Sunday, July 29, 2012

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.11 LeSean McCoy

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.

11.  LeSean McCoy (2007-08)-  There was no doubt that "Shady", as he's commonly known, was going to be a star ever since his sophomore season at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg.  And though he took the circuitous route to Pittsburgh, it was well worth the wait for all involved.

McCoy started in style as a true freshman when he ran for 1,328 yards (4.8 avg.) and 14 touchdowns.  Already showing his great pass catching skills, he also added 33 receptions.  In the season finale McCoy was amazing as he ran 38 times for 148 yards in a stunning 13-9 defeat over hated rival West Virginia, a loss that cost the Mountaineers a chance at the National Championship.

As a sophomore, McCoy continued his consistent excellence with 1,403 yards (4.9 avg.) and an incredible 23 rushing touchdowns.  This time he added 31 more receptions.  It was the best rushing season for any sophomore in school history.

Unfortunately for Pitt fans, since McCoy spent a year at a prep school before arriving, he could leave for the NFL after his sophomore year, which is exactly what he did.  He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Philadelphia Eagles and quickly became an NFL star.  In his second season with the Eagles, a season that technically could have have been his senior year at Pitt, he ran for over 1,000 yards and had 78 receptions.  One can only imagine what huge numbers he could have put up in his last two years of college eligibility, especially since, despite his great two year numbers at Pitt, he wasn't even close to being a finished product.  That's a true sign of just how much talent he possessed for the Panthers.


  1. At one time and according to Scout, Shady was the number one overall recruit in the country during his senior year of high school. He was the best RB in the NFL draft when he came out.

    My wife is an Eagles season ticket holder, and got me an autographed portrait for Christmas two years ago. She said it was pretty obvious in his interactions with Pitt fans that the guy bleeds blue & gold.

  2. I came to be a Pitt fan in the latter portion of the time covered in this countdown but it still brings me great joy to read a lot of the profiles of players I've only heard about.

    Shady has truly been one of the great treats to watch in my years as a Pitt fan. I also thought Antonio Bryant was a spectacular talent and a testament to the many good things that Walt Harris did for the program.

    I look forward to seeing the top 10.