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.
38. Gerald Hayes (1999-2002)- The New Jersey linebacker doesn't get talked about like a lot of former Pitt greats, but he definitely deserves mention as one of the best linebackers to ever put on a Panthers uniform.
Even though he only started three games as a true freshman, he still managed 61 tackles in his premiere season. As a sophomore, he made second team All-Big East and added 104 more tackles, as well as 10 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. As a junior, he continued his ascension with another 104 (115) tackles, plus 15 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. As a senior, he had his best season with 133 tackles (107), including a game high 11 in an Insight.com victory against Oregon State. He also had 19 tackles for loss on the season and 2 sacks, while also adding 2 interception and 4 pass breakups.
Hayes was named first team All-Big East in his junior and senior seasons and currently stands 5th in Pitt history with 402 total tackles. He was taken in the 3rd round by Arizona and played 8 seasons in the NFL. He is currently not signed to an NFl team.