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Penn State Athletes From Pittsburgh Who Passed On Pitt

While many in the Pittsburgh area might show some disdain for Penn State, some have made the jump to become a Nittany Lion. A select few of the defectors listed below have become the stars of Penn State and left Pitt as choice 5B.

Football (Past):

LaVar Arrington

 Penn State’s star linebacker from 1997 to 1999 may be the best to ever play for the Nittany Lions. A two-time All-American, Arrington completed some of his best game stats against Pitt. During his three seasons, the Nittany Lions took down Pitt in three consecutive matchups, including a 1999 game where Arrington blocked a potential game-tying field goal.

Sean Lee

Sean Lee 

When the decision came for Lee in 2006, he didn’t follow in his brother’s footsteps and play for Pitt. Pittsburgh’s local football and basketball star came to Happy Valley, where he eventually became a team captain. Lee never got his shot against the Panthers because Penn State didn’t played Pitt during his time with the team.

Richie Lucas


 The highest-picked Penn State quarterback ever in the NFL draft came from just outside of Pittsburgh to bring the Nittany Lions their first ever bowl win. His return trip to Pittsburgh with the Lions included a 25-21 victory over No. 19 Pitt in 1958.

Other Sports:

Suzie McConnell 


Born in Pittsburgh, McConnell committed to the Lady Lions basketball program in 1984. She led the team to a 95-33 record and four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Following her Penn State career, McConnell won gold at the 1988 Olympics and is the most recent Nittany Lion to win an Olympic Gold Medal.

Nico Megaludis


Megaludis is a three-time All-American wrestler from just outside of Pittsburgh. He claimed a long awaited individual National Championship last year in addition to four team National titles with the Nittany Lions.

Christa Harmotto

Harmotto is another star from just outside of Pittsburgh who decided to join the best collegiate volleyball program in the country. The four-time All-American finished her career ranked second all-time in hitting percentage on her way to winning two national titles.

Football (Present):

Gregg Garrity, Miles Sanders, Sterling Jenkins, John Petrishen, and Nick Bowers are the Pittsburgh area representatives for Penn State heading into the game Saturday. They all took different paths to Penn State — Garrity is the son of a former Nittany Lions star, and Bowers decommitted from Pitt to join James Franklin’s squad.

For the first time in 16 years, players from the Pittsburgh area will get a chance to represent their school against their local rival, a chance that all Pittsburgh-raised Nittany Lions should have.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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