Pitt legends Matt Cavanaugh and Craig Heyward have been on the college football Hall of Fame ballot for quite a while now, and now they’ve been joined by a new name.
Larry Fitzgerald is one of the new eligible candidates for the 2024 CFB Hall of Fame.
There are 78 players and nine coaches from the FBS and a further 101 players and 32 coaches from the remaining Divisions that are on the 2024 ballot.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot considering more than 5.62 million people have played college football and only 1,074 players have been inducted,” NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell said. “Being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game.”
2024 College Football Hall of Fame ✨@LarryFitzgerald debuts on the ballot ✍️
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) June 5, 2023
Fitzgerald spent two seasons at Pitt from 2002-03, recording 161 receptions for 2,677 yards and 34 touchdowns. His sophomore campaign (92 receptions for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns) earned him Heisman runner-up honors.
Fitzgerald was perhaps the best player in college football in the 2003 season as he won the Biletnikoff Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and was named a unanimous All-American.
The Arizona Cardinals selected Fitzgerald with the third selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, and he would go on to become one of the best wide receivers in NFL history. In 17 seasons, he recorded 1,432 receptions (second all-time) for 17,492 yards (second all-time) and 121 touchdowns (sixth all-time).
Cavanaugh, 66, was Pitt’s starting quarterback in 1976, when they went undefeated and won the national championship. He was also the MVP of the 1977 Sugar Bowl. Cavanaugh was a 1977 All-American and finished with 3,378 career passing yards.
The Youngstown, Ohio native played in the NFL for 15 seasons, and has served as a coach for 27 years. He rejoined Pitt as a tight ends coach from 1992-93 and again as offensive coordinator from 2005-08. He most recently served as senior offensive assistant for the Washington Redskins in 2019.
Heyward racked up over 3,000 yards in three seasons with the Panthers from 1985-87. In his junior season, the bruising runner rushed for 1,791 yards and 12 touchdowns and was an All-American. He was drafted in the first round by the New Orleans Saints and had 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns in his 11-year pro career. Sadly, Heyward passed away at age 39 in 2006 after a battle with cancer. Heyward’s sons, Cameron and Connor, both play for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There are currently 19 Pitt players in the College Football Hall of Fame. The last Panthers player to be inducted was offensive guard Ruben Brown in 2015.