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Kenny Pickett named finalist for 2021 Heisman Trophy

The Pitt quarterback is the program's first Heisman Trophy finalist since 2003

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 ACC Championship Game - Pitt v Wake Forest Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett was named a finalist for the 2021 Heisman Trophy on Monday night after a record-setting regular season and a strong performance in the ACC championship game. The Pitt signal-caller is one of four finalists for the honor, with the other three being Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

“It is an incredible honor to be named a Heisman Trophy finalist,” Pickett said. “I’m so proud to represent our university this weekend in New York City. This honor is about our entire program and all of my teammates and coaches. Just like our ACC championship, we did this together.”

This season, Pickett posted personal bests in yardage and touchdowns, with 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns. In the process, he became the first ACC player to throw for 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in the regular season and broke the ACC record for touchdown passes in a single season set by Deshaun Watson in 2016. He also rewrote the Pitt record books, breaking almost every major passing record.

Despite a phenomenal year, Pickett is a long shot to win the award, as Young has emerged as the favorite after a dominant showing in Alabama’s 41-24 win over Georgia in the SEC championship game over the weekend. This season, Young threw for 4,322 yards and 43 touchdowns. He also had four interceptions compared to seven picks for Pickett in 2021.

If Pickett were to defy the odds and take home the award, he would be the first Pitt player to do so since 1976, when Tony Dorsett won the honor. However, whether Pickett wins the Heisman or not, he has achieved a rare feat by becoming a finalist, as he is Pitt's first since Larry Fitzgerald in 2003, and he has left an indelible mark on the Pitt program since arriving in 2017. The winner of the award will be revealed on Saturday night at the Heisman Trophy Ceremony in New York City. The ceremony will air on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET.