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Former Wisconsin running back to play at Pitt

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pitt running back Ray Graham may get a chance to take a breath, after all.

Former Wisconsin running back Zach Brown informed the Pitt coaching staff that he will enroll in classes and join the Panthers football team next season. Because he graduated and has played only three seasons, Brown will be eligible immediately.

With three running backs — Montee Ball, James White and Jeffrey Lewis — ahead of him on the Wisconsin depth chart during the spring, Brown likely improves his chances of earning playing time by transferring to Pitt.

Panthers coach Todd Graham is concerned about the lack of depth at running back where Ray Graham is the only experienced player. Junior walk-on Desmond Brown and freshmen Isaac Bennett, Jeremiah Bryson, Malcolm Crockett and Corey Davis are the most prominent backups behind Graham.

Zach Brown, 5-foot-10, 219 pounds, might help relieve Graham, who rushed for 922 yards and eight touchdowns last season while sharing time with Dion Lewis.

Brown, who earned a history degree at Wisconsin, was an important player for the Badgers as a freshman in 2007. He rushed for 568 yards, fifth-most by a freshman in school history, including 450 yards and four touchdowns while starting the final four games of the season.

But he never achieved those levels in the next two seasons before taking a redshirt last year. He leaves Wisconsin with a total of 1,152 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns and 20 receptions for 105 yards.

Brown, 22, also considered Miami before deciding to transfer to Pitt.

Pitt has added four other transfers this year, including former Michigan safeties Ray Vinopal and Cullen Christian and wide receivers Brendon Felder, formerly of North Carolina, and Josh Brinson, who played at El Camino (Calif.) Community College.

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