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‘I Did not Come to Pitt to Sit on the Bench’: New Pitt QB Christian Veilleux Intends to Make His Mark



Christian Veilleux loved his go to to Pitt the primary time round, however he knew then it wasn’t a match. Or slightly, he didn’t suppose he’d be a slot in Pittsburgh.

He didn’t suppose Pitt was what he was in search of. And his recruiting course of, as a four-star quarterback within the class of 2021, would finally slim right down to Clemson, Duke, LSU, Penn State and Tennessee. He’d select the Nittany Lions.

After two seasons at Penn State, with only one probability to showcase his expertise in prolonged motion, he entered the switch portal in December. It was a fast course of.

Veilleux, regardless of his development at Penn State, needed to offer himself a recent begin.

He bought his recent begin, however he wasn’t precisely unfamiliar together with his new location both. He’d visited Pittsburgh earlier than, favored his expertise within the metropolis and he instantly heard from Frank Cignetti Jr. upon coming into the switch portal.

Cignetti initially tried to recruit Veilleux to Boston School, however whereas the connection didn’t end in a connection then, it helped the second time round. Cignetti was an enormous motive why Veilleux dedicated to Pitt in December.

“I felt a very good connection, actually good vibe from (Cignetti) and coach Narduzzi and Jon DiBiaso,” Veilleux instructed PSN Wednesday. “I felt plenty of love from these guys. (Pitt has) an awesome enterprise college, particularly with their finance program, that’s what I wish to research, I couldn’t try this at Penn State, and I can do it at Pitt.”

So, whereas he’s enthusiastic about his schooling, he’s additionally excited concerning the alternative to play soccer with a ‘actually good group’ at Pitt, too.

“I feel this time round, the connection with Narduzzi and Cignetti, being within the metropolis of Pittsburgh as nicely, I feel my perspective on Pitt actually modified all through this entire course of,” Veilleux mentioned. “I actually realized to see the worth within the college and the coaches and this system and the group. I felt like it could be an awesome match for me.”

It was an awesome match for Veilleux though he made the daunting bounce from Penn State to Pitt, crossing in-state traces in a rivalry that spans 83 video games courting again to 1915. The prior historical past, which can have delay others, wasn’t an element in any respect.

“I’m from Canada, so I don’t actually get the entire rivalry factor,” Veilleux mentioned. “For PA folks, it’s an enormous factor. However for me, it didn’t even cross my thoughts a single time.”

It simply occurred that Pitt — amidst fixed contact with the teaching employees and an awesome official go to — made sense. It felt like the proper place to be ultimately.

Veilleux arrives with one pseudo-start beneath his belt — taking up for a sick Sean Clifford towards Rutgers. Clifford began the sport 2-of-8, giving method to Veilleux simply earlier than the top of the primary quarter, and he responded by main the Nittany Lions to a 28-0 win.

In simply over three quarters, he accomplished 14-of-25 move makes an attempt for 235 yards and three touchdowns — throwing landing passes to 3 completely different receivers, together with his first collegiate landing to now-NFL star Jahan Dotson.

“(Veilleux’s) poised,” Dotson mentioned after the win. “He was very poised. By no means appeared to get rattled at any second within the recreation. Stayed calm, made the proper reads. He had an incredible recreation. He was every part and extra which you can ask for from a freshman quarterback.”

An absence of alternative in Veilleux’s case, taking part in sparingly in 5 video games over the past two seasons, merely delayed his arrival. He believes he’s the prototypical quarterback to run Cignetti’s pro-style offense.

“I feel once you speak about bodily traits, I feel I’ve bought every part he’s in search of,” Veilleux mentioned. “And I additionally suppose my athleticism brings one other aspect to the desk which he can use to develop the playbook and develop his playcalling — make the most of the quarterback extra within the run recreation. Do extra RPOs.”

Cignetti’s professional ball expertise, a system that surrounds itself with skilled quarterbacks which have succeeded, was actually a draw. “I feel that brings plenty of worth to what he does as a result of it may be accomplished with the proper quarterback,” Veilleux mentioned.

And very similar to Cignetti has surrounded himself with good quarterbacks through the years, Veilleux seems like he’s surrounded himself with good teammates and good coaches at Pitt. There isn’t a doubt in his thoughts that it received’t be a seamless transition.

Nevertheless, he’s additionally surrounded by a former Cignetti-coached quarterback in Boston School switch Phil Jurkovec, too.

