Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.6 Jimbo Covert

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.

6.  Jimbo Covert (1978-82)-  The great high school wrestler from Freedom HS in Beaver County always wanted to play for Penn State, but a relentless Pitt assistant coach named Jimmy Johnson eventually won him over.

Even though Covert went down as one of the better offensive linemen in college football history, it's amazing to think that Covert started his college career as a defensive lineman and even started two games as a freshman. His second season again started on the defensive side but a separated shoulder forced him to redshirt.  Upon returning, he was made the left tackle where started for the next three years.  The last two of those seasons ended in All-American honors, including being named a unanimous first team All-American as a senior.  Amazingly as a senior he did not give up a sack even though the Panthers offense averaged 34 passes a game.  Even though Covert still claims he could have been an even better defensive lineman, he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003 as an offensive tackle.

Covert was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 6th pick in the 1st round.  A back injury limited his NFL career to eight years, but it was still long enough for him to be named to two Pro Bowls and the 1980s All-Decade Team.  He also earned a Super Bowl ring with the Bears.


  1. Bowling Green PantherAugust 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Amazing how many top offensive lineman started out at other positions. Covert & Brown on the defensive line and Grimm as a linebacker. Just more support to show how the recruiting and predicting for 17 and 18 year old athletes holds a lot of uncertainties...

    1. That was 30 years ago...
      Olineman in the late 70's early 80's were 225-250#...
      These days...
      Oline for Chryst have to be at least 6'5" and 280# coming out of HS!!! Lot more specialization... and any lineman with quickness and speed automatically goes to Dline. Back in the day... that type of specialization didn't exist.

      But if you look at the Left Tackle position...
      Mark May was succeed by Jimbo Covert who was succeeded by Bill Fralic!! I believe they all played Left Tackle.

    2. May was a RT and Covert was a LT.

  2. Sidenote...

    PSU up to 6 official transfers... most were backups or fighting for starting spot except Redd.
    I predicted 15..
    RB-Redd to USC (Jr)
    QB-Bolden to LSU (Jr)
    LB-Fortt to Cal (Jr)
    TE-Haplea to FSU (Jr)
    DL-Pollard to Rutgers (Frosh)
    S-Buckley to NCState (?)