3 Pitt football newcomers who'll have the biggest impacts in 2024

Pittsburgh Spring Football Game
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Pitt football is now already a decade into the Pat Narduzzi era as the Panthers are looking to rebound from their worst single-season under the tenured head coach following a 3-9 campaign. While it’s difficult to imagine Narduzzi -- the second winningest coach in program history -- getting kicked to the curb following 2023, the Panthers seem light years away from their 2021 ACC title season.

So what needs to change?

As a result, Narduzzi cleaned house and hired a slew of new coaching assistants. Pitt also lost a handful of solid players -- most notably on defense -- to the transfer portal, but added a few key players to help improve upon last season’s regression in performance.

These three newcomers will have the biggest impacts in 2024.

1. Eli Holstein, QB (Alabama)

Don’t overreact, Pitt fans, I still think quarterback Nate Yarnell is the answer under center heading into 2024. Yarnell closed out the regular season logging a 66 percent completion rate (second in the ACC) and 9.4 yards per attempt (first in the ACC), while finishing second in the conference in average depth of target. That’s a huge reason for optimism.

But what if the Yarnell experiment somehow falters? Pitt fans are in fairly good hands then, as Eli Holstein is currently the secondary option.

Holstein was the No. 29 overall prospect and the No. 5 pocket passer in the class of 2023 according to ESPN, who flashed that same talent level in the spring game.

While the quarterback battle will continue to be a topic of conversation throughout the summer, either Yarnell or Holstein are deemed as a better option than what Pitt had in 2023 after quarterbacks Phil Jurkovec and Christian Veilleux went a combined 1-8 as starters and commanded an offense that only averaged 20 points per game. Throw redshirt freshman Ty Dieffenbach into the mix and the quarterback room gives new offensive coordinator Kade Bell a deep group to work with.

After all, Holstein is a solid addition who puts a larger emphasis on Pitt’s desire to improve the passing game.