When running back Jameel Poteat visited Pitt with his Cincinnati teammates in 2011, something felt weird.
“It felt like I was at home and I’m (playing) on the other side,” he said.
Weirdness will be replaced by a familiar feel this year after Poteat said he will transfer to Pitt. He will sit out the 2014 season as a walk-on and be eligible to play in 2015, currently his final year of eligibility.
Poteat, who attended Stony Brook last year but played in only six games due to a high ankle sprain, said he will apply for a medical redshirt in an attempt to gain a second year of eligibility at Pitt.
“The worst thing (the NCAA) can say is no,” he said.
In any case, Poteat, 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, is back where his collegiate career almost started.
He committed to Pitt in 2010 while he was a standout at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg where he rushed for 4,832 yards and was the No. 6 overall prospect in Pennsylvania, according to Rivals.com.
When Dave Wannstedt was fired, his replacement, Michael Haywood, called.
“He kind of scared me,” Poteat said. He said, `I’m coming to your house and you’re coming to Pitt.’ ”
But Haywood was fired two weeks later after a domestic incident and Poteat settled for Cincinnati.
“I wish I would have stayed (with Pitt) three years ago,” he said. “But everything happens for a reason.”
Poteat said his ankle bothered him at times during his two seasons at Cincinnati where he had 57 carries for 227 yards and two touchdowns. When he decided to transfer from Cincinnati, he chose Stony Brook when he couldn’t reconnect with Pitt.
But he followed the Panthers’ fortunes, always keeping this thought in the back of his mind:
“I felt like that was the offense I need to be in,” he said. “I need to go back. I really thank the coaches for bringing me in.”
Poteat has two other interesting ties to Pitt.
– He said coach Paul Chryst offered him a scholarship to Wisconsin when he was the Badgers’ offensive coordinator, but Poteat thought it was too far from home.
– His cousin, Hank Poteat, played defensive back for Pitt and the Steelers and is a Pitt graduate assistant working with the secondary.
“He’s going to be hard on me,” Jameel said, laughing.