Football continues for Pitt post-graduate players
Chris Jacobson has no more knees to give.
First the right knee, then the left, have been damaged during his collegiate career. But he'll play on Pitt's offensive line this season — his sixth at the university — after graduating with a degree in administrative justice while working on a minor in legal studies.
Jacobson, a graduate of Keystone Oaks High School, is one of 10 Pitt seniors who earned their degrees with athletic eligibility remaining. Each will work toward a graduate degree while taking at least two courses this fall.
Without the second injury, suffered in the third week of last season and repaired surgically nine days later, Jacobson never would have attempted to earn the additional degree.
“I would have gone into real life,” he said. “I got hurt and said, ‘OK, now what do I do?' So, I took another degree.”
Likewise, Pitt senior safety Andrew Taglianetti isn't slowing down after graduating this spring with a degree in business. He celebrated by going on a mercy mission with other Pitt student-athletes to earthquake-torn Haiti. Upon his return, he immediately started pursuing his MBA.
“The classload doesn't really diminish,” he said. “It might, actually, get harder.”
That's OK, because Taglianetti, a Central Catholic graduate, likes competing in the classroom as much as he does on the football field.
“I graduated with a 3.1,” he said. “Balancing a Division I sport with a business degree, I'll take it. There is no correlation between GPA and intelligence.
“I could have went and got a 4.0. There are kids who have a 4.0, but I know I can match up with them. When the hiring process comes down, someone might have better grades than me, but I'll throw myself up against anyone.
“I'm not saying I'm better than anyone else, but it's kind of fun to push yourself to be better than the best.”
Taglianetti, who has interned with the Penguins and a commercial real estate company the past two summers, isn't sure where his degree will lead. He knows this much, though:
“I want to run a company someday, be in charge,” he said. “I want to be the boss.”
After his playing days, Jacobson will seek a career in law enforcement, but he would prefer something beyond riding in a patrol car. He had his fill of that two years ago while interning with the Dormont police.
Riding shotgun with Sgt. Jim Burke, Jacobson spotted then-Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt innocently driving his car along Route 19.
“Should we pull him over?” Burke said.
“No, no, please don't,” Jacobson said.
Burke had none of it. “We'll get him,” he said.
“Next thing you know, lights,” Jacobson said.
Burke pulled over the car and a nervous Wannstedt got out.
“Sir,” Burke said, “please, park your car up there and get out of the vehicle.”
“Coach Wannstedt was freaking out,” Jacobson said. “He was scared.”
Finally, Jacobson stepped out of the police car, and his cover was blown.
“(Wannstedt) throws his hands in the air, and we all had a good laugh,” Jacobson said.
The next day, Wannstedt struck back, relating the story to former Pitt strength coach Buddy Morris.
“You pulled over the head coach?” Morris said to Jacobson. “50 up-downs.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police at Uniontown solve 1970 cold case homicide of 17-year-old, but suspect has died
- PennDOT alerts drivers to numerous road closures due to flooding, debris
- Weather closes Penn State for first time in 8 years
- Shania’s first tour in 11 years includes Pittsburgh stop
- 11 Ligonier Township residents rescued by boat from floodwaters
- ‘Time for bold change,’ Wolf says in outlining $30B state budget
- Artist born without arms, legs gives Hampton students peek into her world
- Penguins need trade-deadline acquisitions to bring toughness
- Blue Jays’ Martin has ‘nothing but praise’ for former Pirates teammates
- Safety Vinopal, former teammates perform for NFL scouts at Pitt’s Pro Day
- Pitt’s Wright excelling in classroom