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Pitt senior quarterback Kenny Pickett and sophomore defensive tackle Calijah Kancey received recognition today from the Maxwell Football Club, which unveiled its watch lists for the 2021 Maxwell Award and Chuck Bednarik Award.
Pickett was named a candidate for the Maxwell Award presented to the college player of the year, while Kancey is up for the Bednarik Award, which honors the nation’s top defensive player.
Pickett (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) enters his fourth full season as the Panthers’ starting quarterback. He ranks among the most prolific performers in school history, placing third all-time in total offensive yards (8,552) and fifth in passing yards (7,984). Pickett is eyeing Pitt’s longstanding career records in those two categories held by Alex Van Pelt, who compiled 11,267 pass yards and 11,148 total yards from 1989-92.
Pickett has directed five fourth-quarter comeback wins during his career, the most by a Pitt quarterback in 50 years. The last Pitt QB to accomplish the feat was Dave Havern, who also rallied the Panthers to five victories in the fourth quarter over the 1970 and 1971 seasons.
Kancey (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern) was one of the most decorated freshman defensive linemen in the country last year. He earned Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Rivals and The Athletic. He played in all 11 contests, collecting 27 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
The Panthers have a rich history with both awards. Running back Tony Dorsett (1976) and defensive end Hugh Green (1980) are prior recipients of the Maxwell. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the Bednarik in 2013.
The winners of the 2021 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the ESPN HomeDepot College Football Awards telecast on December 9. The formal presentations of the awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 11, 2022.
Pitt football tickets for the 2021 season are now on sale.