Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.20 Dion Lewis

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.

20.  Dion Lewis (2009-2010)-  Maybe the biggest surprise ever for Pitt football, the small and lightly recruited New Jersey running back came out of nowhere to replace LeSean McCoy with an incredible 1,799 yards, a 5.5 avg., 17 touchdowns, and 25 catches.  The yardage total was the second best in school history behind only Tony Dorsett's Heisman season, and his rushing touchdown total is the third best in school history behind Dorsett and LeSean McCoy.  

As a sophomore things did not go as well.  Lewis did not hit the holes as well, and defenses concentrated on him a lot more.  But he still managed to end up with 1,061 yards, 4.8 avg., 13 touchdowns, and 27 receptions.  He came up big in the season ending game at Cincinnati where in a snowstorm he ran for 261 yards and 4 touchdowns.   

Lewis's combined freshman and sophomore seasons were the best in school history and in only two years he accumulated 2,860 yards, good for 4th best in school history.

Surprising everybody he left after his sophomore season and was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 5th round.  


  1. I'm surprised of this Dion in Top 20...
    I would put him lower albeit top 50.

    1. Anybody who runs for over 1,700 yards in a season and averages 1,400 yards, 15 TDs, and 26 catches a year over two years is a great player. He had more yards in his first two years than Dorsett. Give credit where credit is due.

  2. Good one. I'm starting to wonder where/if Billy West makes this list.

    That 2009 team was the best since the '83 team that lost in the Fiesta Bowl.

  3. I'm not a Walt fan, but I think his 2001-2002 teams were better than Wanny's best team, and were the best since the mid 80s at Pitt. Walt had no depth and the program as a whole was not as deep, but Walt's 2001 and 2002 team had more good players among the starting 22 with fewer weak links then Wanny's best had.