With the Dave Wannstedt Era officially over, uncertainty is swirling around the Pitt football program. But one thing is certain: defensive end Jabaal Sheard had an outstanding senior season.
On Wednesday, Big East coaches agreed and selected Sheard as the conference Defensive Player of the Year. Through 12 games this season, Sheard recorded 52 total tackles, 34 solo stops, 14.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 15 quarterback hurries, 4 pass breakups, 6 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery.
He ranked third in the Big East in sacks, second in tackles for loss, and first in forced fumbles.
This marks the third consecutive season that Pitt has claimed the Defensive Player of the Year honors; last year, defensive end Greg Romeus and defensive tackle Mick Williams shared the honor. In 2008, linebacker Scott McKillop was named the league's top defender. Linebacker H.B. Blades earned the designation in 2006.
Sheard was also one of seven Panthers named to the All-Big East teams. Redshirt senior left tackle Jason Pinkston, junior wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, senior safety Dom DeCicco, redshirt senior punter Dan Hutchins, and Sheard were named to the all-conference first team.
Redshirt junior defensive end Brandon Lindsey and redshirt sophomore safety Jarred Holley were named to the second team.