For Pittsburgh Panthers new starting quarterback Tom Savage, 2009 must seem like so long ago.
That year, as a true freshman at Rutgers, Savage threw for 2,211 yards and 14 touchdowns and was named the offensive MVP for the Scarlet Knights. He seemed primed to take Rutgers to the next level as a program, but his sophomore year was a major disappointment. Not only did he endure several injuries, he eventually lost his starting job and decided to transfer to Arizona.
While sitting out a year following his transfer, Rich Rodriguez was hired as the Wildcats head coach. Unfortunately, Savage, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound pocket passer, didn’t fit into Rodriguez’s spread attack — just ask Ryan Mallett. So, before playing one snap at Arizona, Savage decided to transfer again. This time, he went to Pittsburgh.
This offseason, Savage has been battling redshirt freshman Chad Voytik for the starting job, and on Wednesday afternoon, was finally named the starter. Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst said both players were progressing well, but that Savage gives them the best chance to win.
“I like what (Savage) has done to this point,” Chryst told reporters. “It is a reflection of where Tom is at. I feel really good and confident with Tom.”
Voytik is the better athlete of the two, but Savage has the experience of playing at the collegiate level, something that could prove valuable as Pittsburgh transitions into the ACC.
Savage’s first start will be a challenge, as the Panthers take on the Florida State Seminoles to open the season on Labor Day.