Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett was named the 2021 ACC Player of the Year on Wednesday, following the conclusion of a historic regular season that saw him rewrite the Pitt record books and lead the Panthers to a berth in the ACC championship game.
All told, Pickett finished the regular season with 314 completions for 4,066 yards and 40 touchdowns. Pickett’s 40 touchdown passes are the most ever thrown by an ACC quarterback in the regular season, and with two more, Pickett can break former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson’s season record of 41 touchdown passes set in 2016.
In addition, Pickett scored four times on foot this season, bringing his touchdown total for the year up to 44. And with 213 rushing yards, Pickett accounted for a total of 4,279 yards in 2021. That total was less than Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who led the ACC with 4,718. However, Pickett outscored Armstrong by four touchdowns, and Armstrong threw 10 interceptions to Pickett’s seven.
Pickett not only won ACC Player of the Year, but he won by a landslide, as he received 52 out of 64 votes, or 81 percent of the total. In addition, Pickett was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year and was one of 12 Panthers who earned All-ACC honors. Of the 12, he was one of three placed on the All-ACC first team. Pickett is the second Pitt player to be named the ACC Player of the Year. The first was James Conner, who won the honor in 2014.
This could be the first of many accolades for the Pitt quarterback in 2021, as he is also a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award, the Golden Arm Award, the Maxwell Award and the Senior CLASS Award. Pickett has also been placed on the ballot for the Heisman Trophy and could take home college football’s highest individual honor with another strong showing in the upcoming ACC championship game.