Hometown: Powell, OH
Record: 36-14, Bowl Record: 1-3 including a BCS win
To say, “Mike Lorello was just another player on the great 2005 Mountaineer team,” would be an understatement. Lorello provided the Mountaineers a consistent tackling force in the secondary and near the line of scrimmage. Lorello earned a starting spot at bandit safety during his sophomore season, later moving out to spur safety as his career went on. Lorello ‘s hard- nosed tackling and ability to make big plays earned him recognition in the form of All-Big East selections in 2004 and 2005. Lorello would make the roster with the Steelers after graduation, but would never really pan out as a professional football player. His glory was limited to the confines of Mountaineer Field and the realm of college football.
Memorable Game: The 2004 season was one of hope for the Mountaineers. With Virginia Tech and Miami left for the ACC, the Mountaineers were in the hunt for the Big East Championship and the school’s first BCS game. West Virginia had run their record to 5-1 coming into the home match-up with Syracuse. The game against the Orange was one of many games that the Mountaineers would be favored in down the stretch. Coach Rodriguez made certain that his team was not looking past the Orange, encouraging his team to play all out. Mike Lorello responded to the call, blocking a field goal and making 7 tackles. Syracuse was overwhelmed by the Mountaineers offense, giving up 423 yards of offense. Lorello and the defense bent but did not break. The defense would allow Syracuse to move the ball, but when their back was to the goal line, the Mountaineers rallied, holding the Orange to just 6 points. West Virginia put away Syracuse 27-6.
Competition: A strong argument could be made for Mike Logan as the pick for #23. Logan had comparable statistics to Mike Lorello. Logan had a much better professional career than Lorello. Where Lorello pulled away, was in the success of the teams he was part of. Lorello was a driving force for a defense that gave the prolific Mountaineer offense plenty of opportunities to run up the score. Lorello was instrumental to West Virginia winning their first ever BCS game; that was the tie breaker for this selection.
Teaser: Tomorrow we feature the career of a running back that is one of the most recognizable Mountaineers players ever. It is safe to say that this prolific rusher is every Mountaineers fan’s favorite player from New Jersey. Speaking of favorites from New Jersey, I have to provide a clip of my favorite Kevin Smith movie: Dogma.