ShareThis Page
Murrysville native Hickey carves out fine career on O-line with Syracuse |

Murrysville native Hickey carves out fine career on O-line with Syracuse

Syracuse's Sean Hickey runs drills before the start of a game against Louisville on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, in Syracuse, N.Y.

Sean Hickey was thrilled when the Pitt coaching staff started recruiting him.

He had been a fan while growing up in Murrysville, and he often thought about playing for Pitt.

But the school’s interest in Hickey waned prior to signing day in 2010, and its coaches never offered the scholarship he might have accepted in an instant.

“For whatever reason, Dave Wannstedt and his staff didn’t feel like I was good enough to play at Pitt,” said Hickey, a Franklin Regional graduate.

Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta wasn’t happy about the snub of one of his top all-time players.

“They felt his feet weren’t quick enough,” Botta said. “I went round and round with the people down there. I won’t say any names, but I was furious.”

After choosing Syracuse over Boston College and Illinois and developing into one of the ACC’s top left tackles, Hickey looks upon Pitt’s disinterest as “a blessing in disguise.”

“Syracuse was a great fit,” he said. “I might have went (to Pitt) based on emotion. (Childhood dreams) can cloud your judgment.”

Hickey finally is returning to Pittsburgh on Saturday to play his penultimate college football game. The Orange (3-7, 1-5) won’t qualify for a bowl, but the fifth-year senior and three-year starter has unfinished business.

Syracuse played Pitt in the Carrier Dome the past two seasons, and when the Panthers won last year 17-16, someone rolled up Hickey’s ankle and he was forced to miss most of the game.

After being named honorable mention All-ACC, he contemplated entering the NFL Draft but said he was projected only as a third-, fourth- or fifth-round choice. rates Hickey as a third- or fourth-round pick next year, but for now he is focusing on the final two games of his career.

Syracuse was 8-5 and 7-6 the past two seasons, including 2-0 in bowls, but the Orange bring a 1-7 slump into Heinz Field.

In the 27-10 loss to Duke last week, Syracuse was missing 12 regulars, including three offensive linemen.

Hickey is the only member of that group who hasn’t suffered a significant injury, but even he limped to the sideline before returning later in the game.

That’s nothing new. Botta said Hickey played through a series of injuries in high school.

“He was an inspiration to everybody around him,” he said. “He said he just wanted to contribute.”

Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said Hickey (6-foot-5, 291 pounds) offers more than a big body to protect ball carriers.

“The one thing he has done well is step outside himself as a leader,” Shafer said. “He’s a quiet kid. He has done a nice of leading by example.”

Notes: Pitt starting offensive left tackle Adam Bisnowaty won’t play after hurting his foot in the North Carolina game. … Redshirt freshman tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith will make his second start of the season. … Backup tight end Scott Orndoff (foot) also is out, but wide receiver Manasseh Garner and defensive tackle Tyrique Jarrett are expected to return from foot injuries, coach Paul Chryst said.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.