When sophomore cornerback Trenton Coles left the Pitt team Wednesday, it wasn't the first time the thought crossed his mind.

Clairton coach Wayne Wade, who was an assistant there when Coles was in high school, said his former player was thinking about leaving this year after spring drills when Titus Howard was ahead of him on the depth chart.

“He thought he should have been starting,” Wade said.

But after Howard was suspended, Coles decided to stay and, in fact, ascended to the No. 1 unit early in training camp.

In recent weeks, however, Coles hurt his ankle and was practicing with the second team while sophomore Reggie Mitchell and freshman Avonte Maddox played well on the first team.

Now Coles' departure may lead Mitchell, a transfer from Wisconsin, to a starting job at cornerback when the season opens Aug. 30.

Before his injury, Coles was showing as much spirit as anyone on the team and was involved in a brief altercation with wide receiver Dontez Ford on Aug. 9. At the time, coach Paul Chryst and secondary coach Troy Douglas defended Cole's “passion” for the game.