Coach says Franklin Regional’s Caden Smith ‘will open some eyes’ as Pitt walk-on

Sunday, May 8, 2022 | 4:41 PM

Caden Smith didn’t choose football. Football chose him.

“Football is the most fun,” the Franklin Regional senior said, comparing the game to his other sports (basketball, baseball).

Smith has excelled in all three, earning first-team all-conference/section in each one.

He had college interest in those sports, too. But football will be his path to the next level.

Smith accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Pitt, the reigning ACC champion. He has the opportunity to earn a scholarship later if he makes the team.

“If you attend a Pitt practice, the atmosphere feels different than elsewhere,” said Smith, a rangy, 6-foot-4, 185-pound wide receiver/safety. “All around, Pitt has what it takes to be successful. In the football aspect, they have all of the best coaches and athletes around you. There are so many benefits to having the best coaches and players surrounding you every day at practice.”

Smith, one of the most versatile players to wear a Franklin Regional uniform, played receiver, quarterback, linebacker and safety last season.

He caught 31 passes for 360 yards, completed 6 of 9 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns, intercepted five passes and scored seven touchdowns.

“I am very proud of Caden, and I know that he will be a great addition to the Pitt program,” Franklin Regional coach Lance Getsy said. “He has a lot to prove and a lot of hard work ahead of him, but I am confident that he will open some eyes when he gets an opportunity.”

Smith will follow in the footsteps of a former Franklin Regional athlete as well as another from the Westmoreland County Class of 2022.

Aidan Fisch left Franklin Regional a few years ago and walked on to the Pitt basketball team. After some time as a team manager, he made the active roster.

Belle Vernon star athlete Devin Whitlock, meanwhile, also chose the preferred walk-on route and will be Smith’s teammate at Pitt.

Smith said Pitt won out for him over five other preferred walk-on offers and several Division II opportunities.

“In academics, they are a top-notch university,” he said of Pitt. “I believe they have all the right tools to get me where I need to be.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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