Pitt lands Aliquippa’s M.J. Devonshire to bolster secondary

Pitt landed a cornerback with some collegiate experience — and a lofty high school reputation — when Aliquippa graduate M.J. Devonshire pledged to enroll next year, his father, Marlin Devonshire Sr., told the Tribune-Review.

A four-star prospect in the class of 2019, Devonshire spent the past two seasons at Kentucky before entering the NCAA’s transfer portal earlier this month. After he enrolls, he will have four years of eligibility.

When he committed to Kentucky in 2019, Devonshire was the 32nd-ranked high school cornerback in the nation, according to Rivals.com. He was the sixth overall prospect in Pennsylvania, second in the WPIAL to Pine-Richland offensive lineman Andrew Kristofic.

Devonshire, also an outstanding kick returner, helped lead Aliquippa to a state football championship in the fall of 2018 before winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the PIAA Class AA track and field championships in the spring of 2019. He was the 2019 Trib HSSN Boys Athlete of the Year.

Before graduating from Aliquippa, Devonshire had scholarship offers from 13 schools, including Ohio State, Pitt, West Virginia, Michigan State, USC, Oregon State, Indiana, Maryland, Syracuse and Ole Miss.

Since Devonshire entered the portal, Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia had been seriously recruiting him.

Devonshire, 5-foot-11, 182 pounds, redshirted during the ‘19 season and played in nine games for Kentucky this season, recording one tackle.

Meanwhile, coach Pat Narduzzi has been aggressive in rebuilding Pitt’s secondary, signing six high school defensive backs during the early period two weeks ago. Devonshire will make seven, an impressive haul of young talent at cornerback and safety.

Improvement is needed after Pitt finished 6-5 and was last in the ACC in touchdown passes allowed (23) this season.

After cornerback Jason Pinnock declared for the NFL Draft — and safeties Damar Hamlin and Paris Ford also moved on — Pitt’s secondary will take on a decidedly different look in 2021. Initially, Devonshire may compete for playing time with returning cornerbacks Damarri Mathis, A.J. Woods and Marquis Williams.

Mathis, a senior, missed the entire 2020 season with an injury suffered during training camp. Woods and Williams stepped up to replace him and shared one cornerback position.

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The post Pitt lands Aliquippa’s M.J. Devonshire to bolster secondary first appeared on Trib HSSN.

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