Veilleux hasn’t met Jurkovec, however he’s excited to as soon as the pair are on campus collectively. He’s seen the work Jurkovec has put in all through his school profession, and he’s actually excited to study from the older, extra skilled quarterback, and construct that relationship. However it’s additionally nonetheless a contest.

“I imply, I didn’t come to Pitt to sit down on the bench,” Veilleux mentioned. He intends to start out.

He additionally intends to comply with the trail laid out for Pitt quarterbacks left by Kenny Pickett.

“I wanna do what Kenny Pickett did, however do it even higher and larger,” Veilleux mentioned. “He set an awesome path for Pitt quarterbacks and the success he’s had is what some other quarterback would need.

“So, that’s what I wish to are available in and convey to the desk and I wish to get folks to fill these seats in Heinz Stadium or no matter it’s referred to as now, I feel the town of Pittsburgh loves Pitt soccer, so I wish to carry that aspect again to the town.”

Veilleux sees an identical but completely different fashion of participant when evaluating himself to Pickett. He doesn’t like to check himself to different folks typically, however he’s undoubtedly going to sit down down and watch the tape on how Pickett performed the sport — study from the very best.

Pickett, after all, is the beginning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers now. So, he hasn’t gone far. If Veilleux needs to seek out Pickett, all he has to do is go to the opposite aspect of the South Aspect complicated. And he actually plans to take action.

“The truth that the Steelers are actually proper subsequent door and you’ll watch them observe, I look ahead most to making an attempt to ask these guys questions and utilizing these guys as assets and getting my foot within the door with these guys,” Veilleux mentioned.

Veilleux is a Pittsburgh quarterback now, and he intends to comply with within the footsteps of Pickett, all the way in which to the NFL.


Names to Know for Pitt’s Junior Day Guests



It’s the second Junior Day weekend of the 12 months, and if it goes as effectively, as the primary, Pitt’s 2024 recruiting class can be rolling.

Pitt landed a dedication from 2024 three-star operating again Juelz Goff final weekend after his Junior Day go to, and there can be extra recruits from 2024 and 2025 on campus this weekend.

2024 four-star broad receiver commit DayDay Farmer can be making it as much as Pittsburgh this weekend, as will a number of targets offensively and defensively.

So, let’s check out who Pittsburgh Sports activities Now has gathered can be round this weekend.

2024 four-star broad receiver DayDay Farmer — Cocoa Excessive in Cocoa, Florida

Farmer (5-foot-11, 160 kilos) dedicated to Pitt on Christmas Day, selecting the Panthers over provides from Arizona State, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Miami, Michigan State, Missouri, Penn State, USF, Virginia and West Virginia.

2024 three-star broad receiver TJ Moore — Tampa Catholic Excessive in Tampa, Florida

Moore (6-foot-3, 190 kilos) holds a proposal from Pitt, together with 36 different faculties, together with Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee and USC.

2024 three-star defensive lineman Francis Brewu — Thomas Worthington Excessive in Columbus, Ohio

Brewu (6-foot-2, 270 kilos) holds a proposal from Pitt, together with Akron, Ball State, Boston Faculty, Bowling Inexperienced, Cincinnati, Duke, Iowa State, Kent State, Miami (Oh.), Ohio, Toledo and Western Michigan.

2024 three-star defensive lineman Angelo McCullom — Pickerington North Excessive in Lewis Heart, Ohio

McCullom (6-foot-3, 260 kilos) holds a proposal from Pitt, together with Akron, Central Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Oh.) and Toledo.

2024 three-star defensive finish Elijah Kinsler — Bergen Catholic Excessive in Oradell, New Jersey

Kinsler (6-foot-4, 250 kilos) additionally holds a proposal from Pitt, together with Boston Faculty, Connecticut, Purdue and Syracuse.

2024 athlete Dylan Seay — Camden Excessive in Camden, New Jersey

Seay (6-foot-5, 235 kilos) holds an provides from Pitt and Temple.

2024 offensive sort out Josue Cordoba — Plainfield Excessive in Plainfield, New Jersey

Cordoba (6-foot-4, 270 kilos) hasn’t acquired a proposal from Pitt, however he holds provides from Akron and Massachusetts.

2025 offensive lineman Ayden Annarino — Pickerington North Excessive in Lewis Heart, Ohio

Annarino (6-foot-4, 270 kilos) hasn’t acquired a proposal from Pitt, however he has acquired curiosity from Akron, Marshall and Ohio State.

2025 cornerback Tyson Lengthy — North Pickerington Excessive in Lewis Heart, Ohio

Lengthy (6-foot, 170 kilos) hasn’t publically posted any provides, however that may change as he’s solely a sophomore. He’s acquired curiosity from Marshall thus far.

