Bernard "Josh" Lay ranks as one of the Pitt defense's most gifted and tested athletes...owns an ideal cornerback package of size, foot speed and quickness combined with the experience of a grizzled veteran...has played in 35 of Pitt's last 38 games and hasn't missed a contest since his freshman year...is coming off an All-Big East junior season...closed the 2004 campaign much like the Panthers -- playing winning football at a highly productive rate...defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads is well aware of Lay's playmaking abilities..."He's got the size, arm length and the instinct to go get a ball and take it 60 yards," Rhoads said. "He can really anticipate a throw and go get it. Whether it's the curl or the hitch, he has an ability to sense it, sit on it and then go get it."...will hold down the starting job at right corner, playing across the field from fellow Aliquippa product Darrelle Revis...Lay heads into his senior season with significant expectations and he appears intent on delivering on them..."Josh's demeanor and work ethic have been at a high level," Rhoads said...joined the Panthers as a mid-year enrollee out of Valley Forge Military Academy (Pa.) in January 2002...prior to his prep season at Valley Forge, Lay enjoyed a heralded career at nearby Aliquippa High...in addition to Lay, senior defensive lineman Phil Tillman and freshman defensive lineman Craig Bokor are Valley Forge products.
2004: After being slowed during the preseason with a hamstring injury, Lay ultimately emerged as an all-star performer...earned second team All-Big East and Pitt's Most Improved Defensive Player honor...led Pitt with 15 passes defended (12 PBUs and three INTs)...was second (tied) with three INTs...finished second in the Big East with 1.25 passes defended per game...had 22 tackles...played in all 12 games, starting the last six...had two interceptions at Notre Dame... earned Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors for his Rutgers performance...provided a knockout punch in the Rutgers victory with an 82-yard interception return for a touchdown and added three passes defended and four tackles...Lay's INT turned back a Scarlet Knights drive that reached the Pitt 37 and gave the Panthers an insurmountable 28-3 lead...it was the second career TD for Lay as he also returned a fumble 20 yards for a score against Syracuse in 2003...had four tackles and three pass breakups against Boston College.
2003: Played in all 13 games to earn his second letter...started the first four games of the season but came off the bench for the final nine...had 37 tackles on the season and a team-high 14 pass breakups... against Syracuse, scooped up an Orangemen fumble and raced 20 yards for his first career touchdown...Lay's score marked the Panthers' lone defensive TD of the year...totaled a career-best nine tackles against Toledo ...had five tackles, two passes defended and his first career interception in the Kent State contest...was named a recipient of the Ed Conway Award, annually presented to the most improved players at the conclusion of spring drills.
2002: Lettered as a true freshman...played in 10 games, primarily in nickel and dime defensive packages...also saw significant special teams duty...had five tackles on the year...made his first career start against Temple as the Panthers opened the game with five defensive backs...finished with two tackles against the Owls...totaled two tackles at Syracuse.
Prep School: Played quarterback, receiver and cornerback at Valley Forge Military Academy for Coach Mike Muscella during prep season in 2001...had four interceptions in one game against Wyoming Seminary.
High School: Selected to The Associated Press 2000 Small School All-State Team (first team) at Aliquippa High...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2000 Player of the Year...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Male Athlete of the Year (1999-2000)...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2000 WPIAL Class AA Player of the Year...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22"...Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Class AA Player of the Year as a senior and junior...Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25"...three-year starter at cornerback for the Quips...started sophomore year at wide receiver and junior and senior seasons at quarterback...threw for 1,368 yards and 18 touchdowns, completing 71-of-139 passes (.511) as a senior...also rushed for 556 yards on 63 carries (8.8 avg.) and caught two passes for 51 yards (25.5 avg.) as a senior...over his junior and senior years, Lay completed 147-of-300 passes (.490) for 2,831 yards and 37 touchdowns...was Aliquippa's leading receiver as a sophomore with 29 receptions for 637 yards (21.9 avg.)...had 18 career interceptions, including four as a senior, five as a junior and nine as a sophomore...had two interceptions in the 2000 WPIAL championship game despite playing with a broken hand...led Aliquippa to a 14-1 record, the 2000 WPIAL Class AA championship and the state finals...led the Quips to a combined 34-5 record (.872) during his career...PrepStar All-Eastern Region...nation's 27th-rated defensive back by Rivals100.com...earned three football letters for Coach Mike Zmijanac at Aliquippa...also was a standout in basketball, earning three letters...helped the Quips to two WPIAL Class AA basketball championships and the 2001 state title game...basketball honors included being named to the Post-Gazette's "Fabulous Five" and the Tribune-Review's "Terrific 10."
Personal: Bernard Lay, born 9/8/82, is the son of Eleanor Kimbrough and Bernard Lay...has three brothers and two sisters...nickname is Josh...administration of justice major.
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