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 linebacker Steve Apke.
Apke was on the smaller end for a linebacker, initially checking in at only 185 pounds as a freshman. Nevertheless, he developed into a solid player for the 1980s Panthers.
With an injury, he got thrust into prime time pretty quickly, starting for Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl after his 1983 freshman season and led the team with 14 tackles in that game against Ohio State. He continued to make an impact as a sophomore with 57 tackles in eight games and he played in 11 contests in both his junior and senior years in 1985 and 1986. In the 1985 opener against Purdue, he racked up an incredible 19 tackles.
Apke went undrafted in 1987 after his senior year but still played briefly in the NFL, suiting up as a replacement player that season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.