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Larry Fitzgerald Nearly Played Linebacker At Penn State

By all accounts, former Pitt Panthers wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald remains one of the best players in school history. Appearing in 26 games, he caught 161 passes for 2,677 yards and 34 touchdowns, a program record. As a sophomore, he was also a recipient of the Walter Camp player of the year award and the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver.

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After all that, Fitzgerald, believe it or not, was nearly a linebacker at Penn State, playing for, yes, Joe Paterno. Per AZCentral.com:

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More than 10 years ago, this attitude led to a life-changing decision. He said no to Joe Paterno, who wanted Fitzgerald to play linebacker, to be part of a great Penn State tradition.

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"I played linebacker all the way up to my senior year in high school," Fitzgerald said. "I was heavily recruited as a defensive player. I had about 25 to 30 offers coming out, and probably 70 percent of them were defensive offers. I grew up watching Penn State, and was really enamored by the defense at Linebacker U."

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So who should you thank for persuading Fitzgerald to sign with Pitt? Walt Harris.

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(h/t @MattRHinton)

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For more on the Pitt Panthers, check out Cardiac Hill, SB Nation's Pittsburgh blog.

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Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.