I will be counting down my own list of the top 50 Pitt football players since 1972. I have spent time doing a lot of research and talking to a lot of people when formulating this list, but ultimately it is MY opinion. The great thing about lists like this is that people will disagree, and feel free to, but just remember that there is no right answer so there's no need to go crazy if you do disagree. I will post this same intro with all 50 bios because I know the one time I don't, people will complain about not knowing what criteria I used. I will add at least one a day, maybe two.
My criteria for selecting the order is as follows:
3. Place in program history.
4. Only the player's careers while at Pitt are considered, not their NFL careers.
5. No current players.
42. Curtis Martin (1991-94)- Many may be surprised to see a guy who is about to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame be this far down the list, but like a few other players on the list, he was actually better in the NFL than in college. Most of that had to do with injuries and the fact that he left a season early.
But I'm not suggesting that Martin wasn't a good college player because he definitely was. As a freshman, the City League star played in 8 games and ran for 556 yards and a 4.9 avg. As a sophomore, he was the second leading rusher, behind Tim Colicchio, and Alex Van Pelt threw for over 3,000 yards, but Martin still managed to run for 730 yards, 5 touchdowns, and a 4.6 avg., along with 33 catches.
As a junior, Martin had his best year with 1,075 yards, 7 touchdowns, and a 5.1 avg., along with another 33 receptions. It looked like Martin was about to finally arrive in his senior season, and go down as one of the true legends of Pitt football. That feeling was even stronger when in the first game he ran for 251 yards against Texas. The next week Martin got hurt again, this time a sprained ankle that somehow cost Martin the rest of the season. It may be the only time in history that a player missed 10 weeks with a sprained ankle.
Martin could have been redshirted and return to have that long awaited huge season, but instead he decided to go to the NFL. Proving he made the right call, the No. 2 pick of the New England Patriots ran for 1,487 yards as a rookie.
Martin never looked back, running for over 1,000 yards an incredible ten times. But the most interesting part of Martin's NFL career is that he missed 8 games, less than he missed in one season with Pitt.