Six Pitt players have been honored as part of the best 150 college football players of all time.
Defensive end Hugh Green, running back Tony Dorsett, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, quarterback Dan Marino, tight end Mike Ditka and offensive lineman Bill Fralic were all honored as part of the College Football 150.
The list was compiled by a panel of 150 media members, college administrators former coaches and players.
Green paced the Panthers selections, coming in at No. 12, followed by Dorsett at 17, Fitzgerald at 46, Marino at 67, Ditka at 78 and Fralic at 92.
Green played at Pitt from 1977 to 1980. His No. 2 finish in the 1980 Heisman Trophy voting was the highest ever for a defensive player. He was a three-time consensus All-American and won the Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Lombardi Award and was the Sporting News and UPI Player of the Year.
Dorsett, who came to Pitt from Hopewell High School in Beaver County, set the NCAA rushing record with 6,082 career yards. He won Pitt’s only Heisman Trophy as part of the Panthers’ last National Championship team in 1976. He also won the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and was a three-time first-team All-American.
Fitzgerald spent just two seasons at Pitt in 2002-03, but they were impactful ones. He was the first Pitt player to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and he set an NCAA record with 18 consecutive games with a touchdown and his 34 career receiving touchdowns remains a Pitt record. A unanimous All-American in 2003, Fitzgerald also won the Walter Camp Award, Biletnikoff Award and was a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.
Marino grew up in the shadow of Pitt’s campus in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood and is unquestionably the team’s best quarterback ever. Suiting up from 1979-82, Marino threw for 8,597 yards and 79 touchdowns at Pitt. He was a first-team All-American in 1981 and was part of the famous NFL Draft quarterback class of 1983.
Ditka, an Aliquippa native, played at Pitt from 1958-60, also playing baseball and basketball. Largely credited with revolutionizing the tight end position, Ditka led Pitt in receiving all three years and was a unanimous All-American in 1960. He went on to a long career as an NFL player, coach and broadcaster.
Fralic, a Penn Hills alum, played tackle at Pitt from 1981-84 and was a unanimous All-American twice. He was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft, tying Dorsett as the top-drafted Panther. Fralic was late a color broadcaster for Pitt. He died in 2018 at age 58 from cancer.
Five of the six of the Pitt inductees are in the College Football Hall of Fame and are among the 19 Panthers so enshrined. Fitzgerald, who stills plays for the Arizona Cardinals, is not yet eligible. Ditka, Dorsett and Marino have also been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well.
Pitt’s six selections are tied for sixth-most of any school, along with Nebraska. USC and Notre Dame have the most with nine. Oklahoma has eight and Ohio State and Alabama have seven.
No other current ACC schools have more than three, where North Carolina, Miami and Syracuse are tied.