Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Preseason grades for Pitt football

Quarterbacks:  Obviously this was a disaster last season, and unfortunately most of the unit is the same. Once again Tino Sunseri will start.  He's a senior and it's his third year as a starter so that fact alone should make one believe that he'll at least improve.  Paul Chryst's quarterback expertise will be put to the test this year and I think enough improvements will be made that Sunseri should at least have an adequate season.  The backup is once again undersized former walk-on Trey Anderson, a sophomore.  While Anderson is far from horrible, a 5'9" walk-on as a backup is hardly ideal.  Third string will be incoming prized freshman Chad Voytik.  Don't think he's a guaranteed redshirt, though.  He has more talent than either player ahead of him and by mid-season, if Sunseri is not playing well, I can see Voytik progressing enough to take over the starting position. I'm not saying that will happen, but just because Voytik isn't ready now, that does not mean he won't be ready six weeks from now. Bottom line:  Chryst raises it a half of a grade and has the ability to raise it even a little more by the end of the year.

Last Season's Final Grade:  D
This Season's Preseason Grade:  C-

Running backs:  For much of the season, this was the best unit on the team, mostly because of the wonderful Ray Graham.  Graham was obviously hurt towards the end of the season and is still recovering.  The uncertainty of just how well he returns lowers the grade on this position, but the depth this year is even better.  Sophomore Isaac Bennett is a tough straight line runner with good speed and he looks to be much improved this year after being forced into action unexpectedly last season.  Elite freshman Rushel Shell also came on strong towards the end of the preseason and it will be interesting to see how well he progresses as the season develops.  At fullback, converted high school quarterback, and walk-on, Mark Giubilato, is now up to a rock solid 230 pounds, and he'll start.  Another walk-on, Adam Lazenga, is the backup.  Bottom line:  All three of the top halfbacks are capable of having huge seasons, but Bennett and Shell haven't done it yet and Graham is coming off a major injury.  By the end of the year, those answers could very well be answered, but right now there are at least some questions.

Last Season's Final Grade:  A
This Season's Preseason Grade:  B+

Wide receivers:  This was one of the more disappointing units last season, mainly because starters Devin Street and Michael Shanahan never bought into Todd Graham's offense, and it resulted in both not having their heart in it.  That should be much different this season as Chryst's offense will play to both of their strengths.  The 6'4" Street underachieved at the beginning of the season but came on at the end of the year. If the junior comes to play this year he could be playing his last season as a Panther because talented 6'4" receivers tend to go to the NFL early.  That incentive should be enough for him to come up big.  The 6'5" Shanahan has been battling injuries in the preseason but he should also be better this season.  After them there is a big difference with the second string consisting of 5'7" senior Cameron Saddler and 5'8" sophomore Ronald Jones.  Both have quickness, especially Jones, but their lack of size is obviously a problem.  Bottom line:  The position is in flux and Street has to come up big, plus somebody other than him has to come on for this position to improve greatly.

Last Season's Final Grade:  D
This Season's Preseason Grade:  C-

Tight ends:  Todd Graham did not feature the tight end a lot in his offense, and the unit was still pretty good.  The good news is that the unit could be even better this season, especially since Chryst loves to utilize the position.  Former transfer Hubie Graham is my pick for most improved on offense this year.  He could come up with a good number of catches. Sophomores Drew Carswell and Brendan Carozzoni, and incoming freshman J.P. Holtz, are all very good in their own right.  Any of the three are more than capable of contributing also.  Bottom line:  Talented and deep, there's nothing not to like.

