Pitt Loses a Transfer to "Unforeseen Circumstances"

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Shortly before Panther team captain and star linebacker, Cam Bright, entered the transfer portal, Pitt had picked up a safety/linebacker in the transfer portal themselves.  On December 31st, New Year’s Eve, Pat Narduzzi tweeted out the graphic, we’ve become all so familiar with, announcing that former Michigan State safety, Michael Dowell, was transferring to Pitt. 

Dowell would certainly not replace a playmaker like Bright, but he has experience against Power 5 competition and has two more years of eligibility.  He recorded 40 tackles in 11 games played as a junior last season for the Spartans, and had 27 tackles with half a sack the season before.  Dowell could play both linebacker and safety, and would add to the much needed defensive back depth for the Panthers in 2022.

Unfortunately, Dowell tweeted last night that “due to unforeseen circumstances” he would no longer be transferring to Pitt and his eligibility had been reopened.  This was certainly a surprise, and a tough shot to Pitt’s defensive depth. 

There have been reports that Pitt’s linebacker coach, Ryan Manalac, is not especially well liked.  However, if Dowell decommitted because of that, I’d hope it would have taken a lot more than 15 days for him to grow a resentment for Manalac.  I cannot imagine that as the reason for this particular decision.

It seemed from the tweet that Dowell’s did not make this decision on his own behalf.  There were also rumors that Dowell did not meet vaccination requirements for the University of Pittsburgh, and that the University was cancelling enrollments based on that.  However, sources close to the university say they have not heard of such happenings going on or cancellations occurring.  Regardless of the reason, Pitt’s linebacker depth is dwindling, in what is otherwise a pretty stacked roster going into the 2022 season.