Kenny Pickett named Heisman finalist, invited to New York ceremony

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Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Pitt redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) runs with the ball during the first half of Saturday evening’s ACC Championship game against Wake Forest University at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

By Dalton Coppola, Assistant Sports Editor

After setting numerous records, winning 10 regular season games and the ACC Championship game, redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Pickett is a Heisman Trophy finalist. Pickett is the first Panther finalist since wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald finished second in 2003.

The award recognizes “the most outstanding player in college football” from the current season. The other finalists include Alabama’s sophomore quarterback Bryce Young, Ohio State’s first-year quarterback C.J. Stroud and Michigan’s senior defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson.

Pickett is tied with Stroud for the third best odds to win the award, while Young is the runaway favorite.

Pickett led the most successful and memorable campaign in recent history this year. Once an afterthought, Pitt finished the season ranked No. 12 in the College Football Playoff rankings and atop of the ACC — finishing ahead of typical ACC powerhouses Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina.

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Pickett is a finalist for other national awards, such as the Maxwell and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards. Despite the individual accolades, Pickett has consistently said the recognition is due in large part to the work of his teammates as well.

“It’s a special thing,” Pickett said. “It hasn’t been done here in a long time. To have your name be next to that award and talk about going to New York City, being close to home, it’s special. It’s a team award … I’ve improved, yes. But this team has improved so much and I’m so grateful for every single guy in that room.”

After winning the ACC Championship, Pickett said he knew everything he and his teammates had accomplished was possible all along.

“This is absolutely everything I had envisioned,” Pickett said. “To say you’re going to do something and go out and do it is a special feeling.”

The Heisman ceremony will begin Saturday at 8 p.m. in New York and air nationally on ESPN.