The story of the walk-on quarterback rising to the cream of the crop, is the feel good story that everyone loves to hear. It is the story of perseverance as most of these guys were told time and time again that they weren’t good enough by multiple programs.
Over a month ago, Pitt added a walk-on quarterback in Justin Sliwoski. Sliwoski put up crazy numbers in his time at Hempfield Area High School in nearby Greensburg, Pennsylvania that etched him all throughout the Hempfield football programs record books including six number one spots, yet he still received very little interest out of high school.
Sliwoski is number one in passing yards in a season (2007 yards), number one in passing yards in a career (3997 yards), number one in passing touchdowns in a season (19 passing TD’s), number one in passing touchdowns in a career (40 passing TD’s), number one in completions in a season (153 completions) and lastly number one in completions in a career (298 completions).
Despite all of these numbers, Sliwoski who was also a two-year captain and first team all conference got overlooked out of high school. He had Ivy League offers, Group of Five offers, and Division Two offers, however, he had no power five offers. Then, it all came together and Pitt offered him a preferred walk-on spot.
“I am just really looking forward to the opportunity at Pitt and getting a chance to compete,” Sliwoski said, “There were a couple of other schools talking about it [offering him a preferred walk-on spot], but I knew Pitt was where I wanted to be.”
Sliwoski knew right away that Pitt was where he wanted to be in every single way. It was a big contributor to why Pitt was the only one in the mix in the preferred walk-on role. Other schools would’ve pulled the plug and offered him that walk-on spot, but, since he knew Pitt was the place they didn’t.
“I like everything about it down there and I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” he said. “I felt academically and athletically it had everything.”
Pitt doesn’t only have everything he needs academically and athletically it also has his brother Ryan Sliwoski who is a redshirt Junior fullback for Pitt. Sliwoski is excited to play with his brother again, but, he tried to let his brother stay out of his college choice and his brother did the same. They both are extremely excited for the opportunity to play together on the same team again as the last time that they played on the same field was when Justin was just a freshman in high school and Ryan was a senior.
“I’m so excited that we get to play with each other again, I would have never thought we would get the chance to play again,” Sliwoski said.
Despite being overlooked, Sliwoski tries not to think about that part of it and just wants to focus on his future.
“I want to compete for everything, nothing is given to anyone so if I can compete and do the best to my abilities, I’m really looking forward to seeing everything happen,” Sliwoski said.