Defensive tackle Aaron Donald
University of Pittsburgh Football
First Team All-Americans
Aaron Donald, 2013
Aaron Donald was the most dominant and decorated defensive player of the 2013 college football season. Powerfully built at 6'0" and 285 pounds, Donald was an unblockable force from his defensive tackle position despite facing an array of schemes designed to slow him down. Called a "one-man wrecking crew" by multiple opposing head coaches, Donald led the nation with 28.5 tackles for loss and added 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and a blocked extra point. The Penn Hills product was selected a Unanimous All-American and the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award, making him one of the most decorated players in Pitt history.
Jabaal Sheard, 2010
There might not have been a more disruptive defensive end in college football in 2010 than Jabaal Sheard. Despite being the constant focus of double teams, Sheard compiled 52 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and four forced fumbles. Beyond his high production, he significantly altered game plans by merely being on the field. Sheard's lengthy list of accolades included first team All-American, 2010 Big East Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous first team All-Big East. He additionally was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year award.
Dorin Dickerson, 2009
One of the country's most athletic and dynamic playmakers at tight end, Dorin Dickerson was selected an All-American following his senior year. Dickerson set a Pitt single-season record for a tight end with 10 touchdown catches. He had 49 receptions for 529 yards overall. Dickerson became the first Pitt tight end to earn first-team All-America status since the legendary Mike Ditka was honored in 1960. Dickerson additionally was named a finalist for the 2009 John Mackey Award, annually presented to the country's top tight end, and selected first-team All-Big East Conference.
Scott McKillop, 2008
"All you need to know about Scott McKillop," wrote one Big East reporter, "is that if there's a play to be made, he'll make it." Indeed, there might not have been a better playmaker in all of college football than McKillop over his final two collegiate seasons. As a junior he led the entire country in tackles, averaging 12.6 per game. During his All-America senior year, McKillop ranked third nationally in solo tackles (6.31 avg.) and 10th in total stops (10.54). He was selected the 2008 Big East Defensive Player of the Year by both league coaches and media. McKillop was twice a unanimous first-team All-Big East selection, joining receiver Larry Fitzgerald as the only other Panther to twice earn unanimous conference honors. McKillop's four Big East Defensive Player of the Week awards as a senior tied the conference record.
H.B. Blades, 2006
Linebacker H.B. Blades earned All-America status after being one of college football's most productive defenders in 2006. Blades compiled an astonishing 147 total tackles, the most by a Pitt player in over two decades, and additionally collected 10.5 tackles for losses, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two blocked field goals. He ranked among the nation's top five defenders in both tackles (12.3 per game) and solo tackles (7.0 per game), while leading the Big East Conference in both of those categories. Blades additionally was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and was a three-time first-team All-Big East selection, both unprecedented achievements at Pitt. He finished with 433 career tackles to rank third all-time at Pitt and fifth in Big East annals.
Larry Fitzgerald, 2003
Larry Fitzgerald was the nation's most exciting -- and breathtaking -- college football player in 2003. He was a virtually unstoppable offensive weapon, producing touchdowns and big plays in prolific fashion. A unanimous All-American, Fitzgerald was a rare combination of power and grace, strength and smoothness. One of the most decorated players in Pitt history, Fitzgerald became the first-ever sophomore winner of the prestigious Walter Camp Award. He additionally earned the Biletnikoff Award as the country's top wideout and was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and ECAC (Eastern) Player of the Year. He was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, becoming the highest-finishing sophomore in the history of the award. Fitzgerald caught a touchdown in an amazing 18 consecutive games to set an NCAA record. He set or tied four additional national marks, eight Big East records and 11 Pitt marks. His 92 catches for 1,672 receiving yards and 22 TDs easily led the country. Fitzgerald was the third overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft going to the Arizona Cardinals. He became a Pro Bowler in just his second season.
Antonio Bryant, 2000
Antonio Bryant led the country with 130.2 receiving yards per game and earned consensus All-America honors as just a sophomore. Bryant became the first Pitt player to lead a national statistical category since Tony Dorsett was the country's leading rusher in 1976. In addition to his All-America honor, Bryant was selected the winner of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver, the Big East Conference tri-Offensive Player of the Year and the ECAC (Eastern) Player of the Year. He finished the regular season with 68 receptions for a Big East-record 1,302 yards and caught 11 touchdowns. Including the Insight.com Bowl, Bryant totaled seven triple-digit receiving games during the 2000 season, including a career-best 222 versus Boston College. Bryant was a second-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2001. He is Pitt's all-time leading receiver with 3,061 career yards.
