Friends Weatherspoon, Boyd vying for wide receiver spot at Pitt
Kevin Weatherspoon knew Tyler Boyd would be a threat, but that didn't stop him from inviting his old friend into his home and showing him where the jewels are kept.
When the Pitt coaches were luring Boyd last year to play wide receiver, Weatherspoon knew his opportunities at the position would be limited if they were successful. Weatherspoon urged him to come along, anyway.
“All of us are together,” Weatherspoon said of Pitt's five Clairton graduates. “Those are my boys.
“I just told (Boyd) when it all comes down to it, the team that is hometown, they are going to show you the better love. I know coach (Paul) Chryst. I know (wide receivers) coach (Bobby) Engram. I know they know how to use us.”
The result of Weatherspoon's recruiting efforts are playing out at training camp. Boyd, a freshman and one of Pitt's most prized recruits in years, is stepping up and challenging for playing time that still could go to Weatherspoon, a redshirt junior.
Pitt has a desperate need for a wide receiver to line up opposite senior Devin Street, and Weatherspoon and Boyd are two contenders.
“That is the most open of the spots on our offense,” Chryst said. “Probably on the team.”
The problem is that among the nine eligible wide receivers beyond Street, five are freshmen or redshirt freshmen, and the group totals five career receptions (all by senior Ed Tinker).
That leaves a final opportunity for Tinker and Weatherspoon.
“I've been thinking about it the whole summer,” Weatherspoon said.
Boyd led Clairton to four WPIAL and PIAA championships — he joined Weatherspoon on the first one in 2009 — and a Pennsylvania record 63-game winning streak. He is the most heralded of the group of freshmen receivers that includes Zach Challingsworth of South Fayette, Chris Wuestner of Carlisle, Jester Weah of Madison, Wis., and Reggie Green of Cranford, N.J.
The expectations for Boyd are high, but he welcomes them.
“I feel like I can come in here and make a huge impact,” he said. “Some people are looking at me as that. I'm just going to take the lead and try to prove they are right.
“It's definitely a lot of pressure, for sure. But I'm used to the pressure coming from a school that won 63 games in a row. As long as my team's got my back and they ride with me and I got them, I'll be cool.”
Weatherspoon doesn't doubt Boyd can succeed.
“One thing about (players from Clairton) is we work hard,” he said. “That's one thing the coaches instilled in us is just to work hard, no matter what, and don't let anyone outwork you.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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