Savage, who is in his final season of eligibility after transferring twice, beat Chad Voytik for the starting job and will start against Florida State on Labor Day in what will be the Panthers' first game as members of the ACC.
"Tom is going to be our starting quarterback," Chryst told reporters. "We like what he's done to this point. It's a reflection of where Tom's at. I still think Chad is making really good progress, but I feel really good and confident with Tom and certainly like the direction Chad is going."
Savage started his career at Rutgers in 2009 but transferred to Arizona in 2011. He then transferred to Pitt after one year and has sat out each of the past two seasons because of NCAA transfer rules.
Still, he was the most experienced quarterback left on Pitt's roster. As a true freshman at Rutgers, Savage completed 149 of 285 passes (52 percent) for 2,211 yards with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
"Obviously I was excited, but I'd be a fool to take it any more than that, especially with what's happened to me in the past," Savage said in his postpractice interview. "I can't become complacent with it. It's a privilege, but I have to keep working and I have a lot of room to improve."
A school spokesman also confirmed that linebacker Todd Thomas has rejoined the team and practiced on Wednesday. Last week, Thomas told Chryst he no longer wanted to be a part of the team after he was bumped to the second string on the depth chart.