Ruben Brown, 1994
Ruben Brown earned All-America honors at offensive tackle as a senior in 1994. A highly regarded defensive line prospect upon arriving at Pitt, Brown switched to offensive tackle during his redshirt freshman season and was a mainstay on the offensive line for four straight years. He played in both the Senior Bowl and Blue-Gray All-Star Classic in 1994. Brown was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, the 14th pick overall, in the first-round of the 1995 NFL Draft and went on to become a perennial All-Pro.
Brian Greenfield, 1990
Brian Greenfield was a consensus All-America selection in 1990. Greenfield came to Pitt in 1989 from Glendale Community College (Calif.), and was the Panthers' regular punter for the 1989 and 1990 seasons. In 1990, he finished as the second-ranked punter in the nation with a school-record 45.6-yard average. He set a Pitt record for longest punt -- a 79-yard boomer against Boston College in 1990 -- and his 43.5-yard career punting average also established a Pitt record.
Marc Spindler, 1989
After missing the last half of the 1988 season with a knee injury, Spindler came back strong his junior year and turned in an All-America performance. He was selected one of 12 semifinalists for the 1989 Lombardi Award. Spindler was one of the hardest workers on the team and a jarring hitter in the trenches. Spindler led the Panthers with 78 tackles in 1989 and added 4.5 sacks. In 1987 he started every game and set a Pitt record for most tackles as a freshman with 106. Spindler went on to be drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1990 and later played at Tampa Bay and with the New York Jets.
Mark Stepnoski, 1988
Mark Stepnoski was one of Pitt's most decorated football players during the 1980s, earning All-America honors at guard his senior season and being selected a finalist for the Outland Trophy. He additionally was a recipient of the NCAA's Top Six Award, given annually to six senior student-athletes based on academics, character, leadership and achievement; a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Award Winner; and a two-time Academic All-American. Stepnoski played in the East-West Shrine Game before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. He went on to become one of the NFL's outstanding centers, making five Pro Bowl appearances from 1993-97. He helped Dallas to back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1992 and 1993.
Jerry Olsavsky, 1988
Jerry Olsavsky recorded 100-tackle seasons for three consecutive years, capped by his 1988 senior All-America campaign. Despite his smaller size, Olsavsky was a punishing defender whose trademarks were intelligence, aggressiveness and strength. He finished his career as one of Pitt's top four all-time tacklers with 367 stops. Olsavsky played in the East-West Shrine Game where he returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. A 10th-round selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1989, he went on to play 10 years in the NFL, including nine with the Steelers and one with the Bengals.
Craig Heyward, 1987
Craig "Ironhead" Heyward was one of the nation's most productive, and charismatic, players in 1987. An unconventionally sized tailback at 6-feet, 260 pounds, the bruising Heyward rushed for 1,791 yards that year to earn consensus All-America honors and finish fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. His season rushing total remains the second-highest ever for a Pitt runner, trailing only Tony Dorsett's 2,150 yards in 1976. (Totals include bowl statistics.) Heyward joined Dorsett as the only Pitt backs to rush for 100 yards or more in 12 season games. Heyward's 3,086 career rushing yards rank third all-time at Pitt. In 1988 he was a first-round selection of the New Orleans Saints and later played for Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis and Indianapolis during a decade-long NFL career.
Ezekial Gadson, 1987
A running back upon arriving at Pitt, Ezekial Gadson ultimately moved to linebacker and was an All-American his senior year -- his only campaign as a full-time starter. Gadson set a single-season Pitt record with 24.5 sacks in 1987. His career total of 26.5 sacks ranks fourth in school history. Gadson had 137 tackles his senior year, including two 17-tackle performances. He played in the East-West Shrine Game following the '87 season and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills.
Tony Woods, 1986
An exceptional pass rusher, Tony Woods was a 1986 consensus All-American at defensive end. He led Pitt in sacks his final two seasons and his four-year total of 31 ranks third in school history. Also a stout run stopper, Woods was an honorable mention All-America his junior year. In 1987, he was a first-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks. He played with Seattle from 1987-92 and later had stints with the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins.
Randy Dixon, 1986
In 1986 Randy Dixon earned consensus All-America honors as an offensive tackle. Dixon broke into the lineup midway through his freshman year and went on to be a full-time starter his final three seasons. Dixon was an exceptional athlete who would often use finesse to beat his man. He was known as a determined, ambitious and strong worker. Following his All-America season in '86, Dixon went on to play in the Senior Bowl. In 1987, Dixon was drafted in the fourth round by the Indianapolis Colts and played there from 1987-1995.