2024 athlete Zack Zandier — Exeter Township Excessive in Exeter, Pennsylvania

Zandier (6-foot-5, 230 kilos) has introduced any public provides, however he did go to Pittsburgh for the Pitt-Virginia Tech matchup.

2024 kicker/punter Sam Bisesi — Iona Prep in New Rochelle, New York

Bisesi is rated because the No. 1 kicker within the northeast and the No. 19 kicker within the nation by Chris Sailer Kicking.

This listing can be up to date as extra info turns into out there.

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Familiarity is Phil Jurkovec’s Buddy As He Returns Dwelling to Pittsburgh



Phil Jurkovec is aware of what to anticipate this time round. A primary week of camp by which footwork is the only emphasis. Critically. You don’t get that many different locations.

He’s very accustomed to his new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. already. The pair spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons collectively at Boston Faculty. It went properly till it didn’t, with accidents hampering the follow-up to a powerful debut season collectively and Cignetti leaving for Pitt forward of the 2022 season.

It took a 12 months to search out one another once more, however on the identical day that Jurkovec entered the switch portal in December, he dedicated to Pitt — and returned to Cignetti.

“I owe a variety of my success at Boston Faculty to educate Cignetti,” Jurkovec stated Wednesday on the UPMC Rooney Sports activities Advanced. “He actually is aware of methods to coach quarterbacks, so I’m so blissful to be again in that system and the best way that they prepare the quarterback. It’s completely different.”

As an alternative of watching Joe Burrow movie, Cignetti throws on outdated Joe Montana tapes from the Eighties. When you’re a quarterback at Pitt, you’re accustomed to the historical past of former San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Invoice Walsh’s West Coast offense.

It’s an offense used within the NFL to this present day, and as Cignetti has had success within the NFL himself, he holds his quarterbacks to the next customary.

“(Cignetti) has excessive expectations, and he retains them for the entire room,” Jurkovec stated. “He’s massive on competitors and talking the identical language. It’s a bit bit completely different now as a result of I’ve a few years on this offense beneath my belt.”

It’s not simply Cignetti’s offense that Jurkovec is accustomed to both. He’s from Pittsburgh, after all. Or the Pittsburgh suburbs, at the very least, as he attended Pine-Richland in Gibsonia. He realized the sport, grew up and thrived in Pittsburgh.

He starred as Mr. Soccer Pennsylvania at P-R, racking up gaudy numbers and successful a PIAA championship as a senior, and he stated it was a tricky determination to go away Pittsburgh. However he nonetheless did, committing to Notre Dame on the time.

He was deadset on Boston Faculty after he left Notre Dame, and even when Pitt was locked in with Kenny Pickett, it took three tries for Jurkovec to lastly discover his approach again dwelling.

“It’s meant quite a bit to me as a result of coach Narduzzi’s given me this chance, however all people in my household, all people I grew up with round right here who helped me out since again in highschool, could be very excited,” Jurkovec stated. “I’m very lucky and grateful to all people that they nonetheless help me at Pitt.”

And whereas Jurkovec looks like that stage of native help is conducive to success, it isn’t unique to his family and friends from again dwelling. It extends to his new Pitt household, too. The success over the past two seasons isn’t unintended. It isn’t random.

“There are a variety of hard-working folks and winners on this crew,” Jurkovec stated. “They received a few years in the past, and this previous 12 months they’d success, 9 wins, however that’s not the place they wanna be.

“I actually like that perspective that they’re not pleased with 9 wins, however they nonetheless had a variety of success this previous 12 months.”

Pitt isn’t the crew it was in 2021, there’s a variety of turnover even from even final season’s squad, however that isn’t essentially a foul factor. The identical is true at quarterback. Pickett, who’s now on the opposite aspect of the wall of the South Aspect facility, gave technique to Kedon Slovis. Slovis, who’s now at BYU, is giving technique to… one other competitors.

Jurkovec is the headliner, after all, however he’s joined within the room by Penn State switch Christian Veilleux, rising third-year quarterback Nate Yarnell and true freshman Ty Dieffenbach. He will be the most skilled signal-caller within the room, however he isn’t taking something as a right.

He’s coming in to compete. If there’s something he’s realized throughout his winding school journey, it’s to be about it. Don’t simply speak about it. Do it. Present up, put within the work and be within the second.

The work has truly already begun. Within the quick time working with new teammates like Rodney Hammond Jr., Gavin Bartholomew, Konata Mumpfield and Bub Means, Jurkovec has seen the aggressive fireplace in his teammates has been infectious.

