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 Ryan Smith.
Smith played at Pitt during the Walt Harris era as a defensive lineman. He was initially a linebacker but moved to the line in 1999. There were high hopes for Smith who led the team in tackles in the Blue-Gold game in the spring with nine, including a monster 4 1/2 sacks.
Smith would bide his time as a backup and then develop into one of the team's leading defensive lineman, becoming a starter at defensive end. But unfortunately, after making 16 career starts, he had to end his football career early before his senior season in 2002 with back issues.