ShareThis Page

Pitt football dismisses senior defensive tackle Taleni

Jerry DiPaola
| Friday, April 28, 2017, 5:21 p.m.
Pitt's Jeremiah Taleni drops Virginia Tech running back Marshawn Williams for a loss in the third quarter Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Jeremiah Taleni drops Virginia Tech running back Marshawn Williams for a loss in the third quarter Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, at Heinz Field.

Pitt suffered a serious blow Friday when coach Pat Narduzzi dismissed senior defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni for disciplinary reasons.

Taleni played in 21 games the past three seasons, with only four starts. But he was the most experienced interior lineman on the team. Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge was counting on Taleni to be a leader and a playmaker at his position.

“(Taleni) is definitely the guy who is on another level from those guys,” Partridge said while assessing his position group during spring drills.

Taleni recorded 24 tackles, including 5 12 tackles for a loss (three sacks), last season. He made perhaps the biggest defensive play of the season when he stopped Clemson running back Wayne Gallman for no gain on fourth down in the fourth quarter of Pitt's 43-42 victory against the eventual national champion. Pitt, then, took the football and drove for the game-winning field goal.

Narduzzi made defensive tackle a point of emphasis in his past two recruiting classes, and the loss of Taleni will force Partridge to step up the learning curve for redshirt freshman Keyshon Camp and sophomore Amir Watts.

Depth will come from juniors Shane Roy and Mike Herndon, a former offensive lineman. Also, redshirt freshman Rashad Wheeler of Central Catholic and freshman Deslin Alexandre, who participated in spring drills after graduating early from high school, will get an increased opportunity to earn playing time.

Taleni, a native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, was recruited by Pitt's previous coaching staff in 2013. His loss leaves Pitt with nine returning seniors, plus quarterback Max Browne and tight end Matt Flanagan, who has transferred from Rutgers.

Narduzzi declined comment through a Pitt spokesman.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.