With only weeks remaining before Pitt’s first-ever ACC game against mighty Florida State, coach Paul Cryst’s football team’s depth chart has taken a hit. Linebacker Todd Thomas, set to be a redshirt junior and big-time contributor come Sept. 2 and beyond, has left the team according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I had a chance to have some conversations with him the last couple of days, and he told me last night and this morning that he’s going to leave the team,” Chryst said. “I’m not going to talk about any of our discussions with him, and should something change, then I’ll visit that.”
Thomas spent last offseason recovering from a torn ACL that would cause him to miss the first four games of the 2012 season. He still managed to finish fourth on the entire team with 59 total tackles on the year while adding an interception.
Unfortunately, he fell behind in the depth chart this summer and fall. Another redshirt junior, Anthony Gonzalez, is currently penciled in as the starter at one outside linebacker spot while redshirt freshman Mike Caprara finds himself at the other.
Cryst did have Thomas as their primary backup, but that was not good enough for him, obviously.
There are no reports of his transfer intentions, if there are any. According to the Gazette, however, he has already received calls from D-II schools, where he would be eligible to play immediately.
As for Cryst’s program, the second-year coach is basically building from the ground up, but he continues to see attrition. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Thomas is the 26th – 26th – player that has either left or been suspended since Cryst took over.
That is a very large number, but senior wide receiver Devin Street said he is focusing on the teammates who remain.
“I can’t do anything about it,” he said. “Some guys have to go. He wasn’t on board, so I can’t do anything about it. I can control the controllables and rally the guys who want to be here.”
Cryst, at this point, must be praying that the rest of his team shares the same mindset as Street.
*UPDATE* Wednesday Aug. 8 – 3:00 p.m.
According to report from Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Thomas will be rejoining the team per his high school basketball coach.
[H/T: NBC Sports]