On the eve of Pitt’s spring game (actually, scrimmage) Friday night at Bethel Park High School, word circulated about another player thinking about transferring.
This time, it’s redshirt freshman linebacker Deaysean Rippy, a four-star recruit from Sto-Rox. More than one person told me it’s a possibility.
When I heard several weeks ago that Rippy might transfer, the first thought that crossed my mind turned to monkey bread, the sweet, gooey pastry Rippy’s grandmother Marian Rowe served for Pitt coach Paul Chryst when he visited their home prior to signing day last year.
Rowe, I’m sure, doesn’t bake monkey bread for just anyone. But Chryst was special in her eyes. She called it the “wow” factor, and she believed the coach had her grandson’s best interests at heart.
She was right, but the coach/player relationship in college athletics is more complicated that just treating a player right. It’s never easy to keep players happy, especially those who are looking at a second consecutive season of inactivity.
Rippy had the same opportunity as every player on the team. But after redshirting last year, he was a clear No. 3 on the depth chart behind starter Anthony Gonzalez and backup Bam Bradley, both of whom will be back in 2014.
Maybe Rippy decided another school would offer more playing time.
I’ve always believed players transfer for at least one of three reasons:
1. More playing time.
2. A fractured relationship with coaches.
3. A desire to move closer to home.
Just a guess, but in many cases a lack of No. 1 leads to No. 2.
Rippy’s transfer isn’t official, and there are people close to him who want him to stay at Pitt.
If he does transfer, Rippy will be the third Pitt player — all from the Class of 2012 — to leave the team during spring drills, joining running back Rushel Shell and defensive lineman Terrell Jackson.
No. 2 had something to do with Shell’s departure, but he’ll never get more of No. 1 than what Pitt was offering. He would have carried the ball 250 times or more this season for the Panthers.
Shell is visiting UCLA this weekend, and word around the Westwood campus is that the Bruins need running backs. Maybe Shell will find a home and happiness on the West Coast. Let’s hope Rippy and Jackson find them, too.