too.”
“People are going to label me as a play-maker,” Reynolds said. “The quarterback throws the ball to me, it’s either my ball or nobody else’s ball. I feel I can play any receiver position-slot, outside, I can block.”
Neither of those comments came across as cocky, more matter-of-fact. They weren’t saying it because they needed you to believe it to boost their egos. It’s just how they feel about their skills.
Seymore said he expects people to doubt he will play as a true freshman as he has already enrolled in classes to be able to participate in Spring football. He’s good with that, but said he will play.
The 6’1”, 180-pound receiver from Miami was a four-time state champion averaging 17.5 yards-per-catch as a senior and 18.7 yards-per-catch as a junior with 16 receiving touchdowns. He turned down offers from the Hurricanes, Florida State, Auburn, Colorado, Georgia, Penn State, Texas A&M and others.
Miami is a connect with the Florida transfer as well. The Hurricanes were aggressively recruiting Reynolds when he entered the transfer portal, but the Panthers blowing them out seemed to play a role in that.
“I feel like Pitt was the right choice for me and I saw what they did to them last year,” Reynolds said. “I’d rather come here than there.”
Reynolds took note of what Jared Wayne did in that game, 11 receptions for 205 yards and three touchdowns. He knows of the history of Biletnikoff Award winners and believes he can add to that.
Not recruited by Pitt out of high school, Reynolds could have gone to Miami, Georgia, LSU or Tennessee. He played one game his first season with the Gators and then feels he only got one true opportunity last year. While he played in eight games, Reynolds got a lot of reps at Vanderbilt. The 6’2”, 205-pounder tore up the Commodores for eight receptions for 165 yards (20.6 average) and a pair of touchdowns in what ended up being an upset loss.
“The Vanderbilt game that I played it was the only chance I really got to put my talents on display and look what I did,” Reynolds said. “People say it’s just against Vanderbilt, but Vanderbilt is a SEC team too. I feel as if people should put that in context.”
Reynolds says he’s getting extra work when he can with the new quarterbacks, as is Seymore. They believe they will be part of a different looking offense in 2023.