Bill Fralic, 1982-84
Bill Fralic established himself as one of the college football's greatest offensive linemen during his Pitt playing career from 1981-84. A dominating force at offensive tackle, Fralic was a three-time first team All-American, including unanimous status his final two seasons. He became the first offensive lineman to twice finish in the top 10 of the Heisman Trophy balloting, placing sixth in 1984 and eighth in 1983. In an effort to find a tangible tool for Fralic's accomplishments, Pitt's publicists conceived the "Pancake," a statistical barometer for each time Fralic put an opposing defensive lineman on his back. Fralic's No. 79 jersey was retired following his senior year in 1984. In 1998 he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. The second player taken overall in the 1985 NFL Draft, Fralic went on to an exceptional pro career from 1985-93, playing eight years with the Atlanta Falcons and his final season with the Detroit Lions. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times.
Bill Maas, 1982
Bill Maas spearheaded Pitt's dominating defensive fronts of the early 1980s with his tenacious play at tackle. He established himself early when as a freshman he blocked a punt and recorded a sack in Pitt's 1980 Gator Bowl victory over South Carolina. He then became a starter for his remaining three years with the Panthers, earning All-America honors in 1982. Maas played in the East-West Shrine Game before being the fifth-overall selection in the 1984 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He lived up to his first-round status by earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors that fall. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 1986 and 1987 and finished his career among the Chiefs' all-time sack leaders. Maas went on to a highly visible sports broadcasting career with FOX.
Jimbo Covert, 1981-82
Jim Covert was an All-America offensive lineman for the Panthers in 1981 and 1982. After beginning his collegiate career on the defensive line, Covert switched to offense his sophomore year in 1980 and was an offensive line starter his final three seasons. During that time, Pittsburgh went 31-5 with three consecutive Top 10 finishes. The 1980 and 1981 teams both went 11-1 and finished No. 2 in the national polls. Covert allowed just three sacks his final three seasons, including zero as a senior. He was a consensus All-American in 1982 and played in the prestigious Hula Bowl and Senior Bowl games. In 1983 he was a first-round draft selection (sixth player taken overall) of the Chicago Bears and quickly earned status as one of the NFL's top offensive tackles. He was a consensus All-Rookie pick in 1983 and was the NFL's Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1986. Covert was a vital part of Chicago's famed 1985 team that captured Super Bowl XX. That squad was coached by another Panthers great and College Hall of Famer, Mike Ditka. The late Walter Payton, who teamed with Covert throughout the 1980s, called him "the best offensive tackle in the NFL." In 2003 he received enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Sal Sunseri, 1981
Sal Sunseri earned All-America honors as a senior linebacker in 1981. He was the heart and soul of Pitt's '81 defense with his intense and aggressive playing style. The '81 unit surrendered just 13 points per game as the Panthers went 11-1 and finished No. 2 in the final UPI poll. He played in the East-West Shrine Game and earned Defensive MVP honors in the Senior Bowl before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Injury cut his pro aspirations short and he returned to Pitt where he spent eight years as an assistant coach, including the 1992 season as assistant head coach. After continuing to coach in the collegiate ranks throughout the 1990s, he joined the NFL in 2002 as an assistant with the Carolina Panthers.
Dan Marino, 1981
Dan Marino is one of the greatest players in football history and is enshrined in both the professional and collegiate Halls of Fame. Marino finished his collegiate career (1979-82) holding every major passing record at Pitt, including career marks for passing yards (8,597) and completions (693). More than two decades after his final collegiate season, Marino still holds Pitt records for touchdown passes in a career (79) and season (37) as well as consecutive games with a TD pass (19). It was perhaps his magical All-America junior season in 1981, though, that truly earmarked him for greatness. Marino passed for 2,876 yards and a school-record 37 touchdowns that year, leading Pitt to its third consecutive 11-1 record. He also set a single-game record by throwing for six touchdowns against South Carolina. He enhanced his reputation for delivering in the clutch in the 1982 Sugar Bowl, when he fired a 33-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Brown with just 35 seconds remaining in the game for a pulsating, come-from-behind 24-20 victory over Georgia. That victory put the icing on the winningest three-year stretch in Panther history -- three consecutive 11-1 seasons for a combined record of 33-3. Marino's No.13 jersey was retired by Pitt following his 1982 senior season. A first-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1983, Marino went on to gain recognition as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history with a record-breaking 17-year career. He retired following the 1999 season as the league's all-time leader in passing attempts (8,358), completions (4,967), yardage (61,361) and touchdowns (420). Upon his final season, he held 17 NFL records and shared six others. Marino joined HBO Sports as a commentator on "Inside the NFL" in 2000 and joined "The NFL Today" on CBS for the 2002 season. He is also very active in community service and in 1992 started the Dan Marino Foundation, which helps support many South Florida charities. One of only three players ever to do so, Marino twice won the Dolphins Community Service Award (1996 & 1998) and was named the NFL Man of the Year in 1998.
