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Daily Links: Highsmith Homecoming, Another Steelers Fan Takeover?

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Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith

Pittsburgh Steelers fans could be poised to take over yet another stadium in the south with their appearance at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, while

🏈 According to Vivid Seats’ Fan Forecast, the Steelers are predicted to have 53% of the crowd backing them instead of the home-standing Carolina Panthers. Even though the Steelers are 5-8, they always draw strong crowds throughout the south, with the area full of Pittsburgh ex-pats. Steelers fans made their presence felt two weeks ago in Atlanta.

🏈 Carolina head coach Steve Wilks called on Panthers fans to show up and not sell their tickets to Steelers fans this week. “Keep those Steelers fans out of Bank of America Stadium.

🏈 The venue should be familiar for Steelers starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but this will be his first start in the venue. Trubisky was a redshirt for North Carolina’s 2013 Belk Bowl win over Cincinnati, did not play as a backup in Carolina’s 2015 Duke’s Mayo Classic loss to South Carolina, and make one pass attempt as a backup in the 2015 ACC Championship Game against Clemson.

🏈 Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith is familiar with the venue in a different way. His father Sam Highsmith posted on Twitter these pictures of a young Alex as a Carolina Panthers fan. He went on to play his college football at UNC Charlotte.

🏈 The Steelers have won six straight games against the Panthers with an average margin of victory of 23.8 points.

🏈 On Dec. 17, 2006, Willie Parker rushed for 132 yards against the Panthers in Charlotte. That was the third of those six straight wins.

πŸŽ‚ Happy 61st birthday to former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Tim Lewis and happy 56th birthday to former Steelers outside linebacker and first-round draft pick Aaron Jones.

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STEELERS DRAFT DIGEST

🏈: Pitt safety Brandon Hill declared for the 2023 NFL Draft and will skip the team’s appearance in the Sun Bowl. Hill, an All-ACC Honorable Mention selection, logged three career defensive touchdowns and three interceptions throughout his career with the Panthers. He is somewhat of an unexpected add to the draft, and as such, there is no consistent rating for his draft stock.

🏈: Syracuse RB Sean Tucker declared for the 2023 NFL Draft and will skip the team’s Pinstripe Bowl appearance. Tucker is pleased with his performance throughout his career. He logged over 3000 rushing yards, 27 rushing touchdowns, and nearly 600 carries with the Orange. Tucker’s production speaks volumes and he is one of many running backs expected to be taken in the mid rounds of the draft.

🏈: Pitt linebacker Sirvocea Dennis has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl. The first-team All-ACC Selection manned the MIKE linebacker spot for the Panthers, racking up 94 tackles, registering 7 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and an interception in 2022. While he has yet to be truly rated on the mock draft scale, Dennis has the intangibles and production to be a late-round draft pick with a strong showing.

🏈: Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. The Biletnikoff Award winner blazed the field with Cedric Tillman and Hendon Hooker, averaging nearly 19 yards per catch as he reeled in 67 passes for 1267 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Hyatt should test especially well and can play at different spots on the field. If he tests as he should, Hyatt could be an early day two pick.

🏈: In the 2023 NFL Mock Draft done by Joe Broback, Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez landed with the Steelers. Gonzalez is considered one of the top cornerbacks in all of college football. He falls to the Steelers here after Joey Porter Jr. was snagged by Houston before the Steelers pick. With plus ball skills and smooth hips, Gonzalez could the alpha cornerback the Steelers have been looking to find for years.

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