Sunday, July 22, 2012

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.26 Jerry Olsavsky

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.

26.  Jerry Olsavsky (1985-88)-  Despite being undersized his entire career, the Youngstown native got every bit of his ability to come out on the field.  Olsavsky was considered a Division 1-AA prospect and Pitt, offering very late in the recruiting season, was his only major offer.

But after lettering as a true freshman, he surprised everybody by leading the Panthers with 127 tackles as a sophomore .  As a junior he missed almost four games due to injury, yet still managed 101 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

As a senior he was healthy again and the 217 pound middle linebacker finished the season with 129 tackles and was named a first team Kodak All-American.

His 367 total tackles are 7th all-time and his three straight 100 tackle seasons were the first time a Pitt player accomplished that in over a decade.  He was drafted in the 10th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and played in the NFL 10 years, an amazing feat considering his lack of size and speed.


  1. Chris, this is really great stuff. Thanks for the time and effort it took to do this.

    Jerry O is a testament to being a football player. He made up for his lack of size and speed with guts, heart, hard work and football IQ.

    Football players can't always be measured by the tangibles of 40 times, bench press, etc. Sometimes the intangibles and things that can't be measured are what counts.

  2. The Paterno statue is coming down...
    What took so long...
    no brainer...
    should have happened a week ago.

  3. I am enjoying the heck out of this walk down memory lane. Thanks and a gold/navy star for all your work.

  4. Not bad for a Yompton hillbilly.

  5. My guess of PSU sanctions...
    1. 5 year bowl ban..
    2. 60 scholarships players for 5 year period (instead of 85).. which basically means, PSU has no ships to give this year...

    Prediction... O'brien has laid low the past 2 weeks... expect him to leave PSU...

  6. Chris, Thank you for this series. I have disagreed with some placements so far (Revis) but otherwise I think this is very well done. It also is a good distraction from the PSU problems.I will speculate at home about your top ten (will write down my list and compare at the end).