Johnson and Johnson named Ed Conway Award winners

The Pitt football program announced its two recipients of the Ed Conway Award on Saturday ahead of the Blue-Gold Game. The Ed Conway Award is given annually to the two most improved players throughout spring practice on each side of the ball.

Karter Johnson is a 6’2″ and 265-pound redshirt senior tight end out of Pickerington, OH. Johnson is in his second year with the program after transferring to Pitt after a stop at Butler Community College in Kansas. He caught six passes for 89 yards in the 2022 season after appearing in 12 games. Johnson as used mostly in a blocking role, but given his growth this spring, he is looking to add a pass catching element to his game in 2023.

“Karter has really dedicated himself to becoming an all-around tight end at Pitt,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a press release. “He made some really great strides this spring and I expect that to continue into his final season. His progress has been so impressive, especially considering he started his college career on the defensive line.”

Johnson has a unique backstory. He was once a big-time defensive line recruit out of high school and started his career initially at TCU. After dropping some weight, he dedicated himself to playing offense and earned a scholarship offer out of the junior college ranks.

On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore defensive end Nahki Johnson collected Conway Award honors for his performance this spring. Johnson is a native of nearby West Mifflin and was one of the program’s most prized recruits in the class of 2021.

Johnson has yet to make an impact on the field, however, but he was behind some talented defensive linemen. With the graduation of Deslin Alexandre and Habakkuk Baldonado and the transfer of John Morgan, Pitt has more playing time available at end and Johnson is making a case to receive some of those reps next season.

“Nahki really started to flash during our Sun Bowl practices last December,” Narduzzi said. “He continued that momentum this spring and is ready to be a factor on our defensive front. Playing behind veterans Deslin Alexandre and Habakkuk Baldonado the past two years gave him great examples to learn from and he is ready to put that to use this year.”

Johnson was a four-star recruit in the class of 2021. He appeared in two games as a true freshman, which meant he was able to keep his redshirt in tact. Johnson got more run as a redshirt freshman and recorded four tackles in eight games in the 2022 season.

Pitt concludes its 2023 Spring football session this afternoon, as the Blue-Gold game is set to kickoff in little over an hour.

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