Pitt defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman announced his decision to opt out of the 2020 season earlier this month, but he continues to accrue accolades, as he earned first-team preseason All-America honors from the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The 6’2”, 290-pound defensive tackle was one of 11 college football players included on the list who are not expected to play this fall. The decision to include such players follows a similar decision by the AP to include teams that have already canceled or postponed their football seasons in its preseason poll.
Pitt received no votes in that poll largely because of its late-season losses to Boston College and Virginia Tech and its lackluster offense, but Twyman’s departure may well have contributed to the team’s struggle to gain preseason recognition. And the Pitt defense was dealt an additional blow with the loss of starting cornerback Damarri Mathis to a season-ending injury on Tuesday.
Twyman was most notable for his breakout campaign in 2019, as he led the team with 10.5 sacks and 12 tackles for losses. His contributions proved vital to a Pitt defense that led the nation in sacks per game, with 3.92, and ranked second only to Ohio State in total sacks, with a total of 51 sacks in 13 games.
The outgoing Pitt lineman is one of six first-team honorees from the ACC, which placed 10 players on the two AP All-America teams overall. Of those 10 ACC players, Twyman is one of three who have opted out. The other two are Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau.