WVU’s Countdown to Kickoff: Day 23- Mike Lorello

WVU’s Countdown to Kickoff: Day 23- Mike Lorello

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WVU’s Countdown to Kickoff: Day 23- Mike Lorello

Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 23, the number once worn by WVU defensive back, Mike Lorello.

Lorello (#23) stripping the ball from FSU quarterback, Chris Rix, during the 2005 Gator Bowl (photo via: markwallheiser.photoshelter.com)

Lorello (#23) stripping the ball from FSU quarterback, Chris Rix, during the 2005 Gator Bowl (photo via: markwallheiser.photoshelter.com)

Originally a native of Powell, OH, Lorello was a four-year member of the WVU football program, from 2002 to 2005. In 40 career appearances (37 starts) for the Mountaineers, Lorello recorded 261 tackles, six sacks, six interceptions, and seven forced fumbles. Lorello appeared four bowl games during his time at the school, helping them earn an upset victory over Georgia in the 2006 Nokia Sugar Bowl his senior year. He also earned first-team, all-Big East honors following his senior season.

In his first year in Morgantown, Lorello appeared in just four of the team’s 13 games during the course of the 2002 campaign, making his first collegiate start during a week six victory at Rutgers. Lorello recorded seven tackles, and a pass break up that season, while the team went on to finish the year 9-4 following a season ending loss to Virginia in the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl.

The following year, Lorello started and played 12 contests for West Virginia at safety.  He recorded a career-high 106 tackles, a sack, an interception, and a forced fumble to help the team combat an early 1-4 start to finish the year 8-5 overall. The Mountaineers ended the 2003 campaign with a 41-7 loss to Maryland in the 2004 Toyota Gator Bowl. However, by finishing 6-1 in conference play that year, West Virginia earned a share of the conference title for the first time in ten years.

As a junior, the 6’1”, 205 pound safety was on point once again for the old Gold and Blue as a standout on the defensive side of the ball. He recorded 66 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks, and a forced fumble during the course of the 2004 season. One of Lorello’s interceptions that year was returned 25 yards for a touchdown in a 31-19 road victory against Connecticut. The Mountaineers went on to finish the 2004 season with an 8-4 record, and once again earned a share of the Big East conference championship. They ended the campaign with another loss in the Gator Bowl after a 30-18 defeat at the hands of Florida State.

Lorello in uniform for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2006 preseason (photo via: bestsportsphotos.com)

Lorello in uniform for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2006 preseason (photo via: bestsportsphotos.com)

Lorello played out his final year in the program during the 2005 campaign. That year, Lorello was once again statistically stellar with 82 tackles, five forced fumbles, three interceptions, and three sacks to his credit.  His efforts were recognized with a first team, all-Big East selection at the end of the 2005 campaign. Lorello’s play, along with the emergence of countless young and exciting stars with in the program all culminated in the team finishing the season 11-1 overall, earning the school its first outright conference championship since 1993. The Mountaineers went on to cap off the season in successful fashion as they defeated #8 Georgia 38-35 in the 2006 Nokia Sugar Bowl.

Following his graduation from West Virginia University in 2006, Mike Lorello went on to pursue a career in professional football. Lorello signed on with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an un-drafted free agent in the spring of 2006. He would spend two seasons on the club’s practice roster before being released in 2008.

All countdown profiles of numbers 100-24 are still available here at WVUPros.com

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