*James ConnerRunning BackPitt6-1, 233Erie, Pa.McDowell High School3rd Round – 105th Overall *
In 39 games, finished second on Pitt’s all-time rushing yards chart (3,733), total touchdowns (56) and rushing touchdowns (52), trailing only Tony Dorsett in all three…set Atlantic Coast Conference records for career rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns, finishing with 52 and 56 respectively, in his career.
First-Team All-ACC selection…rushed for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns on 216 carries…added 21 catches for 302 receiving yards and four touchdown catches…his 20 total touchdowns ranked eighth in the nation…receiving the 2016 Disney Sports Spirit Award, presented annually to college football’s most inspirational figure, recipient of the Maxwell Club Thomas Brookshier Spirit Award and the Brian Piccolo Award…compiled four 100-yard rushing games in the last five contests…scored two touchdowns vs. Villanova (9/3)…rushed for 117 yards and scored two touchdowns vs. Penn State (9/10)…totaled 141 rushing yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns vs. Virginia Tech (10/27)…posted 132 rushing yards on 20 carries and a score vs. Clemson (11/12)…finished his regular season career with a 115-rushing yard game, scoring two touchdowns and adding two catches for 45 yards and a touchdown vs. Syracuse (11/26).* *
Rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries vs. Youngstown State (9/5) before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
First-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, becoming the first Pitt running back to garner first-team accolades in 27 years, dating back to Craig “Ironhead” Heyward in 1987…selected the ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year by the league’s media and coaches…rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns on 298 carries…ranked third nationally in rushing touchdowns, fourth in scoring, sixth in rushing yards per game and seventh in total rushing yards, leading the ACC in all four categories…set a Pitt single-season record for rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns (26) and points (156), surpassing Tony Dorsett in all three…his 26 rushing touchdowns also set an ACC record, and his 1,765 rushing yards ranked third in ACC history and fourth in school history… had a career-high four touchdowns on just 14 carries to go along with 153 yards vs. Delaware (8/30)…rushed for 214 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries vs. Boston College (9/5)…posted a career-best 263 rushing yards and three touchdown on 38 carries vs. Duke (11/1).
Played in 12 games, leading the program in rushing yards (799) and rushing touchdowns (8)…became the first true freshman to lead Pitt in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns since 2009 (Dion Lewis)…eclipsed 100 yards rushing in four games… rushed for 119 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns in a win vs. New Mexico (9/14)…rushed for 173 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown in a 58-55 win at Duke (9/21)…named MVP of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl after a 229-yard rushing performance on 26 carries and a touchdown vs. Bowling Green (12/26)…his 229 yards set a Pitt Bowl game record.
At McDowell (Erie, Pa.) played running back and defense…led school to quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs as a senior, after rushing for 1,680 yards and 21 touchdowns on 155 carries…set a school single-season record with 164 points, including 26 touchdowns (tied for the most in school history)…also set school records for sacks in a season (12) and career (17).