Devin Street... Pitt football 2011 PUBLISHED CAPTION: Devin StreetTeam-high 53 catches in 2011 Original Filename: Street.jpg Original Filename: street.jpg PUBLISHED CAPTION: Devin StreetSecond-teamAll-Big Eastlast seasonas a junior Original Filename: street0830.jpg PUBLISHED CAPTION: Paul W. Gillespie/The Capital photosNavys Brendon Clements, left, Chris Johnson and Aaron Davis swarm Pitt quarterback Tom Savage in the fourth quarter. Original Filename: street1027.jpg
By Sam Werner / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After Pitt's 24-21 loss Saturday at Navy, receiver Devin Street emerged from the Panthers locker room carrying a football.
Just a few hours earlier, that ball had left quarterback Tom Savage's hand and found Street's down the field.
That marked the 179th time over the past four years that Street had caught a pass in a Pitt uniform, more than any other receiver in the school's history. More than Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Bryant or Latef Grim, who held the record until Saturday.
After the game, Street described the feeling as "bittersweet" because Pitt lost a heartbreaker against the Midshipmen. After a few days of reflection, though, his accomplishment finally has started to sink in.
"I thought about it a little bit and just thought about the whole journey," Street said. "It wasn't about getting the catches, it was just about that journey. I cherish everything I went through leading up to that point, but it still feels like a title a little bit."
Few would have picked Street as the guy to break the record when he arrived at Pitt in 2009 as a two-star receiver out of Bethlehem, Pa.. He redshirted his freshman year and caught 25passes in his first year on the field before taking over as a full-time starter in 2011.
Street, though, said he came to Pitt because of the legacy of wide receivers before him, and from Day 1 had the goal of joining that elite group.
"That was part of the reason I wanted to come to this school, Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Bryant," Street said. "Geez, it'd be an honor to put myself in that category or in that conversation with those types of guys.
"In anything I do, I want to be the best, whether it be a game of checkers with my little brother or going out on the field. There was definitely a goal. My dad always preached to strive high."
Savage admitted that he didn't know Street was close to breaking the record, but was happy for him when he found out.
"I thought he held them all already," Savage said.
He doesn't quite yet, but might soon.
Street is in the processing of capping his record-setting career with an excellent senior season. He is Pitt's leading receiver with 35 catches for 645 yards and four touchdowns. His career high is 73 catches for 975 yards and five touchdowns a season ago.
This week, though, part of his responsibilities entail helping his team bounce back from a disappointing loss and getting a road conference win in a tough environment against Georgia Tech. As a redshirt senior who has been emphatic about trying to take on a leadership role this season, Street's message was simple.
"Put last week in the past," Street said he told his teammates. "Worry about this week and worry about preparing each day coming out here. We just have to come out and work every play. We have to be detailed, too, as well. It's the little assignments that we're missing, and we're just beating ourselves."
While Street wants to finish on a positive note from a team perspective, he's not quite done with the individual goals yet, either. He is 370 yards away from passing Bryant as the Panthers' all-time leader in receiving yards. Bryant had 3,061 yards from 1999-2001.
"I want to be Pitt's all-time leading receiver," Street said. "With that comes the yards, so I'm still not done yet."
And that football? Street said he didn't have special plans for it, but knew of two people who would take care of it for him.
"My mom wanted it," he said. "It means a lot to her and my dad."
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG.
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