Last Season's Final Grade:  B
This Seasons's Preseason Grade:  A 

Offensive line:  What a disaster this unit was last year, but the good news is, I think it was more that the linemen were not a good fit in the offense, than the linemen were horrible.  Chris Jacobson returning to guard is a major plus.  He never became the star that was predicted of him but if he stays healthy his addition will help immensely.  Center Ryan Turnley went from a non-factor to a leader in one season and will pair with Jacobson to give a solid, veteran inside tandem.  The other guard is Ryan Schlieper who was forced into action last year but should be much improved.  The same can be said for Cory King who has been moved from guard to tackle after the yearlong suspension of Juantez Hollins.  The other tackle is Matt Rotheram who was looking good in limited action last season until an injury ended it.  The size of most of the starters are well over 300 pounds and all are capable of being at least solid starters.  It's the depth that's the problem.  True freshman Adam Bisnowaty, along with rarely used Zenel Demhasaj, Shane Johnson, Arthur Doakes, and Artie Rowell are even more untested, but they are all second team at the moment.  Bottom line:  The starters may not bad if they stay healthy, but that's rarely the case in football.  And Jacobson and Turnley had a lot of injuries last season and it's asking a lot for them to make it through this season.  I took some heat last season for giving the unit a C-, since a lot of people thought I was being generous.  But I did it because they played courageously and actually were very good at run blocking.  If there's something to get out of this bunch then Chryst, Joe Rudolph, and Jim Hueber will get it, but it's going to be tough if there is a significant injury.  The starters are a solid C but the lack of depth lowers the grade.

Last Season's Final Grade:  C-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  C-

Defensive line:  By the end of last season, the Pitt defensive line was excellent.  Unfortunately, most of the players responsible for that are gone.  Luckily, the one starter who is coming back is Aaron Donald who has All-American potential.  That's a great start.  But after him there are questions.  Donald will be joined on the inside by 300 pound bull Tyrone Ezell, who was highly rated coming out of high school but so far has underachieved.  At end, there is another underachiever in 6'6" 290 pound T.J. Clemmings, but he's got amazing size and athleticism so there's hope that he can turn into something special.  At the other end is Jack Lippert, who was lost in the shuffle so far in his career, but now has his chance.  Behind Clemmings is Bryan Murphy who scouts and coaches have been telling me for two years could be a star so it's interesting that he is now a backup.  We will find soon enough if it was the right choice.  Behind Lippert is senior Shayne Hale, a once highly recruited player who is down to his last chance.  Behind Ezell is Khaynin Mosley-Smith, another talented player who has not lived up to his potential yet.  Behind Donald is true freshman Darryl Render, who is there more by default than because he is ready to contribute a lot.  Bottom line-  Other than Donald it's a new cast of characters, but the talent is there.

Last Season's Final Grade:  A-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  B-

Linebacker:  The unit was not good last season, mostly because many of the players were very slow. Most of those players are gone and that's a good thing.  Two of the most talented players on the unit are Dan Mason and Ejuan Price, but Mason doesn't look to be a factor because of his badly injured leg, and Price will miss the season because of an injury.  Todd Thomas is also very talented but a bad injury will cost him some time at the beginning of the season.  In the meantime, fast redshirt freshman Nicholas Grigsby will man his outside spot.  On the other end will be redshirt sophomore Eric Williams.  In the middle is Shane Gordon, who finally gets his chance to show what he has on a full-time basis.  All three have not done much yet, and the three are in the 215-220 pound range, so there are plenty of questions.  The depth is even more questionable at the moment with the likes of Manny Williams and Joe Trebitz. True freshman Bam Bradley and Deaysean Rippy may be the future and could eventually work themselves into the mix.  Bottom line- For years the program has struggled to have a high level linebacking unit and while some of these younger guys are promising, I don't see them making a lot of damage this season.

Last Season's Final Grade:  C-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  B-

Defensive back:  This unit was not bad last season and looks to return a good measure of talent and depth, though some young unheralded true freshman have slipped into the mix.  The best of the group last season was cornerback K'waun Williams, but he's starting off this season with an injury. As long as he regains his health there's no reason to think he won't be good again.  On the other side, redshirt freshman Lafayette Pitts and sophomore Michigan transfer Cullen Christian battle it out, and both have a lot of talent.  At safety, last year's starters Jason Hendricks and Jared Holley are battling another Michigan transfer, Ray Vinopal, and the always exciting playmaker Andrew Taglianetti.  Not many programs have four good safeties like that.  The two unheralded freshman I mentioned previously, Ryan Lewis and Jamahl Pardner may also see some time at corner.  Bottom line:  Even with Lloyd Carrington transferring, this unit should be very good, barring injury.

Last Season's Final Grade:  B-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  B+

Special teams:  This is yet one more unit that was infuriating last season.  Both kicker Kevin Harper and punter Matt Yoklic have talent which makes their up and down performance last year so frustrating.  The return game was pretty much a non-factor.  Bottom line:  It's hard to say what will happen here because it's pretty much the same bunch, but the two kickers at least have a lot of potential.

Last season's Final Grade:  C-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  C

Coaching:  Obviously this is impossible to call because Chryst hasn't coached one game yet.  Will he be somebody like Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon, who Pitt fans were blase about, but who became great coaches?  Or will he be like Foge Fazio and Paul Hackett, two highly thought of coordinators who bombed when they became the head man?  So far Chryst is ahead of the game because he hasn't beaten anybody up and he hasn't made everybody hate him.  So he's got that going for him.  His style is very low key, which will be great if he wins.  If he doesn't win, his low key attitude will make it easier for people to pile on.  His offensive mind is an obvious plus.  It's not an exaggeration to say that it's one of the best in football.  But that's what makes him a great coordinator.  As everybody knows, that doesn't mean he'll be a great head coach, too.  One often does not lead to the other.  Since there's no way in knowing which way it will go, consider him to have a C grade until we do know.

Season prediction:  The schedule may not look good, but that's only if you think the Pitt is an excellent team, which they definitely aren't.  Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and South Florida are all equal or better than the Panthers and away games at Syracuse and UConn, and at home against Temple, aren't exactly gimmes either.

When all is said and done, it doesn't seem likely that this team will go worse than 6-6, and I would be very surprised if they went any better than 8-4.  I'll split it down the middle and say 7-5.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Corey Clement is not solid

New Jersey RB Corey Clement told ESPN that he still wants to visit Nebraska for sure, and maybe Notre Dame and Wisconsin.  Losing him would obviously cost Paul Chryst one of is more coveted prospects.  A long way to go, but usually when a kid starts looking around again, he ends up changing his mind.  Not always, but more than 50% of the time it seems to me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two roster moves

In case you haven't heard, former Woodland Hills linebacker Ejuan Price is going to take a medical redshirt.  It hurts this season because the linebacking unit is already a question mark, but in the long run it may be best for both him and the program because it will give him more time to learn how to be a linebacker.

Also, it appears that former Brashear star Manasseh Garner is going to transfer from Wisconsin to Pitt.  He lettered in his first two seasons, first on defense then at wide receiver.  He has had some injuries and the Wisconsin staff has questioned how much he wants to be a good player, but he's 6'2" 212, built like a brick wall, and has very good speed.  In other words, the basics all there for him to be excellent.  It's all up to him.  He was expected to see a bigger role this season for the Badgers, possibly as the No.3 receiver.  He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Where Pitt stands in recruiting (and where they need to go)

Time to look to see where Paul Chryst and his staff stands right now in the 2013 recruiting class, and what he still has to do to make the class a success.

Quarterback:  There are no quarterbacks on the roster currently, or any of the known quarterbacks of the future, who are the type who is almost guaranteed to put the program on their back and bring it to new heights.  But at the same time, Tom Savage, Chad Voytik, Tra'von Chapman, and perhaps Chandler Kincade all at least have the potential to reach that level if their best case scenario is reached.  This year Chryst added Chapman, a strong armed athlete from Ohio.  He's not the Ohio quarterback that Chryst wanted the most.  That would be Malik Zaire.  But Chapman is not far behind at this stage and has the potential to be just as good if not better in college.  Were the needs met for this position? Yes.

Running backs:  Isaac Bennett is only a sophomore and Malcolm Crockett is a redshirt freshman.  This year's incoming running back star is Rushell Shell.  All will be around for awhile.  At fullback, Mark Giubilato and David Durham will be back for multiple years, too.  But with Chryst's offense, running backs are at a premium so he went out and got strong running halfback Corey Clement and tough Gateway fullback Jaymar Parrish.  Were the needs met for this position?  Yes.

