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Kenny Pickett set to forgo Peach Bowl and prep for draft

Miami v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett has played his last game for the Panthers, as he announced on Thursday night that he will not play in the Peach Bowl and will instead shift his focus to preparing for the 2022 NFL draft.

“To the University of Pittsburgh, thank you for all that you have given me over the past five years,” Pickett said. “Coach Narduzzi, thank you for being by my side throughout my entire career and teaching me life lessons every step of the way. One of the best moments of my football career was standing on stage with you, the team, and our ACC championship trophy. I will never forget our victory and everything it took to get us there.”

“Coach Whipple, I’m so proud to have learned from you,” he continued. “Together, we accomplished all of our goals, and I wish you nothing but the best in the future. To my teammates, the memories we have made will last a lifetime. I am thankful for all of the friendships I’ve made, and I look forward to keeping these bonds as we move on to the next chapter of our lives. To the fans, thank you for all of your support throughout my career. I am incredibly proud to say I was a part if the team that brought back another trophy to the City of Champions. With love and gratitude, I have decided to forgo the Peach Bowl and begin training for the 2022 NFL draft.”

Pickett is the second star to opt out of the Peach Bowl, as Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III also announced that he would forgo the game and begin training for the draft on Thursday. Pickett’s decision means Nick Patti will likely start under center for Pitt in the bowl game, and with Walker out, Michigan State will likely start Jordon Simmons.

In 2021, Pickett threw for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns. He also led the Panthers to an 11-2 record and its first ACC title. He concludes his college career as Pitt’s all-time leader in completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, total offensive yards and touchdowns responsible for, with a total of 101.

Pitt and Michigan State are set to face off in the Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Dec. 30. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.