ACC: Khaynin Mosley-Smith

While Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has come under scrutiny recently for his intertwining of faith and football, Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik and 20 other Pitt athletes are on a mission to share their Christianity.

[+] EnlargeChad Voytik
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsPitt quarterback Chad Voytik and seven of his teammates are headed to Haiti on a mission trip.
Voytik, who is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, is leaving Sunday for a mission trip to Haiti with seven of his teammates: wide receiver Chris Wuestner, linebacker Mike Caprara, defensive lineman Khaynin Mosley-Smith, linebacker Bam Bradley, running back Isaac Bennett, defensive lineman David Durham and wide receiver Dontez Ford. They’ll stay in an orphanage, where they’ll spend most of their time playing with underprivileged kids, building projects, painting, playing soccer and helping out the community in any way they can. They will return May 3.

“It’s been a really good experience, getting to know all of these people and these athletes,” Voytik said. “They go every year and I’ve been wanting an opportunity like that to step out of my comfort zone and share my faith, and this is the perfect opportunity so I had to take it.”

Pitt coach Paul Chryst said he had no problem with his projected starting quarterback leaving the country for the mission trip.

“That’s something that fits who he is,” Chryst said. “Chad’s smart. There’s a bigger world, and he’s been blessed and has a great family and I think him wanting to do those things truly fits who he is.”

The athletes are traveling as part of a Christian outreach group that is not associated with the school and the participants do fundraising to pay for their trip.
Pitt defensive lineman Darryl Render said he tries not to think about who he’s tasked with replacing this spring: former defensive tackle Aaron Donald, winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award.

No pressure.

No, really -- he’s going to need some help.

[+] EnlargeDarryl Render
Jeanine Leech/Icon SMIDarryl Render knows he alone can't replace the production of Aaron Donald at Pitt.
Render was Donald’s backup in each of the past two seasons, so his is the first name associated with taking over the spot previously held by one of Pitt’s most decorated players. Nobody on the defense, though, is the next Donald, which means it’s going to be a group effort to replace the likely first-round NFL draft pick.

“It’s going to be one big unit,” Render told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve got to work together. Everybody is going to have to make plays. We’re not going to have that one guy who can make every play. Everyone has to give a lending hand. We’re still going to handle our business on the D-line, no doubt. Just because one guy left doesn’t mean the whole D-line is going to fall apart. We’re going to keep going, keep that same thing up.”

It starts with Render.

His 23 tackles last season led all returning defensive linemen. His lone start in 2013 came against Georgia Tech, when he had a career-high seven tackles and the first fumble recovery of his career (a fumble that happened to be forced by -- you guessed it -- Donald).

“I think he’s tackling a lot of things that he can control, and how that turns out, we don’t know, right?” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said about Render. “But I like the way that he’s going about his business. ... I think he acts like a guy who knows what’s important. He’s not trying to be someone different than who he is, but I like the way that he’s working.”

Also at tackle is LaQuentin Smith and redshirt freshmen Justin Moody and Trent Neavin. At nose guard, junior Khaynin Mosley-Smith is a returning letterman who redshirted last season but has played in 26 career games with one start.

Render said there’s one advantage to all of the new faces up front: the element of surprise.

“All eyes were on AD,” Render said. “We tried to take a little bit of attention off of him and free him up a little bit last year, but now that he’s gone, they’re not going to know who’s going to do what. We’re going to try to surprise them.”

It shouldn’t be too difficult. Without Donald, not even Pitt knows what to expect just yet.
Pittsburgh junior tight end Drew Carswell, junior defensive tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith and junior defensive back Eric Williams have been immediately suspended from the program, the athletic department announced today.

The three players were indefinitely removed from all team activities this morning.

“We have strict and clear standards regarding these types of behaviors,” coach Paul Chryst said in a prepared statement. “What has occurred with these three young men does not represent the standards of our program or university.”

That was the extent of information from Pittsburgh, but KDKA reported the three were on the scene of a drug bust.

Carswell, who played in 10 games last year and started four, was penciled in as the Panthers' starting H-back, but that job could go to Manasseh Garner. Carswell had 13 catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns last year. Williams, who started 11 games at SAM linebacker last year, and Mosley-Smith were both projected as top backups following spring practices. Williams had 52 tackles last season and 4.5 tackles for loss. Mosley-Smith started just one game last year, at nose tackle.