Upper St. Clair senior Joe Repischak isn’t going to Pitt to ease the burden on the scholarship arms at summer practice (although he certainly will do that).
He decided Wednesday to walk on for two of the most basic reasons: Pitt gave him a chance and he plans to eventually compete for the starting quarterback job.
“That’s the goal,” he said. “I believe I definitely can be a starter.”
Repischak, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, had no scholarship offers — although Cornell and Penn were among several schools that had shown considerable interest — but he said he wanted to play big-time football.
He will be one of four quarterbacks on campus this summer, joining sophomore Chad Voytik, senior Trey Anderson and incoming freshman Adam Bertke.
At the 2015 spring drills, Repischak could be one of only three quarterbacks at practice. Although he clings to loftier ambitions, he at least eases a personnel shortage at the position.
Pitt contacted him about walking on about a month ago. He and his parents visited the football facility last week, met coach Paul Chryst and other staff members and received a guided tour of the campus from director of football relations Bob Junko (an Upper St. Clair man himself).
“It felt like it’s the best fit for me,” Repischak said. “It seems like they care about their players a lot. It made me feel good about my choice.”
Anderson is the most recent quarterback to enter Pitt as a walk-on and play in a game. In 2011, he played four games as a freshman in relief of Tino Sunseri, completing 12 passes after coach Todd Graham had awarded him with a scholarship.
The most famous walk-on quarterback at Pitt was Tom Yewcic, who started three games in 1976 after injuries to Robert Haygood and Matt Cavanaugh. Pitt won all three on its way to a national championship. In the Navy game, Yewcic made the pitch to Tony Dorsett on the carry in which he broke the NCAA rushing record.
At Upper St. Clair, Repischak led the Panthers (11-1) to an undefeated regular season and the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals where they lost to Woodland Hills, 28-21.
He finished the season throwing for 1,411 yards and seven touchdowns and running for 304 and eight scores. Late in the season, when Upper St. Clair had injuries at running back, he became an important part of the running game.
Repischak, who has a 4.3 grade-point average, plans to major in finance and enter Pitt’s business school. He will enroll in June when he will begin working out with the team.