Julius Dawkins, 1981
Julius Dawkins became an All-American as a junior when he led Pitt in receiving with 46 catches for 767 yards and 16 touchdowns. He finished his career with 1,457 receiving yards and 138 points. He holds the Pitt record with four touchdown catches in a game, which he did twice in 1981. Following his 1982 senior season, Dawkins played in the Senior Bowl and the Hula Bowl. He spent two seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills.
Mark May, 1980
The 1980 Outland Trophy winner and unanimous All-American, Mark May was a vital cog on some of the greatest teams in Pitt history. Nicknamed "May Day" for the distress he would cause defensive tackles, May did not give up a sack his final two collegiate seasons. Pitt went 39-8-1 during his career, including four bowl games and three Top 10 finishes from 1977-80. Following his senior season May played in the Hula Bowl and Japan Bowl all-star games. He was selected by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft and achieved fame as a standout member of the team's "Hogs" offensive line. May helped the Redskins to three Super Bowls (1982, 1983 and 1987), including world championships in `82 and `87. He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl following the 1988 season. May's career with the Redskins spanned from 1981-90. He played for the San Diego Chargers in 1991 and Phoenix Cardinals in 1992-93. Following his NFL retirement he embarked on a highly successful broadcasting career and today is a popular college football studio host and analyst for ESPN. Pitt retired May's No. 73 jersey in 2001. In 2005 he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Hugh Green, 1978-80
Hugh Green is considered by many to be the most devastating defender in the history of college football. He was a three-time All-American and in 1980 finished as the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, an unprecedented feat for a purely defensive player. While he placed behind South Carolina running back George Rogers in the Heisman balloting, Green did win the Lombardi Award (outstanding college lineman or linebacker), the Maxwell Award (top college player in the nation) and the Walter Camp Award (college player of the year) that season. He was the first defensive player ever to win the Walter Camp Award. Green was named to the Panthers' All-Time Team after only his sophomore year. In 1980, Green's No. 99 was retired and he was named Dapper Dan Man of the Year. He was a first-round draft choice of Tampa Bay, where he played five years before joining the Miami Dolphins for the final five years of his pro career. He was a Pro Bowl linebacker in 1983 and 1984. Green was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
Gordon Jones, 1978
Pitt's first great receiver of the modern era, Gordon Jones earned All-America honors as a senior in 1978. He finished his career as Pitt's all-time receiving yardage leader with 2,230 yards. He was nicknamed "Too Much" for his ability to escape swarms of defenders and the way he made impossible catches look routine. After playing in the Senior Bowl and the Hula Bowl, Jones became a second-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he played four years. He then played his last two years with the Los Angeles Raiders, including their Super Bowl XVIII season in 1983.
Tom Brzoza, 1977
Tom Brzoza made the move from guard to center and became an All-American in 1977. He became a starter in the fourth game of his freshman year and held that position for the rest of his Pitt career. He was a smart player with great speed, quickness and attitude. As one of Pitt's captains, Brzoza always accepted his leadership role. Following his senior season in '77 he played in the Hula Bowl and the Japan Bowl and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bob Jury, 1977
Bob Jury ranks as the ultimate "ball hawk" at Pitt, claiming Pitt records for all-time interceptions (21), interceptions in a season (10) and interception return yards (266). He was an All-American in 1977 and the unquestioned leader of the Pitt secondary. He sparked Pitt's 34-3 victory over Clemson in the '77 Gator Bowl with two picks. Following his senior season Jury played in the Hula Bowl and Japan Bowl before an NFL playing stint with the San Francisco 49ers.
Randy Holloway, 1977
Randy Holloway followed up his honorable mention All-America junior season by being selected as a first-team All-American his senior year. He was quiet, likeable, and one of the most active Pitt players when it came to charitable affairs. He was very agile and often used his 6-6 height to knock down passes. Holloway is second on Pitt's all time sack list with 33.5 sacks. He was a first-round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings where he spent seven seasons. He finished his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Matt Cavanaugh, 1977
Matt Cavanaugh will forever be remembered in Panther lore for quarterbacking Pitt to the 1976 national championship, a season capped by his MVP performance in a 27-3 rout of Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. His effective blend of passing and running made him an All-American in 1977 and his 3,378 career passing yards still rank among the school's best. He climaxed his '77 campaign by throwing for 387 yards and four TDs in a 34-3 Gator Bowl rout of Clemson. Cavanaugh went on to spend 14 years as a quarterback in the National Football League. A second-round selection of New England in 1978, he spent five seasons (1978-82) with the Patriots before moving on to stints with the San Francisco 49ers (1983-85), Philadelphia Eagles (1986-89) and New York Giants (1990-91). In addition to his collegiate championship, Cavanaugh earned three Super Bowl rings, including two as a player (with the San Francisco 49ers in 1984 and the New York Giants in 1990) and one as a coach (Baltimore Ravens in 2000). He was an assistant coach and coordinator in the NFL for more than a decade before returning to Pitt as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2005.
Al Romano, 1976
In 1976 not only was Al Romano an All-American but he was regarded by many as the best nose-guard in the country. He was strong, quick and blessed with tremendous instincts. Romano, who was a three-year starter, was picked as the most outstanding lineman in the Panthers' 33-19 win over Kansas in the 1975 Sun Bowl. Following the 1976 season he played in the Hula Bowl and the Japan Bowl.
Gary Burley, 1974
Gary Burley was an All-America middle guard known for his brute strength, quickness, speed and desire to hit. He transferred to Pitt from Wharton Junior College in Texas after being a two-time Junior College All-American. He played in the 1974 All-American Bowl and the 1975 East-West Shrine Game. He played eight years with the Cincinnati Bengals - including the Bengals' Super Bowl XVI squad in 1981 -- and one year with the Atlanta Falcons.
Tony Dorsett, 1973-76
Tony Dorsett is the only Heisman Trophy winner and four-time All-American in the history of Pitt football. He holds nearly every Pitt rushing record. Including bowl performances, he compiled 6,526 career rushing yards and had 2,150 yards as a senior in 1976. He gained 100 yards or more 36 times including 20 consecutive games. He is also Pitt's all-time leading scorer with 380 points. Dorsett won the Walter Camp and Maxwell Awards and became the first player in NCAA history to reach the 6,000-yard mark. In 1977, he was the first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys where he played 11 seasons, including two Super Bowls. Dorsett retired as the NFL's second all-time leading rusher with 12,739 yards. He still holds the record for the longest run from scrimmage (99 yards). He played in four Pro Bowls with Dallas before finishing his career with the Denver Broncos. His son, Anthony Jr., was a four-year letterman for the Panthers from 1992-95 and went on to a productive NFL career as a defensive back. Dorsett's No. 33 jersey was retired by Pitt in 1976. He is a member of both a pro and college Hall of Famer.
Ernie Borghetti, 1963
In 1963, Ernie Borghetti was an All-America tackle and helped Pitt to a 9-1 record and No. 3 national ranking. Following that season he was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game, the College All-Star Game and the Hula Bowl. Borghetti was drafted by the NFL's Cleveland Browns and the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs. He opted for the Chiefs but injured his knee during his first preseason. He subsequently retired from football to attend dental school and became a dentist in his native Youngstown, Ohio.
Paul Martha, 1963
After playing quarterback in 1961, Paul Martha moved to running back where he became an All-American in his second season at the new position. In 1962, he led Pitt in both receiving and scoring. Following the 1963 season Martha played in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl and the College All-Star game. He was the number-one draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1964. He played six years with Pittsburgh and one with the Denver Broncos. Martha retired after the 1970 season and began practicing law.
Mike Ditka, 1960
Mike Ditka became an All-American in 1960 after leading Pitt in receiving for the third consecutive year. He was also an excellent linebacker and punter. Ditka, who was called "The Hammer" while at Pittsburgh, was selected the winner of the Charles C. Hartwig Award as the senior who did the most to promote the cause of athletics at the University. He also spent two years apiece on the basketball and baseball teams. In 1961 he was a first-round draft choice of the Chicago Bears and was a member of their 1963 NFL Championship team. He was also a member of the Dallas Cowboys when they won Super Bowl VI. He was an All-Pro four times. Ditka was enshrined in both the Pro and College Halls of Fame. He spent 11 seasons as head coach of the Chicago Bears where he led them to victory in Super Bowl XX. He returned to the NFL coaching ranks from 1997-1999 as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints. Ditka's No. 89 jersey was retired in 1997.
John Guzik, 1958
John Guzik, an All-America guard in 1958, was known as "Bull" for the way he would hit people on the field. He was the only Panther in 1958 to play over 400 minutes, averaging 42 minutes per game. He played in the 1958 East-West Shrine Game and was also named to the Academic All-America Team. He played in the 1959 College All-Star Game and the Hula Bowl. Guzik played two years with the Los Angeles Rams and one with the Houston Oilers.
Joe Walton, 1956
In 1956, Joe Walton became an All-American after leading Pitt in receiving for the second consecutive year. He was known for his great hands and ability to run exceptionally fine pass patterns. He used his small size to his advantage to block lower and more effectively. In 1956, he was named to the Academic All-America team and played in the 1957 College All-Star Game. Walton spent four seasons with the Washington Redskins and two with the New York Giants in the NFL. He coached the New York Jets from 1983-1989 and was formerly the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Walton is now the highly successful head coach for nearby Robert Morris University.
Joe Schmidt, 1952
In 1952, team captain Joe Schmidt became an All-America linebacker. He played in the 1952 North-South Game and the 1953 Senior Bowl. He often played hurt with his many knee, rib and shoulder injuries. He went on to play with the Detroit Lions for 13 seasons which included two NFL championship teams. He was an All-Pro eight times and later coached the Detroit Lions for six seasons. Schmidt was the first Pitt player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1973). His No. 65 Pitt jersey was retired in 1997. Schmidt was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Eldred Kraemer, 1952
Eldred Kraemer became an All-American in 1952 as a sophomore despite never playing high school football. He established himself during his freshman season when he intercepted a lateral pass and ran 49 yards and also blocked a punt. "Eldred Kraemer is as worthy an All-American as you will find," Pitt coach Red Dawson said. "He is the fastest-reacting tackle I have ever coached and a great competitor who never seems to tire." Kraemer played in the 1954 East-West Shrine Game and the 1955 College All-Star Game. He spent one year in the NFL playing with the San Francisco 49ers.
Bernie Barkouskie, 1949
Bernie Barkouskie became an All-American in 1949 after being the starting left guard for four years. He helped himself reach that status by blocking a punt that led to a dramatic 22-21 comeback victory against Penn. Following the 1949 season Barkouskie played in the Blue-Gray All-Star Classic.
Ralph Fife, 1941
Ralph Fife was an All-America guard in 1941. He was a fast and smart player with a keen sense of the playing field. Fife also handled the placekicking duties for the Panthers. In 1942, he played in the East-West Shrine Game. He went on to the NFL to play two seasons with the Chicago Cardinals and one with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was a high school coach in the Pittsburgh area for many years.
Marshall Goldberg, 1937-38
During his storied career at Pitt, Marshall Goldberg gained 1,957 yards between 1936 and 1938, a school record that stood until Tony Dorsett broke it in 1974. Goldberg was a two-time All-American, third in the Heisman balloting in 1937, and runner-up for the Heisman in 1938. In 1958, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Playing under legendary coach Jock Sutherland, Goldberg led Pitt to a three-year record of 25-3-2 and national championships in 1936 and 1937. Goldberg played professional football for the Chicago Cardinals in 1939-42 and in 1946-48. He was named All-Pro six times, despite a career that was interrupted while he served in the Navy in World War II. His interception against the Philadelphia Eagles clinched the Cardinals' only NFL championship in 1947. The Cardinals retired his No. 99. Goldberg's No. 42 jersey at Pitt was retired in 1997.
Tony Matisi, 1937
Tony Matisi was a consensus All-American in 1937 for his fine play on the offensive line. He was a fast tackle with a tremendous capacity and affection for his work. Matisi was a big, aggressive player. He was also a shot putter on the track team. He spent one year playing tackle for the Detroit Lions.
Bill Daddio, 1937-38
Bill Daddio was an All-America end in both 1937 and 1938. He was known for his great speed and also handled the placekicking duties. He led Pitt in receiving yardage in 1936. In the 1937 Rose Bowl, Daddio returned an interception 71 yards for a touchdown. He played in the 1939 East-West Shrine Game and went on to the NFL where he spent two seasons with the Chicago Cardinals and one with the Buffalo Bills.
Frank Souchak, 1937
Frank Souchak was an All-America end in 1937. In 1935, he led the Panthers in both receiving and interceptions. He played in the 1938 East-West Shrine Game. He was a sure pass receiver who also blocked well. He was also the number one player on Pitt's golf team. Souchak spent one year in the NFL playing end for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Averell Daniell, 1936
In 1936, Averell Daniell became a walk-on All-American. Daniell, who was from nearby Mt. Lebanon High School, was known as a thinking man's tackle. When asked to comment on Daniell, Coach Jock Sutherland called him "one of the smartest tackles Pitt has produced; he has no bad habits and learned how to play his position the right way." He was later elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
William Glassford, 1936
William Glassford switched from fullback to guard and became an All-American in 1936. He was a very good blocker who charged hard off the line. He was a rugged player who was also known for his aggressiveness on defense. Glassford's teammates looked to him as a leader on the field.
Art Detzel, 1935
Art Detzel made the shift from guard to tackle and became an All-American. He was an aggressive, active player who was one of the strongest men on the squad. He was a fast and smart player on the offensive line. Detzel was also a member of the wrestling team, for which he served as captain in 1935.
