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Steelers Extend Rookie Minicamp Invites



Rookie Minicamp Invites Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have extended rookie minicamp invites to 14 NFL hopefuls, including a few local prospects. This comes days after the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Steelers announced that they will host the rookie minicamp May 13-15 for the invites, drafted rookies, UDFAs and those entering their second season.

One invitation only had to be sent next door, as the Steelers offered one to former Pitt wide receiver Tre Tipton. A seven-year veteran of the Panthers’ program, Tipton overcame injuries and mental health challenges to become a leaders and advocate during his Pitt tenure. He received the 2021 Disney Spirit Award for courage he displayed during his college career. Tipton totaled 40 receptions for 406 yards and two touchdowns over seven seasons. He also tallied 11 rushes for 61 yards.

Locally, the Steelers also presented an invitation to former Duquesne defensive back Leandro DeBrito, which he has accepted. A Pawtucket, Rhode Island native, DeBrito was the Dukes’ co-leading tackler last season with 56 combined stops. He also snagged a pair of interceptions and broke up three passes.

Waterloo defensive back Tyrell Ford has been invited to two rookie minicamps including the Steelers. He was also invited to the New York Jets rookie minicamp. Ford is a 6-foot, 200-pound Canadian from Niagara Falls, Ontario. In addition to playing defensive back for the Waterloo Warriors, whose colors are also black and gold, he also returned kicks and punts. He occasionally also appeared as a wide receiver on the offense, although it was a rare occurrence.

The Steelers invited offensive lineman Michael Maietti from Missouri to rookie minicamp. Maietti is a 6-foot-1, 290-pound center from West Orange, New Jersey who transferred to Missouri from Rutgers prior to his 2020 season. He started 33 games and 56 consecutive games at center across the two schools. He thrived at Missouri, being named to the 2021 PFF All-America (second team), 2021 USA Today All-SEC Team and 2021 AP, PFF All-SEC (first team) in his last season.

To help bring in some competition to the running back room, the team invited UNLV’s 5-foot-9, 200-pounds Charles Williams from Fresno, California. Williams is the all-time leading rusher at UNLV with 4,196 career-yards though he played six seasons while there. He has two 1,000-yard rushing seasons under his belt in 2019 (1,257) and 2021 (1,256). He led the Mountain West in rushing yards in 2019 and also averaged 5.9 yards per carry that season. He had 34 touchdowns while at UNLV, with a career-high 15 coming last season.

Cincinnati Bearcats offensive lineman Vinny McConnell also received an invite from the Steelers. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound linemen is from Massillon, Ohio and appeared in games across four seasons after redshirting his freshman season. Last season he started five games at right guard and one at center.

Australian punter Bailey Flint from Toledo received an invite to minicamp. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound punter from Melbourne, Australia was a nominee for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation’s top punter, in both of his final seasons at Toledo. He was also a nominee for Wuerffel Trophy, presented annually to player who best combines athletics, academics and community service, in 2021.

Flint wasn’t the only Toledo Rocket to get an invite to the Steelers minicamp as offensive lineman Vitaliy Gurman from Rochester, New York was also invited. Gurman transferred to Toledo from Edinboro prior to the 2020 season and immediately slotted in as their starting left tackle. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound line man was a Preseason All-MAC selection by Phil Steele prior to the 2021 season.

Liam Fornadel from James Madison is another offensive lineman to receive a minicamp invite. He came to James Madison as a guard and started two games there as a freshman in 2017. He was later moved to the right tackle position, where he started for two years, before spending his last season as a left tackle. This type of versatility is something the Steelers covet in their lineman.

Linebacker Tyler Dresser from the Richmond Spiders also received an invite to minicamp. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound linebacker from Covington, Virginia was a three-sport athlete in high school playing football, basketball and baseball. He was a three-time First Team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection and named the Capital Cup Most Valuable Player as a senior. Across five seasons he played in 43 career games as a Spider, making 25 starts, and finishing his career with 249 tackles,  27.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and four interceptions.

Five of the 13 rookies to receive minicamp invites from the Steelers were offensive lineman, and one such rookie is PJ Barr from Maine. Barr is a 6-foot-3, 283-pound lineman from North Brunswick, New Jersey who transferred to Maine from Bucknell as a graduate student prior to the start of the 2021 season. He’s an interior lineman with experience at both the right and left guard positions. Despite only being with Maine for one season, he was voted as one of the team’s three captains for 2021. He was an All-Patriot League Second Team selection in 2019 and took home the John Campana Award as Bucknell’s outstanding offensive lineman.

Linebacker Jahad Woods from Washington State also received an invite. He is an inside linebacker known for his coverage ability, something the Steelers’ linebackers struggled with last season. He spent six years in college with an academic redshirt his freshman season. He’s 6-foot-1, 225 pounds and from San Diego, California. Prior to last season he was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention (Pac-12) and Preseason All-Pac-12 Third Team by Phil Steele and Athlon Sports.

Louisiana nose tackle Tayland ‘Big Sauce’ Humphrey has been invited to the Steelers minicamp. The massive 6-foot-5, 349-pound nose tackle had 31 tackles last season and received a few accolades for his performance. Prior to the season he was named to the 2021 Athlon Sports Sun Belt Preseason Third Team Defense while after the season he was named to the 2021 LSWA Second Team and 2021 Third Team All-Conference for the Sun Belt.

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