If you spend any time on Twitter, you no doubt have seen people posting certain Pitt players wearing uniform numbers that correspond with the number of days left until the football season kicks off. Jim did it last year and this year, Pat Narduzzi has been doing it.
I know we have a lot of younger readers here and also some folks that may not have spent their entire lives following Pitt sports. For that reason, I thought it would be cool to not only do the countdown here, but also give a brief writeup on the player to potentially help fans connect a little more with some of the all-time greats.
Quick disclaimer - this isn't necessarily about picking the best player for each number. Not only is that disputable in many instances, but it's not really the point of the exercise. So don't be offended if your favorite player doesn't make the list here. I'll probably mirror Narduzzi's list for the most part but may go off the board in a few instances.
These will also be brief, folks. It's the offseason and we all use this time to wind down a bit. These won't be theses or anything, but we'll cobble together a few facts for each guy.
Finally, feel free to add on to a player's accomplishments in the comments section. Some I'll leave out due to space/time and some I may not even know about. But this will be a good learning exercise for all of us.
With that said, we're jumping in today with Aaron Donald at #97 (97 days until kickoff).
A ton doesn't need to be said about Donald since he's one of the more recent Pitt players. Donald really gained more recognition in his final two years with the Panthers, although he was a three-year starter.
One interesting stat is that he was an All-First Team performer in two conferences as he was named to the Big East's First Team in 2012 and the ACC's First Team in 2013. Donald, of course, was also the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American as a senior. He also won a slew of other awards before exiting college, including the Outland Trophy, the Bednarik Award, the Nagurski Award, and the Lombardi Award.
After four seasons at Pitt, he was taken with the 13th overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2014. He was the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 and recently, he was named as Pro Football Focus' top player in the entire NFL in 2015 in only his second season in the league.
In other words, the Rams appear to have made a good selection.