PITTSBURGH –– For the second time in less than a month, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers have lost a defensive lineman for the season due to injury.
Junior defensive tackle Keyshon Camp sustained a knee injury last Saturday against Virginia, and will undergo season-ending surgery the program announced on Wednesday.
Pitt previously lost junior defensive end Rashad Weaver to an ACL tear less than a week into training camp.
“We are really heartbroken for Keyshon,” Head Coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement. “He put a tremendous amount of work in during the offseason and was outstanding against Virginia before he got hurt.
“Keyshon is a strong young man, though, and I know he won’t let this adversity sidetrack him.”
Camp retweeted Pitt’s press release Wednesday afternoon, writing “God always have a plan! He gives his strongest battles to his strongest soldiers.”
At the end of his Monday press conference, Narduzzi said the team was still waiting on an evaluation of an injured player, but gave no further details. It now seems Camp was the player Narduzzi was referring to.
“I had to break it to him and those are some of the worst conversations,” Narduzzi said on his radio show Wednesday evening of delivering the news about the injury to Camp.
Narduzzi also said on his radio show that it’s believed that Camp injured his knee and went back out to play against the Cavaliers.
In the 19 snaps Camp played against Virginia, he had 6 quarterback pressures and had an 88.1 pass rush grade, according to Pro Football Focus. He also had a tackle and combined with linebacker Elias Reynolds to sack mobile quarterback Bryce Perkins on 3rd down in the 1st quarter of Saturday’s game.
The sack forced the Cavaliers to settle for a field goal on their first drive of the game.
Luckily, defensive tackle is a position where the Panthers have depth.
Throughout training camp, both Narduzzi and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said they believed there were three starters at defensive tackle: Camp, sophomore Jaylen Twyman, and senior Amir Watts who will now move into the starting role full-time. Watts started 10 games last season, racking up 18 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, and an interception.
Behind Watts and Twyman, redshirt-freshmen Devin Danielson, David Green and Tyler Bentley will be expected to rotate in at the position. All three played against Virginia.
“Inside, Devin Danielson played well ... young guy that maybe played 10 snaps,” Narduzzi said at Monday’s press conference. “Bentley and Green got in, were solid near the end, so they were good, too.”
This is the second year in-a-row Camp has sustained a season-ending injury; he suffered an upper-body injury against Notre Dame last season which kept him out of Pitt’s final seven games.
Camp’s abbreviated 2018 season saw him finish with 14 tackles, 21/2 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks.
Pitt (0-1) hosts Ohio University, Saturday at 11 a.m. at Heinz Field.
–– Amanda Filipcic-Godsey is a freelance writer in Pittsburgh. She covers Pitt football and basketball for CNHI Pa. newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaFGodsey/