A member of Pitt’s famed 1977 recruiting class, Rickey Jackson collected 290 career tackles at the school and still ranks 17th all-time in that category. Paired with Hugh Green, Jackson helped form one of the most feared defensive end tandems in college football history. Jackson was an integral part of a Pitt defense in 1980 that ranked No. 1 in the country and surrendered just 11 points per game.
He helped Pitt to a 22-2 record over the 1979 and 1980 seasons, including a pair of Top 10 finishes in the polls. As a senior in 1980, he and future Hall of Fame teammate Russ Grimm helped the Panthers to an 11-1 mark and selection by The New York Times computer poll as the country’s No. 1 team.
A second-round draft pick by New Orleans, Jackson spent 15 seasons in the NFL (1981-1995). He compiled an incredible 128 sacks, which ranked third all-time when he retired following the ’95 campaign. Jackson recovered 28 fumbles (second most in NFL history) and forced 41 (fourth all-time). He broke up 118 passes.
In 1994, he signed as a free agent with San Francisco and earned a ring that season as he helped the 49ers to a 49-26 victory in Super Bowl XXIX over San Diego. Jackson was a four-time All-Pro selection and six-time Pro Bowler.
Rickey Jackson – LB, New Orleans Saints (1981-1993), San Francisco 49ers (1994-95)
Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010
One of the most durable linebackers in NFL history. He missed just two games in 15 seasons.
Finished career with 128 sacks and eight interceptions. Jackson holds the Saints team record with 123 career sacks.
Named first-team All-Pro in 1987 when he helped New Orleans to its first winning season and inaugural playoff appearance in franchise history.
A perennial loser when Jackson arrived, the Saints experienced newfound success with the hard-hitting linebacker. New Orleans never finished below .500 during Jackson’s final seven years with the team.
Signed with the San Francisco 49ers following the 1993 season and started at defensive end on their 1994 Super Bowl championship team.