Monday, July 16, 2012

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.38 Gerald Hayes

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:

1.  Productivity.
2.  Talent.
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 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.


  1. Chris, is it just me....we never hear much about Gerald coming back to Pitt and/or hear much about him being involved with the program and any surrounding activities. Did something happen between him and Pitt? Just thought I would ask.

    Great job on the list!

  2. I look back at Walt Harris' era with fond memories. Does he get enough credit for turning things around at Pitt? He had some good staffs that recruited some good players.

    1. I think Walt Harris deserves enormous credit and as the years go by we can see what an excellent job he really did. I think he really was maxed out and had to go, but Pitt fans should always look back on his years fondly. The program was really awful when he arrived and he turned it back into respectability.

    2. Agree 100 percent, Doke. He was the Big East Coach of The Year when he was fired in 2004 — probably the only coach to be canned after winning such an honor with no scandal to warrant it.

      Yes, his team backed into the Fiesta Bowl — and then lost to an Urban Meyer-coached Utah team. (Hey, I think that Meyer guy turned out to be a pretty special coach). And you could argue Harris' jerk agent got him fired. But at least he Harris finished his tenure with a winning record and got to a BCS bowl. That Fiesta Bowl under Harris represents the pinacle for the program since Foge Fazio coached Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl in 1983. That's three decades of mediocrity ... broken up by one year in a "major bowl" under Walt Harris in 2004.

      That's not nothing. In fact, it's something to be proud of.

  3. Any idea how Derrick Green's visit went this weekend?

    1. The Pitt coaches cancelled it because they were on vacation. He's supposed to come back at a later date. We'll see if he does.

    2. Unbelievable...
      the top RB recruit wants to visit and the coaches say they are on vacation... they should have rearranged their vacation schedule... totally clueless what it takes to land top recruits.

    3. Funny guy - on July 5th you suggested that Chryst should tell him to stay home.

      So, what's your real position?

    4. What's the matter Joe D? Cat got your tongue?

      Joe Lawrence exposed you for the hypocrite you are as many have numerous times before, yet the one numbnut who won't shut up stays silent. What a surprise!

    5. Yep... I said that...
      because I thought Pitt had a less than 5% chance..
      now it is 0% chance...
      Green should stay home...

      The reason for my comment has nothing to do with Green... but the recruiting acumen of Chryst and crew... you just don't tell a top recruit not to visit due to vacation... you reschedule vacation (don't tell the recruit to reschedule)... that was the point....

  4. btw..
    I think they should remove the Paterno statue...
    move it to the cemetary and it can be his headstone so to say.