Updated: May 18
The top 10 players returning to the Pittsburgh Panthers for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Keyshon Camp, DI
2. Paris Ford, S
3. Patrick Jones III, Edge Defender
4. Jalen Twyman, DI
5. Damarri Mathis, CB
6. Cam Bright, LB
7. Kenny Pickett, QB
8. Jimmy Morrissey, C
9. Damar Hamlin, CB
10. Taysir Mack, WR
Honorable Mention: Deslin Alexandre, DI; Phil Campbell III, LB; Jason Pinnock, CB; Bryce Hargrove, G
Had Camp not been injured in Week 1, he likely would have left Pitt and been a high draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Instead, he returns for the 2020 college season and highlights what is perhaps the nation's top defense of returning stars on paper.
Camp is a high-powered, high-motor pass-rusher who in his only game last year, recorded a sack, four QB hits and another pressure despite just 19 total plays. He will be a force to be reckoned with if healthy this fall.
Ford is the hardest-hitting safety returning to the ACC this season, and a sure-tackler to boot. He led the team in tackles while also possessing innate abilities in the open field just the same as he does in coverage. He's got great speed and great hands at the point of contact. He's a missile to the football.
Jones' 2019 season was awesome. Same with Twyman's. That's just how good this defense is. Any other defensive roster these two would be up there at No. 1 or No. 2 as Jones recorded an insane amount of total pressure and Twyman's 10.5 sacks led the team, all coming from up the middle.
Then there's Mathis and Bright, guys who would be all over the top three players on any other defense but find themselves at No. 5 and 6, respectively. Mathis is a ballhawk who recorded 10 plays on the ball last year and limited catches into his coverage. Bright is a high-volume tackler who has great hands as well. Hamlin rounds out the top defenders as seven of the top 10 players belong to the defense.
Pickett will need to improve down-to-down accuracy for them to ultimately win some games but returns a solid group of offensive players including Taysir Mack, who could see upwards of 130 targets this year.