Isadore Weinstock, 1934
Isadore Weinstock was a smart and aggressive fullback who became an All-American in 1934. He was known as a crack ball-handler, especially on trick plays such as double passes and fake reverses. Weinstock was a fine blocker and also played defensive back, kicked extra points and handled kickoff duties. After suffering a broken nose he became one of the first players to wear a face mask. He led the Panthers in scoring in 1934 with 63 points. After Pitt he went on to the NFL, where he played three seasons at quarterback for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
George Shotwell, 1934
George Shotwell became an All-American for his offensive line play in 1934. He was highly regarded for his all-around skills. Shotwell was an intelligent football player known as a keen diagnostician of plays. "I have never seen his superior in this respect, and only a coach knows how valuable this quality is," Coach Jock Sutherland said.
Charles Hartwig, 1934
In 1934, Charles Hartwig was an All-America guard as Pitt's team captain. The following season his picture was put on a Wheaties cereal box for being a football hero. He battled back from an injury that caused him to miss his entire sophomore year. A media guide referred to him as a brilliant defensive player and workmanlike on offense. He was a Panther standout in the 1933 Rose Bowl. In 1935, Hartwig played in the East-West Shrine Game.
Warren Heller, 1932
Warren Heller became a consensus All-American for Pitt in 1932 after leading the Panthers in both rushing and passing for the third consecutive season. He was able to kick, pass, run the ball, block and play defensive back. Heller finished his career with 1,949 rushing yards. He rushed for 200 yards in the Panthers' 19-12 win against Penn State in 1930. He went on to play three seasons in the NFL at halfback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Joe Skladany, 1932-33
Joe Skladany was a two-time consensus All-America end in 1932 and 1933. He was a good pass receiver and also known for his tough defensive play. In 1932, Skladany led the Panthers in receiving. He played in both the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game in 1934. He spent one season in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was later elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Jesse Quatse, 1931
Jesse Quatse was a consensus All-America tackle in 1931. He went on to play with three different NFL teams. He was a member of the Green Bay Packers in 1933. Quatse played the end of the 1933 season and all of 1934 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He finished his career with the New York Giants in 1935.
Thomas Parkinson, 1929
Thomas Parkinson was an All-America fullback for the Panthers in 1929. He was known as a triple threat for his ability to pass, catch and run with the ball. He was often used on short-yardage situations to plunge forward for the first down. His All-America selection was reinforced by a 182-yard rushing performance against Penn State. After leaving Pitt, Parkinson spent one year in the NFL with the Staten Island Stapletons.
Ray Montgomery, 1929
In 1929, Ray Montgomery was selected as a consensus All-American. He was also a defensive standout and labeled "the perfect guard" by Coach Jock Sutherland. In his time Montgomery was hailed as one of the greatest linemen Pitt had ever produced.
Joe Donchess, 1929
Joe Donchess earned All-America honors in 1929 after leading Pitt in receiving for the second consecutive year. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. While attending the University's Medical School, he was a coach with the Pitt football team from 1930-32. He then coached the ends at Dartmouth from 1933-37 while attending its school of medicine. Donchess, who became an orthopedic surgeon, was a generous contributor to Pitt for more than 30 years and from 1960-62 was chairman of the Pitt Annual Giving Fund.
Toby Uansa, 1929
Toby Uansa earned All-America honors in 1929 after leading Pitt in rushing, interceptions and scoring. The previous season he led the Panthers in passing and interceptions. Uansa grew up in nearby McKees Rocks, where he earned 16 letters in high school. He was a fast halfback who was very hard to stop, especially on special teams where he twice won games for Pitt on kickoff returns.
Mike Getto, 1928
In 1928, Mike Getto was a unanimous choice as an All-America tackle. He was picked as the Outstanding Panther of the Year and played in the East-West Shrine Game.
Gilbert "Gibby" Welch, 1927
Gilbert "Gibby" Welch, who was known as a two-way offensive weapon with his running and passing ability, was selected as an All-American in 1927. In 1925, he led Pitt in rushing and passing. A year later, he led the Panthers in rushing, passing, receiving and scoring. In 1927, Welch was the leading rusher in the nation. For his career he compiled 1,880 rushing yards. He is in a three-way tie for Pitt's longest kickoff return with his 105-yard runback against West Virginia in 1927. He spent two years in the NFL with the New York Yankees and the Providence Steamroller.
Bill Kern, 1927
Bill Kern was selected as an All-America tackle in 1927. His relentless enthusiasm made him a team leader both on and off the field. Following his All-America season, he spent two years in the NFL playing tackle for the Green Bay Packers.
Ralph "Horse" Chase, 1925
Ralph "Horse" Chase became a consensus All-American for his play at tackle in 1925. He was a three-year letterman for the Panthers who was very strong and agile. Following his time at Pitt, he played tackle for the NFL's Akron Indians.
