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Six Pitt players to participate in NFL Scouting Combine

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Baldwin, Hynoski, Lewis, Pinkston, Romeus and Sheard will head to Indianapolis

Six former Pitt football standouts have accepted invitations to participate in the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine held in Indianapolis, Ind., from Feb. 23 through March 1.

The Panthers invitees are wide receiver Jon Baldwin, fullback Henry Hynoski, running back Dion Lewis, offensive lineman Jason Pinkston, defensive end Greg Romeus and defensive end Jabaal Sheard. They will join more than 300 of the nation’s top college prospects in showcasing their talents in front of NFL coaches, scouts and executives from each of the leagues’ 32 teams.

The Scouting Combine is the equivalent of an intense, week-long job interview and serves as a vital precursor for players and teams prior to April’s NFL Draft. The NFL Network and NFL.com will provide daily coverage and analysis of the event.

Baldwin (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season. He compiled 53 receptions for 822 yards (15.5 avg.) and five touchdowns in 2010, earning first-team All-Big East for the second consecutive year. Baldwin finished sixth in career receiving yards (2,337) and eighth in career receptions (128) at Pitt.

Pitt’s starting fullback the past two years, Hynoski (Elysburg, Pa./Southern Columbia) is another early entry in the draft, declaring following his redshirt junior season. He was instrumental in helping the Panthers produce a 1,000-yard rusher in 2009 and 2010. Hynoski rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries (3.9 avg.) for his career. He also caught 40 passes for 283 yards (7.1 avg.) and a TD.

Lewis (Albany, N.Y./Blair Academy) is the Panthers’ third underclassman to enter this year’s NFL Draft. He enrolled at Pitt in 2009 following a prep school year and went on to rush for nearly 3,000 yards in just two seasons.

Lewis was the country’s most decorated freshman in 2009 after rushing for 1,799 yards, the second-highest single-season total in Pitt history. In 2010 he rushed for 1,061 yards, giving him a two-year total of 2,860, which broke LeSean McCoy’s school record for combined rushing yards as a freshman and sophomore. (McCoy, now of the Philadelphia Eagles, rushed for 2,816 from 2007-08.) Lewis finished his career ranked fourth on Pitt’s all-time career rushing yardage list.

Pinkston (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) was a cornerstone on the Pitt offensive line the past three years as a starting left tackle. He made 41 career starts, including 26 consecutive games to close his career. Pinkston was a two-time first-team All-Big East selection and played in the prestigious Senior Bowl.
 
Romeus (Coral Springs, Fla./Coral Glades) was a 2010 preseason All-America candidate before injuries limited him to just two games as a senior. Despite season-ending knee surgery in November, he remains a prospect of high intrigue in April’s draft. As a junior he was named Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year after compiling 43 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, eight sacks, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Sheard (Hollywood Hills, Fla./Hollywood Hills) enters the combine after a highly decorated senior season. He was named a first team All-American by the AFCA and voted the Big East Defensive Player of the Year by league coaches. Sheard had 52 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 12 games. He led the Big East in forced fumbles (tied, 0.33 forced fumbles/game), ranked second in tackles for loss (tied, 1.21 TFLs/game) and was third in sacks (0.75 sacks/game).

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