PITTSBURGH—Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi and his staff have selected the 2017 winners of the Ed Conway Award, annually presented to the most improved offensive and defensive players of spring drills.
The offensive recipient is senior offensive tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith and the defensive recipient is linebacker Elijah Zeise.
Jones-Smith (Camden, N.J./West Catholic [Pa.]) is poised to be the Panthers’ starter at right tackle this fall. He lettered last season after missing all of 2015 with a knee injury. For his career, Jones-Smith has played in 21 games with four starting assignments.
“In many ways, this award for Jaryd is recognizing his improvement over the past two years,” Narduzzi said. “After suffering a major knee injury in 2015, it was evident this spring that he is now back to 100 percent. He really excelled and we’re looking forward to a big season from him.”
Zeise (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) is eyeing a starting role at outside linebacker. He transitioned to defense from receiver last year and was an opening-game starter against Villanova before a foot injury sidelined him for the balance of the regular season.
“Since last year’s preseason, Elijah has put on nearly 15 pounds and that extra weight is all muscle. He weighs about 238 now,” Narduzzi said. “Elijah is a physical linebacker who can play both the Star and Money positions. He had a really great spring and we have big expectations for him.”
Jones-Smith and Zeise were announced as the Conway Award winners at Pitt’s player family breakfast this morning at Heinz Field. The award has been annually presented since 1975 in honor of the late Ed Conway, who served as the radio play-by-play voice of Pitt football from 1970-73. A popular sports anchor with WTAE-TV, Conway passed away in 1974.
Pitt concludes spring drills today with the 2017 Blue-Gold Game presented by PNC at Heinz Field. Start time is 1 p.m. For more information and a listing of the day’s various fan attractions, click here: Blue-Gold Game Fan Information
Season tickets for the 2017 Pitt football season are now on sale. Call the Pitt Ticket Office at (800) 643-PITT (7488) or log on to PittsburghPanthers.com.
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