Herb Stein, 1920-21
Herb Stein was a consensus All-American for Pitt in both his junior and senior seasons. Stein, who served as the team captain in 1920, was regarded as one of the Panthers' greatest offensive and defensive centers. His efforts at Pitt earned him induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. After leaving Pitt he went on to the NFL, where he played six seasons with Buffalo, Toledo, Frankford and Pottsville. While playing with Toledo in 1922, he was selected as an All-Pro. His brother, Russ, was an All-America tackle at Washington & Jefferson.
Leonard Hilty, 1918
Leonard Hilty became an All-America tackle in 1918 after spending a year in the Navy. He played for Pitt in 1916 and spent the following year in the Navy. Naval authorities ordered Hilty, who went to nearby Peabody High School, back to Pitt to complete his education. He didn't tell the team he was returning and simply showed up for practice at the beginning of the 1918 season. He was bigger, stronger and in perfect physical condition leading to his All-America season.
Tom Davies, 1918-20
Tom Davies was a two-time All-American, including his freshman season of 1918 and also in 1920. He weighed less than 155 pounds, but had great speed and physical abilities. In 1918, he led Pitt in rushing, passing and receiving and was the Panthers' all-purpose yardage leader all four years that he played. In Pitt's 27-21 victory over Penn in 1920, Davies threw a touchdown pass, rushed for a touchdown, returned a kickoff for a touchdown and intercepted a pass to set up another touchdown. He ranks among Pitt's all-time leaders in scoring (181 points) and all-purpose yards (3,931).
George McLaren, 1917-18
George McLaren, who was an All-America fullback in 1917 and 1918, is regarded by many as Pitt's all-time finest at the position. The Panthers were 29-1 during his career. He still holds the Pitt record for the longest run from scrimmage, a 91-yard touchdown against Syracuse in 1917. He scored 13 touchdowns in 1917 and was the team captain in 1918. McLaren's most amazing achievement: he was never stopped without a gain on a running play. He still ranks among Pitt's all-time leaders in scoring (183 points) and rushing (1,920 yards). He was also a two-year member of the basketball and track teams.
Jock Sutherland, 1917
Dr. John Bain (Jock) Sutherland was an All-America guard in 1917 and later became a legendary coach at Pitt. He entered the University of Pittsburgh a few years after leaving his native Scotland and was a regular on the teams of 1914-1917 that lost one game during the entire period. In 1924, he became head coach of the Panthers and in the next 15 years he won five national titles and took his teams to four Rose Bowls. He left Pitt in 1939 to coach the NFL's Brooklyn Dodgers in 1940 and 1941. He later took over as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers until his sudden passing in the spring of 1948.
Dale Sies, 1917
Dale Sies was an All-America guard in 1917. He was one of the finest athletes on the Pitt squad and was also known as a fierce defender. After spending some time in the armed forces he returned to football and became an NFL quarterback. He spent five years in the NFL playing for the Cleveland Tigers, Dayton Triangles, Rock Island Independents and the Kenosha Maroons.
H.C. Carlson, 1917
H.C. Carlson gained All-America honors in 1917 after being the captain of an undefeated team. He rates as one of the finest players Pitt has ever had. While at Pitt he earned four letters each in football, basketball and baseball, starring in each sport. In 1920, he earned his M.D. degree at the University's Medical School resulting in his nickname of "Doc." He won great fame as the Panthers' basketball coach for 31 years. He won two national championships while compiling a 369-247 record -- achievements which earned Carlson a spot in The Basketball Hall of Fame.
Claude "Tiny" Thornhill, 1916
Claude "Tiny" Thornhill was an All-America guard in 1916. He was a smart and aggressive guard who was quick off the line. Thornhill was a four-year letterman from 1913-1916. He spent one season in the NFL playing for the Cleveland Tigers and the Buffalo All-Americans.
Andy Hastings, 1916
Andy Hastings became an All-American in 1916 after leading Pitt in scoring for the third consecutive year. He led the Panthers in rushing in 1914 and 1915, and led the team in passing and interceptions in 1916. He finished with 1,527 career rushing yards.
James Herron, 1916
James Herron became a consensus All-America end in 1916 after earning his fourth letter playing football for Pitt. He was a hard-nosed player who was known for his aggressive play on both offense and defense. He spent one year in the NFL playing for the Cleveland Tigers.
Robert Peck, 1914-16
Robert Peck was Pitt's initial first team All-American, being selected in 1914, 1915 and 1916. The Panthers only lost one game in those three years. He was captain of the 1916 team that is rated among college football's greatest of all time. He was a roving center of the old variety and also an accurate passing center. After his graduation he moved to Culver Military Academy, where he was athletic director and head coach until his premature passing in 1934.
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