With just a week until Pitt opens the season against Albany, this is the last edition of the Pitt football positional previews – examing the special teams unit.
There are two kickers on the roster – Alex Kessman and Jake Scarton.
After redshirting as a true freshman, Kessman emerged as the starting kicker in the 2017 season. He broke a couple records, including a 56-yard field goal at Syracuse (which tied the Pitt school record) and broke the Carrier Dome mark record for longest field goal.
He finished the year making 11-of-19 field goals and 32-of-32 extra points for a team-high 67 points. Additionally, as the kickoff specialist, Kessman had 29 touchbacks on 58 kicks. He will be the starter this year and is going to play a huge role in some key toss-up games.
The other kicker on Pitt’s roster is Jake Scarton. Scarton joined the team as a training camp walk-on in 2017. He redshirted in 2017 after Alex Kessman won the starting job.
In his senior year of high school he accounted for 84 points, converting 66 extra points and six field goals. Scarton also had a season-long kick of 46 yards. This play earned him first team all-region and all-district. Expect him to not step on the field unless a injury occurs.
Christodoulou, a former standout Australian rules football player, redshirted last year with veteran punter Ryan Winslow in his senior year. With Winslow gone, expect Christodoulou to be the starter this year as one of only two punters on the roster.
Ethan Van Buskirk
Van Buskirk joined Pitt as a preffered walk-on at the kicking position. He wound up making the transition over to punter due to the lack of depth at the position. Punting won’t be new to him as he also took on his high school’s punting duties.
In his senior year he averaged 30.3 yards per punt, with his longest coming in at 43 yards. Don’t expect him to play this year.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
Below is how we expect the kicking depth chart to play out.
Expect Alex Kessman to retain the starting duties at the kicker position. He could very well decide multiple games for Pitt this year, considering how many toss-up games are on the schedule. Due to this, he is going to be a key part to this Panthers squad.
Below is how we expect the punting depth chart to play out.
|2||Ethan Van Buskirk|
Kirk Christodoulou is going to come away with the starting job. There’s not enough film to know how good he will be, but he will be important when it comes to pinning opponents in key situations. The little things, like punting, will matter a lot for this Pitt team so Christodoulou will play an important role.
The special teams unit is going to be an important one, especially in some key toss-up games.
That is it for the Pitt football positional previews until next year. Enjoy the season!