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Jaylen Twyman honored as National Defensive Player of the Month

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The Pitt defensive lineman leads the ACC with 1.2 sacks per game

NCAA Football: Delaware at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman has emerged as the Panthers’ top defensive threat this season, as he has amassed six sacks and 6.5 tackles for losses in his team’s first five games. As a result of his performance, he was named the Outland Trophy National Defensive Player of the Month for September.

The monthly award is voted on by the Football Writers Association of America, which honors one offensive player and one defensive player every month during the season. Oregon tackle Penei Sewell won the offensive honor.

Twyman’s total of six sacks leads the team, and his average of 1.2 sacks per game leads the ACC. That average also ranks sixth nationally. In addition, his total of 6.5 tackles for losses leads the team, while his average of 1.3 tackles for losses per game currently ranks second in the conference.

Pitt’s defense has been its greatest strength this season, and the defense’s ability to get into the backfield and stop opposing offenses for losses has been its most impressive quality. Pitt ranks second in the nation with 24 sacks and fourth in the nation with 44 tackles for losses. Twyman has accounted for a quarter of the team’s sacks and 14.8 percent of its tackles for losses five weeks into the season.

What Twyman has been able to accomplish this season as an interior defensive lineman is uncommon. The last time a player in his position led Pitt in sacks was in 2013, when Aaron Donald finished the season with 11. Twyman is currently on pace to top Donald's mark but would have to continue producing at his current clip as Pitt navigates its conference schedule. Twyman asked Donald, who now plays in the NFL for the Los Angeles Rams, for his permission to wear his old number, 97, before the start of the season.