I joked yesterday in the comments section of the thread about Thomas quitting that Thomas must hate me because the news came out right after I posted my column on the offensive line. Well, lo and behold right as I put the finishing touches on the column below, it’s announced he’s coming back.
The column still has some use so I edited it just to go over the players who have left since the spring and why. Sure, the Thomas situation spurred it, but it’s still good to look at all of it. I obviously know that it’s purely coincidence, but it’s fun to joke about. We Pitt fans need to laugh a little at times.
I mentioned on twitter yesterday that we have lost 10 players since the Spring Game either to transfer, 1 year suspension, quitting, or getting kicked off the team. This does not include Tra’von Chapman or Rushel Shell. It did include Todd Thomas, who is not back with the team apparently. Whenever a new coach comes in, you expect some turnover, especially in the first year. But we’ve lost several players who saw playing time last year and that does seem a bit odd.
Let’s take a look at the 9 players we’ve lost since the Spring Game and figure out why they’re gone to see if there’s a pattern. I’ll try to stick to facts with as little opinion and speculation as much as possible.
1) Drew Carswell and Eric Williams: kicked off the team.
Carswell and Williams (along with Khaynin Mosley-Smith) were involved in a drug raid at their apartment. At a minimum, they’re guilty of being associated with a heroin dealer. At worst? Involved with heroin dealing and/or using it. Carswell and Williams have had incidents in the past (Carswell was among those suspended for the YSU game) and it appears as if this was the last straw.
2) Khaynin Mosley-Smith: 1 year suspension.
As I mentioned above, Mosley-Smith was involved in the heroin raid. Unlike Carswell and Williams, I am unaware of previous off field issues. If he has been a good student-athlete, it would explain why he only received a suspension while the others were kicked off the team. There could be other mitigating factors here that only the coaches know, but I’m content suspending a player for 1 year for allowing a heroin dealer into his apartment.
3) Deaysean Rippy: transferred to Colorado.
Rippy was a member of Chryst’s first full recruiting class and did not verbal until after Chryst became coach. Granted, he was only recruited by Chryst for about a month, but he is still a player who agreed to come to Pitt in order to play under Chyrst; he was not a Graham verbal whose scholarship was honored. There were rumors of Rippy’s unhappiness before the transfer but he was allowed to transfer quietly, meaning things weren’t that bad. This appears to be a depth chart issue mostly. Rippy was not on the 2 deep as a RS Freshman and there are 5 other RS Freshmen/Sophomore LBs (Caprara, Grigsby, Bradley, Porchia, Price) and 2 other LBs coming in the fall (Maclean and Galambos). If he isn’t on the 2 deep when there’s scarce depth, he wasn’t going to be on it in the future.
4) Ronald Jones: 1 year suspension.
Jones was suspended for a “violation of team rules.” Not much is know as to why and the team has done a good job keeping this hush-hush. There are numerous reasons for this suspension and I’m not going to speculate.
5) Chris and Demitrious Davis: transferred to Kentucky.
Like Rippy, this appears to be a depth chart issue. The Davis brothers verbaled in July of 2011 while
Fraud Todd Graham was still coach. When Chryst came on, he honored their scholarships. By the time the spring rolled around, Chris was a DB and Demitrious was a RB. Neither one was anywhere to be seen on the depth chart and unfortunately there probably wasn’t a spot on the team for them. They quietly transferred to Kentucky.
6) Dan Mason: “Moved On.”
Mason came back from what should have been a career ending injury to start a few games last year and play surprisingly well. Unfortunately some off field issues led the team to quietly let Mason move on with his life. His injury was very tragic at the time because Mason possessed the talent to play on Sundays.
7) Arthur Doakes: transferred to Stony Brook.
Doakes started 4 contests during the 2012 season but was suspended for the BBVA Compass Bowl. At the time, his future with the team appeared vague and it came as no surprised when he transferred. Doakes did participate in the spring but there were rumors he would be suspended again.
As you can see, the there’s a very strong trend that players fit one of two categories: off field issues or buried on the depth chart. Other than Shell, none of these players appeared to be contributors in 2013.
8) Todd Thomas: quit for a day.
Thomas is apparently back with the team so his portion is moot, but what’s important is that he didn’t burn bridges on his way out. Rushel Shell, however, burned the bridge, defecated on the ashes, put them in a bag, then lit that on fire and put it on Chryst’s doorstep. While I doubt Thomas will be welcomed back with open arms, the point is he’s back. Now he’ll have to prove to the team that he can be trusted and the good news is he has plenty of time to do it.
Don’t forget, Pat Bostick left camp for a few days his freshman year. Guys have bad days and melt down. Thomas has never been an issue to my knowledge and if he takes this as a learning experience, both he and the team will be better for it. Assuming things didn’t get too bad, Chryst can show forgiveness and let Thomas earn his way back. Keep him at 2nd string until he earns his spot. I’m high on Caprara, but he’s not as athleticly gifted or experienced as Thomas, so earning his spot back is quite possible if he does things right.