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Louisville Notes- First Look at Veilleux

by J.T. Toth

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Coast Conference.

This past Saturday, the Pitt Panthers upset the #14 Louisville Cardinals 38-21 at Acrisure stadium to end their 4 game losing streak. Draft 412 will go over the draft prospects and how they performed.

QB-Christian Veilleux

Ok, so Christian Veilleux is not a draft prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft, but he may be auditioning to show what he may bring to the table for the 2025 draft. The redshirt sophomore transfer from Penn State is 6’4” 220 lbs. and has an NFL arm that can make all the throws. He started horribly, going 0-5, and looked like nerves were getting the best of him. He was overthrowing open receivers and looked anxious in the pocket.

From that point on, though, he went 12-21 for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns and was able to show off his arm on a couple of long throws where he had excellent touch on each pass. He makes throws look effortless and has elite velocity. He was able to escape pressure on a couple of opportunities and was able to pick up yards. His accuracy, though it improved during the game, was still problematic and he missed on several opportunities. His first start wasn’t perfect by any means, but he beat the #14 team in the country and threw 2 touchdown passes. Draft 412 will be watching him the next 1-2 years to see if he can grow into an NFL type quarterback.

RB- Rodney Hammond

Hammond once again was underused and only carried the ball 11 times for 50 yards. For some reason, Pitt loves to run by committee and instead of force feeding Hammond. Offensive Coordinator Frank Cignetti gave the ball 13 times to C’Bo Flemister for 27 yards, though Flemister did score 2 short yardage touchdowns.

Hammond, when used, is tough to bring down and he hits the holes hard and runs with a low pad level. Though Hammond will never put up big numbers at Pitt, Draft 412 believes each week that he shows a toughness and willingness to pick up extra yards. If Hammond goes into the Draft this season, he is unlikely to be anything more than a 6th or 7th round pick. Hammond may be wise to work the transfer portal to see if he can get a better opportunity to be a lead back.

TE- Gavin Bartholomew

Though he only had 2 receptions for 33 yards, Bartholomew made another catch where he was able to contort his body and snag a pass that was thrown behind him. He was targeted a 3rd time and the ball hit his hands in the endzone on a quick pass from Veilleux, he appeared to lose his balance but was still visibly upset he did not make the catch. Blocking is still his biggest weakness, but he can be a valuable tight end in the NFL with his route running and his ability to stretch the seam. He will be problematic for smaller defensive backs to tackle with his athleticism and size at the next level.

Cornerback- M.J. Devonshire

Devonshire is a playmaker who loves to make the big play on the biggest stage. Last season, he put the West Virginia Mountaineers away with a late game interception return for a touchdown and had 2 touchdown returns on his 3 interceptions for the season. Saturday against Louisville, with Pitt clinging to a 24-21 lead, he took a Jake Plummer miscue 86 yards to the house to put Pitt up by 10 late in the 3rd quarter.

Devonshire had an up and down night up to that point as Louisville wide receiver Jamari Thrash had 9 receptions for 120 yards, mostly on Devonshire’s watch. On several instances, he had tight coverage but did not do a good job of getting his head turned around to make a play on the ball. His big play ability as a cornerback and a return man will be the assets that the NFL covet. Draft 412 thinks he can be in that 2nd group of cornerbacks who can be selected anywhere from the 3rd through the 5th round.

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