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Former Jeannette defensive lineman Anthony Johnson transfers to Pitt



Pitt appears to be Anthony Johnson’s final destination on his twisting and turning college football tour. Johnson, a big pass rusher who has become a regular in the NCAA transfer portal, has announced his decision to join the Panthers after previously committing to Mississippi State and Illinois.

Johnson, a former Jeannette standout who led the WPIAL and PIAA championship defense in 2017, will begin his sixth college season. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle spent his final year of school football at Cleveland Heights in Ohio.

He went to four high schools in Western Pennsylvania the last time he was there: Allderdice, Chartiers Valley, Lincoln Park, and Jeannette.

Johnson didn’t unpack his suitcase when he started college, either. After a redshirt year at Bowling Green, he transferred and played three seasons at Youngstown State, where he recorded 36 tackles and five sacks.

Last season, he made 25 tackles, 6 1/2 for loss, and five sacks in 13 games for the Penguins. Last year, his 16 quarterback pressures ranked sixth among FCS interior defensive linemen, according to Pro Football Focus.

Pitt has increased its defensive depth by adding Nebraska transfer Chief Borders (6-4, 245), who has two years of eligibility remaining. Johnson follows suit.

Johnson, Pitt’s 15th transfer pick for 2024, verbally committed to Illinois last December, but before playing a game in the Big Ten, he switched to Mississippi State in the SEC.

His plans altered again during spring practices, when he decommitted and returned to the Pittsburgh region, hoping to contribute in the ACC.

He had received multiple Power 5 offers and had down his options to four schools: Pitt, Mississippi State, Arkansas, and Michigan State.

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