Wide receivers:  This is a position in flux.  Dave Wannstedt preferred big receivers and Todd Graham preferred fast, small receivers.  The result is a mismatched bunch with an identity problem.  The best chance of the current group to be a star is junior Devin Street but I can see a strong possibility of him going to the NFL after this season.  With Michael Shanahan and Cameron Saddler also moving on, this group is weakened even more in the near future.  While there are some receivers with potential none have proven themselves yet.  The program will not be a strong until they get a strong quarterback and it's going to be hard to have a strong quarterback with suspect receivers.  That's why the staff needs to add quality talent at the position.  Zach Challingsworth has committed in this class, and even though he's a bit of a sleeper, much more is needed.  Were the needs met for this position?  No.

Tight ends:  Chryst and offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph loves to utilize tight ends and that doesn't look like a problem in the present or the future.  True freshman J.P. Holtz is already showing signs that he'll be an excellent player and Brendan Carozzoni and Drew Carswell will also be around for two more years after this season.  The 2013 class also adds Tony Harper and Scott Orndoff.  Orndoff has great potential.  Were the needs met for the position?  Yes.  

Offensive line:  Entering the season the depth was not good.  Now it's even worse.  There needs to be a lot needed at the position, both in numbers and talent.  Only two, Carson Baker and Aaron Reese, have been added for the 2013 class and while both may turn out to be good players in the future, it's not nearly enough at this time.  Were the needs met for the position?  No. 

Defensive line:  Like the offensive line, the defensive line needs a lot of help in talent and numbers.  Two incoming freshmen, Daryl Render and Terrell Jackson, could be forced to see time even though both should be redshirted.  At defensive tackle, only Tyrique Jarrett, a giant City League kid who is prepping in New York this year, has been added.  At defensive end, underrated Shakir Soto has been added, as has Michigan native Luke Maclean, and promising James Conner.  However, Conner is still looking around despite his commitment, and his eligibility is suspect.  Another tackle or two is needed and none are elite prospects.  Were the needs met for the position?  No.

Linebackers:  Ten linebackers will be back next year so the numbers will eventually get better, but of those ten, none have the look of a big time player.  I'm not saying none will end up being all-star caliber, and in fact I assume one or two will, but the talent level definitely needs an upgrade.  A big time national level linebacker recruit has been missing from the program for years and so far only Matt Galambos has been added.  Like the rest of the unit, he has the potential to be a good player, but that big time star recruit at the position is still missing.  Were the needs met for the position?  No.

Defensive backs:  There's a lot of talent and depth at the position, and in fact it's the best unit on the team.  But you can never have enough defensive backs, especially cornerbacks.  With so many holes to fill, I can see the staff not taking the normal three or more defensive backs, but only one lesser recruited one has been added so far and that's less than ideal.  Were the needs met for the position?  No.

Kickers:  A kicker, Chris Blewitt, and a punter, Ryan Winslow, were added.  Enough said.  Were the needs met for the position?  Yes.

The bottom line, up to this point, is that the staff has added some quality, hard nosed players, who are also good people.  These are the types you can win with as long as you pair them with elite players.  All of the verbal commitments thus far are worthy high major players, even if they don't all project to be stars.  You need stars, yes, but any program, even the elite ones, have the kinds of players who hold down the bottom end while the stars are being stars.  Chryst is building the bedrock of his program.  Now he needs the stars to stand on that bedrock.  

How does Pitt improve on that for the 2013 class?  I'll mention the same two names that I've mentioned all year- Robert Foster and Dorian Johnson.  With just those two players, every position on offense will be improved through recruiting this year.  Chapman, Clement, and Orndoff are not elite prospects at most places, but with Chryst they are because they are the perfect fit for what he does so well.  But Foster and Johnson are the types of prospects that will immediately turn two weak units into two strong units.  They will also send word to the WPIAL, and the nation, that Pitt is a team to be reckoned with in the future.  

Then there is the defense.  I don't really see a chance of a big time prospect being added this year that will make a significant difference in the near future of the program, so adding some numbers to the position may be the best the program can do this season.  But that's okay as long as in the 2014 recruiting class Pitt does step it up with more program changing players.  Every position can't be fortified all at once.  There are too many holes in the program- nothing major, but there are too few star players and too few players overall.