“Bub and Tae, they at all times need to throw, they by no means get drained, it’s on daily basis,” Jurkovec stated. “They’re fired up to do this, in order that’s nice for me as a result of I’ll throw routes to all of them day.”

Jurkovec is trying ahead to watching — and dealing with — Pickett himself, too. Pickett’s closing season at Pitt is what Jurkovec is trying to replicate most of all, a breakout marketing campaign and ACC championship multi functional. In fact, he wouldn’t thoughts watching the Steelers as a complete both.

In fact, Pittsburgh affords Jurkovec quite a bit. An opportunity to return dwelling, to stroll the corridor of his hometown college because the (potential) beginning quarterback, nevertheless it goes past that. He’s formally one of many hard-working, blue-collar Pittsburghers he grew up admiring.

“I really like Pittsburgh,” Jurkovec stated. “I really like this metropolis. It has all the pieces you prefer to. It has all the pieces to supply to recruits. I feel all of the WPIAL youngsters ought to keep dwelling, all come to Pitt, that’s one thing that hasn’t occurred in for some time, however I feel having guys again, we might love for that to occur.”

Jurkovec, admittedly, is a WPIAL child who determined to go away dwelling. Simply as fellow WPIAL transfers Donovan McMillion (Florida) and Derrick Davis (LSU) did. However all three returned dwelling with a mission: to win, to maintain successful.

And very like Jurkovec is aware of what to anticipate with regards to working with Cignetti and residing in Pittsburgh, he expects to win this time round. As he’s walked across the halls of the South Aspect facility and seen the names of the native quarterbacks who’ve had success at Pitt, it solely makes him need to work tougher.

Pitt has had its justifiable share of ups and downs, however Jurkovec seems to be towards the successes. He seems to be at what Pickett did and needs to emulate it. And after watching the perfect two-season stretch within the final 40 years, he got here to a realization.

“You are able to do it at dwelling,” Jurkovec stated. “You may come right here and win. Clearly, the WPIAL doesn’t have the expertise that it used to have up to now, there’s nonetheless a variety of expertise nevertheless it’s not what it was once, however I feel it will be actually cool if the fellows in highschool and youthful got here collectively and wished to remain dwelling and make the tradition right here actually sturdy.”

Nevertheless, if there’s one factor that Jurkovec nonetheless pines for, it’s Acrisure Stadium. Or slightly, its predecessor.

“I want it was Heinz nonetheless,” Jurkovec stated. 

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A Couple of Large-Time 2024 Broad Receivers Can be in Pittsburgh Over the Weekend



This weekend, Pitt might be internet hosting one of the vital closely recruited junior large receivers within the nation.

TJ Moore from Tampa Catholic Excessive College in Tampa, Florida might be on the town making an unofficial go to.

At the moment, each 247Sports and record Moore as a three-star recruit, however that may little doubt change, as he at the moment holds over 40 gives. Tiquan Underwood and Pitt had been the third Energy 5 college to increase Moore a proposal and since then, his recruitment has skyrocketed over the past calendar 12 months.

For instance, Moore acquired gives immediately from Michigan and LSU and acquired a go to from Georgia head coach Kirby Sensible. A few of Moore’s different gives embody Cincinnati, Georgia, Notre Dame, Florida, USC, Ohio State, Clemson, Oregon, Alabama, Florida State, Miami, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and West Virginia.

Courtesy TJ Moore

This might be Moore’s second go to to Pittsburgh in the previous few months. Again in November, Moore made a game-day go to for Pitt’s sport in opposition to Duke.

Previous to that go to, Moore talked to Pittsburgh Sports activities Now about his relationship with Underwood and Pitt.

“Pittsburgh is form of acquainted to me as a result of I lived in Pennsylvania for a few years,” He mentioned. “So, I’ve some sort of connection up there and I knew once I obtained the supply that’d be a right away possibility for me. My dad and mom have a pair mates in Pittsburgh too, in order that’s handy for them. My relationship with Coach Underwood is absolutely good. He checks up on me day-after-day. Simply that truth alone places Pitt in my prime choices.”

Moore might be joined on this go to by one other gifted receiver from Florida and presumably a future teammate.

Pittsburgh Sports activities Now has realized that Pitt 2024 four-star commit large receiver DayDay Farmer may even be at Pitt for an unofficial go to.

Whether or not it’s by coincidence or not, it could be helpful to have each Moore and Farmer making a go to collectively.

Pitt Lands Dedication From 2024 4-Star WR DayDay Farmer

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