When Pitt takes on Penn State this fall, the Panthers have to do so without one of their best defensive players in Jordan Whitehead.
Whitehead, a junior defensive back for Pitt, was suspended, along with two others, by Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi Friday.
In a release from Pitt athletics, Narduzzi announced Whitehead, senior linebacker Quintin Wirginis and junior offensive tackle Alex Bookser would be suspended from playing in at least one game. Senior defensive end Rori Blair was dismissed from the program.
Whitehead and Wirginis will both miss the Penn State game, as Narduzzi suspended them both for three games for a violation of team rules. Bookser, on the other hand was suspended for one game for an offseason legal issue. Blair was dismissed for “conduct detrimental to the program.”
When it comes down to the importance of the suspensions, Whitehead’s is the most significant.
In 2016, Whitehead was named Second Team All-ACC. This came after a freshman year where he was a consensus Freshman All-American, the ACC media’s ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, the ACC coach’s ACC Co-Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year and third Team All-ACC.
Whitehead was also named to the Thorpe, Nagurski, Bednarik and Hornug preseason watch lists.
Wirginis was a reserve linebacker for Pitt, who made an appearance in all 13 games in the 2016 season. However, this season Wirginis is expected to be one of the Panthers’ starting linebackers.
In last year’s game against Penn State, Whitehead recorded seven tackles while Wirginis registered four stops and one sack in the Panthers 42-39 win over the Nittany Lions.