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September 20, 2012With news that Pitt head coach Paul Chryst awarded scholarships to fullback Adam Lazenga and linebacker Emanuel Rackard this week, the Panthers' scholarship roster increased to 84.
NCAA rules limit Division I football programs to 85 scholarship players on the roster, putting Pitt one player under the limit.
Lazenga, a redshirt sophomore, is listed on Pitt's depth chart as the backup fullback and has appeared in all three games this season on special teams. Rackard earned his scholarship after working into a backup role at strong-side linebacker. The redshirt junior has also appeared in all three games on special teams and lined up with the defense against Cincinnati.
Lazenga and Rackard are just the latest additions to Pitt's sophomore-eligible and junior-eligible classes since the start of training camp. Redshirt sophomore fullback Mark Giubilato also earned a scholarship after two years as a walk-on. Redshirt junior specialists Matt Yoklic and Kevin Barthelemy also went on scholarship this year.
Pitt also added junior Manasseh Garner as a transfer from Wisconsin at the start of the season. Garner has a redshirt available and will use that this season, making him a redshirt junior in 2013.
Going forward, Pitt figures to have four scholarship fullbacks on the roster next season, with Lazenga, Giubilato, redshirt sophomore David Durham, who is sitting out this season after transferring from Ohio State, and Gateway recruit Jaymar Parrish.
Pitt will also be in position to have a glut of scholarship specialists next season. Redshirt senior Kevin Harper will graduate, but the Panthers return Yoklic and Barthelemy and will add kicker recruit Chris Blewitt and punter recruit Ryan Winslow.
The defensive line remains Pitt's under-staffed position, with a total of 11 scholarship players for the four spots on the line.
As it pertains to recruiting, Pitt has 15 senior-eligible players and one extra space on the current roster, meaning the coaches' baseline for the recruiting class of 2013 is 16. There is a reasonable likelihood of attrition in the offseason, and Pitt should be able to get close to the full complement of 25.
Click here for the 2012 Scholarship Board