Panthers add linebacker

Pitt head coach Paul Chryst added his 16th verbal commitment today when eastern PA linebacker Matt Galambos chose the Panthers.  The 6'2" 222 pound Galambos is from The Haverford School, a private school in Haverford, PA (20 minutes southeast from Philadelphia).  An excellent student, Galambos also had offers from Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, and Yale.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Panthers land another end

A day after landing probable defensive end Luke Maclean of Grand Blanc, MI, Pitt has landed another one in James Conner of Erie McDowell HS.  Conner is just 6'2" and 230 pounds, but he has good quickness off the corner.  Offers included Toledo, Bowling Green, Youngstown State, Eastern Michigan, and Ohio.  Eligibility issues are a major concern.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Zeise stepping away from Pitt football beat

Because his son, Elijah, has been offered a scholarship by Pitt, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pitt football  writer Paul Zeise will temporarily step away from his beat so there will be no perceived conflict of interest.  Joe D. hopefully can not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tom Ricketts out for the season

It's just been announced by Pitt that Panthers OT Tom Ricketts will have to sit out this year due to shoulder surgery.  This follows the announcement that fellow OT Juantez Hollins is out for the year for disciplinary reasons.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dorian Johnson considering Pitt

Elite Belle Vernon offensive tackle Dorian Johnson has de-committed from Penn State and is now looking at Pittsburgh, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech.  At the time he chose Penn State he said that Pitt was his second choice.  Johnson has not contacted any other school yet but is expected to do so on Wednesday.  Adding Johnson would be huge for Pitt head coach paul Chryst who is in desperate need for depth and talent on the offensive line.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mike Young to Pitt

As I reported on twitter last night, 6'8 combo forward Mike Young of Hudson Catholic HS in Jersey City, NY has committed to the Panthers.  Young, who originally is from Pittsburgh, is generally considered a top 75-100 prospect.  He is a very good rebounder and displays good offensive skills both in the post and outside of the paint.  He even has some three point ability from time to time.  Other offers included Florida, UConn, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Xavier, and Memphis.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pitt personnel announcments

Pitt announced today that quarterback Mark Myers is transferring to a Division III school, offensive lineman Juantez Hollins has been suspended for the season, and freshman wide receiver Chris Davis has been suspended for the first week of practice.

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.1 Tony Dorsett

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.

1.  Tony Dorsett (1973-76)-  Well, where do I start?  He was a four time All-American, including a three time First Team All-American, he won Pitt's only Heisman Trophy, he led the Panthers to an undefeated National Championship season, and he ended his career as the all-time leading rusher in NCAA history.  Other than that he was just okay.

As a freshman, the Hopewell High School phenom became the first freshman first team All-American in 29 years thanks to a then national freshman record of 1,586 yards, a 5.5 avg., and 12 touchdowns.  His 265 yard game against Northwestern was also a national freshman record at the time and he ran for 209 yards against Notre Dame.  His yardage total was second in the nation.

As a sophomore, Dorsett was not as spectacular thanks to defenses ganging up on him, but he ran for 1,004 yards, a 4.6 avg., and 9 touchdowns.  But that's still pretty good for a supposed down year and he was named a second team All-American.

As a junior he was again phenomenal with 1,544 yards, a 6.8 avg., and 11 touchdowns.  He also gained a whopping 303 yards against Notre Dame.  He ended the season again as a first team All-American and again was the second leading rusher in the nation.  He finished 4th in the Heisman voting, losing to Ohio State's Archie Griffin, who won for the second year in a row despite inferior stats of 1,450 yards, a 5.5 avg., and 4 touchdowns.

As a senior, it all came together with the undefeated National Championship season and the Heisman Trophy.  Dorsett accumulated an NCAA leading 1,948 regular season rushing yards, a 5.8 avg., and 21 touchdowns.  His single season yardage total was then the most ever in NCAA history.

In the final regular season game, against Penn State, Dorsett ran for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Afterwards, Penn State defensive end Ron Crosby said, "I think he's the greatest back I've ever seen.  I've never seen anyone with acceleration like that".  In the National Championship Sugar Bowl game he ran for 202 yards and a touchdown.  Needless to say he was again named a first team All-American, this time unanimously. He once again torched Notre Dame, this time for 181 yards, even after it was rumored that the Irish kept the grass high to slow him down.  In his four games against Notre Dame, Dorsett has rushed for 754 yards, still an NCAA record against an opponent.  After the season, he also won the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Trophy, and every other national player of the year award.

