Erik Gill emerged as a vital asset in the pass and run games as a first-year starter last season...his progress during the 2004 season suggests the '05 campaign should be his best yet...should receive consideration for the John Mackey Award, annually presented to the nation's top tight end...teamed with junior Steve Buches, Gill helps give Pitt its best tight end combination in recent memory...the pair combined to catch eight of the team's 24 touchdown passes last year...Gill elevated into a starting role last year after serving as the primary reserve for two seasons behind All-Big East performer Kris Wilson...burst into the national consciousness with a heroic effort at Notre Dame, where he seemingly came up with big play after big play in the waning moments to help Pitt to a 41-38 victory...in addition to his athletic prowess, Gill figures to be a key player for this year's team from a leadership and experience standpoint...has played in every game during his active career (38) headed into the '05 season..."Erik had a lot of success last season and, from what I saw in the spring, this year should be more of the same," tight ends coach Greg Gattuso said. "He's a good blocker and a talented receiver. That combination makes for a successful tight end. We're going to count on him."
2004: After being a backup the year prior, Gill started all 12 games and earned Most Improved Offensive Player honors from the coaching staff...ranked third on the team in receiving yards (433) and fourth in receptions (25)...ranked second in TD catches (tied with four) and yards per catch (17.3 avg.)...caught a TD pass in four of the last five regular-season games ...had the longest reception by a tight end in Pitt history when he caught an 80-yard TD at South Florida...play ranks as the sixth longest pass play (tied) in school history overall...finished with two catches for a career-high 126 yards (63.0 avg.) versus the Bulls...one of the heroes of the Notre Dame win with six receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown...named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week for his effort...his nine-yard TD reception with 2:24 remaining put the Panthers ahead, 38-35...after the Irish tied it with a field goal with 1:11 left, Gill made three critical catches on Pitt's game-winning drive...the first was a 36-yard scamper in which he ripped a pass from an Irish defender and raced down the sideline to the ND 33...after a one-yard catch on the next play, Gill then followed up with a diving eight-yard grab on the 24-yard line to help set up Josh Cummings' game-winning FG three plays later ...coaching staff's Co-Offensive Player of the Game for the Notre Dame contest...his 36-yard catch-and-run versus the Irish was voted the "Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Week" by online voters at ESPN.com...was also the coaching staff's Offensive Player of the Game for the Syracuse contest...had two catches for 33 yards (16.5 avg.) with a 15-yard TD and also caught a two-point conversion pass versus the Orange...earned the coaching staff's Blocker of the Game award for the Furman contest... hauled in his first career TD reception, a 21-yarder, against Rutgers.
2003: Played in all 13 games for the second consecutive season...earned second letter serving as the primary backup to tight end Kris Wilson and playing special teams...finished the season with one catch for 15 yards (versus Ball State).
2002: In his first active collegiate season, Gill played in all 13 games...served as the chief reserve at tight end and saw significant special teams work...lone catch of the season was an eight-yard reception to the one-yard line against Texas A&M, setting up Pitt's first touchdown.
2001: Redshirted as a true freshman.
High School: Two-time member of The Associated Press Big School All-State Team at Belle Vernon Area High...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22"...Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25"...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette All-WPIAL Keystone Conference...Pittsburgh Tribune-Review All-Class AAA...two-time first-team All-Keystone Conference selection by league coaches...three-year starter at tight end and linebacker...led team to a 30-4 record, including three WPIAL playoff berths and three conference championships during his career...caught 17 passes for 335 yards (19.7 avg.) and five touchdowns as a senior...defensively, had 89 tackles, 14 sacks and two interceptions...as a junior had 25 receptions for 519 yards (20.8 avg.) and six touchdowns...finished as Belle Vernon's all-time leading receiver with 54 receptions for 1,095 yards (20.3 avg.)...PrepStar All-American... PrepStar Super 30 All-Eastern Region...nation's seventh-ranked tight end by Rivals100.com and Max Emfinger...nation's 15th-ranked tight end by Tom Lemming...24th-ranked prospect in Pennsylvania by SuperPrep...lettered three times under Coach Gary Dongilli...also a three-year letterman in basketball... two-time all-section honoree in basketball.
Personal: Erik J. Gill, born 3/24/82, is the son of Thomas and Karen Gill...has one brother...liberal studies major.
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