If you’ve read my blog at all you would know that I like the old powers in college football and the Pitt Panthers have been a powerhouse in the past.
I am not predicting greatness or glory in 2014 for Pittsburgh but with James Conner at Tailback, they are certainly a team that has to be dealt with.
Conner would never make anyone think about, or forget about, Tony Dorsett. Dorsett was built for speed and he had plenty of speed to burn. For more than 20 years, Tony Dorsett was the all time leading rusher in a college football until the record was broken by Ricky Williams of Texas.
Conner is a completely different type of runner. He’s old school.
He’s listed as 6-2, 250 and he is never going to be mistaken for the fastest guy on the field. But, he’s fast enough to get it done. He’s as big or bigger than most Linebackers and is tough as nails and hard to tackle.
James Conner attended McDowell High School in Erie, Pennsylvania. He was not highly recruited at all and was rated a 3 star. Most recruited him as a Defensive End or a Linebacker.
He only rushed for about 1,900 yards in his entire high school career. I don’t believe anyone thought this guy might be the next Bo Jackson or Herschel Walker.
Conner did start as a true freshman and ran for 799 yards and 8 Touchdowns.
In his first game as a sophomore, Conner ran for 153 yards on 14 carries and 4 TDs.
In his second game against Boston College, Conner ran for 214 yards on 36 carries and another TD. After 2 games, Conner has 367 yards and 5 TDs as the Pitt Panthers move to 2-0 on the season with an impressive start.
Pitt will be challenged in game 6 against Virginia because they looked really good against highly ranked UCLA. Virginia Tech will be next and they could be improved with the addition of Michael Brewer at QB. Then, they have Georgia Tech and Duke. They end up with North Carolina, Syracuse and Miami.
The toughest defenses could be Virginia and Virginia Tech. The schedule could be ripe for James Conner to have a highly productive season.
If the Pitt Panthers don’t get bogged down in their tougher schedule and Conner keeps putting up the big numbers expect some Heisman mention later on.