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 end.
Out of Gateway High School in Monroeville, Hale came to Pitt as a big-time recruit. He chose the Panthers over programs such as Michigan, Ohio State, and West Virginia, and was one rated in some scouting services by several scouting services (including Scout) as a Top 50 recruit overall in the nation. Unfortunately, his playing career never lived up to those expectations. Hale initially wore No. 46 but later wore No. 45.
Hale began his career as a linebacker but quickly moved to the defensive line. He redshirted in his first year but became the prep squad's Defensive Player of the Year. Hale played as a backup in bits and pieces over the next three years, but never earned steady playing time. But as a senior, he finally gained some attention. He 2012, he not only played in ten games, but started six of them. On the year, he had 36 tackles, including 9 1/2 for losses and three sacks. In his final game, he had a whopping 13 tackles with a sack in the Compass Bowl vs. Ole Miss.