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.
Continuing our countdown today is defensive lineman/linebacker Rickey Jackson. Jackson was often overlooked because of the superstar Hugh Green on that side of the ball, but was a terror nonetheless. Jackson broke out in 1979 with 111 tackles as a junior and in 1980 as a senior, led the team with 137 stops and also had 12 sacks while recovering four fumbles. Against Army that year, he had a game for the ages with 12 tackles, three sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and a blocked punt. He was named as a Second Team All-American in 1980 after being named an Honorable All-American in 1979.
While Jackson was an incredible collegiate player, he didn't stop there. He was a second-round NFL Draft pick in 1981 and lasted 15 years in the league. In addition to recording 128 sacks (3rd all-time when he retired), he finished second in fumbles recovered (28) and fourth in forced fumbles (41). He won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.