 Dorsett had four 1,000 yard seasons, including three 1,500 yard seasons.  In his four seasons he accumulated 6,082 rushing yards, a 5.7 avg., and 55 TDs.  His total yardage was the best in NCAA history, and he held on to that record for an incredible 22 years.  He was also the first player to rush for over 1,500 yards three times.

Not only did he win the Heisman and finish 4th in '75, but he is still the only player in NCAA history to finish in the top 13 in the Heisman voting for four years.   He is also a College Hall of Famer, an NFL Hall of Famer, and a Super Bowl champion.  ESPN ranked him the No.7 college player of all-time.

I could go on and on about his accomplishments, but Dorsett's importance go well beyond his stats.  The Pitt program was bad for decades when Dorsett and arrived and in four years he was the main player responsible for the National Championship.  He put Pitt on the map in the modern era with his fame and playing ability.  He also was highly responsible for the 1977 incoming recruiting class.  To a man, every player in that class mentions Dorsett as the reason they came, not only because they were fans, but because he literally recruited them on their visit to the campus.  Included in that class, considered the best Pitt class of of all-time, were Hugh Green, Rickey Jackson, Mark May, Carlton Williamson, and Russ Grimm.

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.2 Hugh Green

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.

2.  Hugh Green (1977-80)-  You would think the No.1 choice would be easy but a serious case could be made for #99.  Arguably the best defensive player in college football history, Green was also a four-time All-American and three-time First Team All-American.

How Green came to Pitt is part of Panther legend.  While the Pitt staff was in Natchez, MS looking at star running back prospect Rooster Jones, they noticed Green, whose only offer at the time was from Mississippi State.  Green eventually chose Pitt because he said he wanted to be on television.  The rest is history.

Green didn't start from the very first snap of his freshman season, but he did play on the second snap.  After that he never sat again.  As a freshman, he ended up with 92 tackles, 12 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 5 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 4 passes defensed, 2 blocked kicks, and an interception.  It was enough to be named second team All-American.

As a soph he was even better with 109 tackles, 13 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 6 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 6 passes defensed, and 2 interceptions.  He ended the season being named a consensus first team All-American.

As a junior, the greatness continued with 135 tackles, 11 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 6 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 5 passes defensed, and another interception.  This time he was named a unanimous first team All-American. He was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award but was beat out by USC offensive tackle Brad Budde.

As a senior, he somehow managed to be even better with 123 tackles, 17 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 7 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 6 passes defensed.  Once again he was named a unanimous first team All-American

Green's career totals included 460 tackles, 52 tackles for loss (in college football this does not include sacks), 53 sacks, 24 forced fumbles, 13 recovered fumbles, 22 passed defensed, and 76 hurries.  To put those numbers in perspective, Green's average year at Pitt was 115 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 3 recovered fumbles, 5 passes defensed, and 19 hurries.  That is a dream season for most All-Americans, let alone a four year average.  If that wasn't enough, he even had four interceptions and two blocked kicks in his career.  And this is while he was double and triple teamed throughout his entire career.

Despite those incredible numbers, Green still did not win the Heisman, finishing second to South Carolina's George Rogers.  It was the highest finish for a defensive only player in Heisman history (Michigan's Charles Woodson partially won because of his return skills).

While Green was robbed of the Heisman, he did win the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Lombardi Award, the Sporting News Player of the Year, and the UPI Player of the Year.

He was named the 5th best college football player ever by College Football News and the 14th best by ESPN.  In 1996 he was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame.

On the field, Green was fast, explosive, and mean. In fact, he once said, "I do find that something like a forearm up alongside the head does seem to settle most folks down." Syracuse head coach Frank Maloney marveling at Green's talent at the time said, "He just shouldn't be playing college football".  Pitt's defensive end coach, Ray Zingler, may have put it best when he said, "He does two things.  First he'll rip your head off, then he'll cut your heart out."

Green was drafted with the 7th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played 11 seasons in the league, splitting time between Tampa Bay and Miami.  Injuries prevented him from having a great NFL career, but he did make the All-Pro team twice.