Pitt Won't Hand Phil Jurkovec Starting Job

Inside The Panthers
Inside The Panthers

Pitt Panthers coaches have been clear with Phil Jurkovec.

PITTSBURGH -- When Kedon Slovis' decision to transfer became public and Phil Jurkovec's decision to fill the open spot he left followed close behind, the logical conclusion was that he would immediately fill the Pitt Panthers' now vacant starting quarterback job.

But in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , Jurkovec said Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, who coached Jurkovec during his first two years at Boston College, told him he would need to earn the starting job on the field.

“Coach Cignetti made it very clear that they are not handing me anything,” Jurkovec said. “He made it clear that I have to come in and compete for the job. They’ve got good players there.”

Jurkovec joins a quarterback room staffed by two other Panthers who have starting experience, even if it is limited experience at that.

Redshirt senior Nick Patti has two career starts under his belt, but finished just one of those games. The only full game of his career was a 19-17 win over Delaware in 2019. Patti completed 23 of 37 passes for 271 yards, two touchdowns and a pick that day.

Redshirt freshman Nate Yarnell has one career start - a 34-13 victory over Western Michigan on the road this year. He completed nine of 12 throws for 179 yards and a touchdown in that game.

But Jurkovec has faith he can win the job. He said he doesn't think he's reached his full potential and is eager to contribute as much as he can.

“I think I haven’t reached my full potential yet,” Jurkovec said. “I feel like I have a God-given talent to play football. That’s why I’m still chasing this dream of maybe playing in the NFL. But I’m not coming to Pitt thinking about using it as a stepping stone for the NFL. I don’t want to be an individual there. I want to do whatever I can to help Pitt win."

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