When we talk about some of the greatest players to ever wear a Pittsburgh Panthers uniform, we can now add another name to the list. Defense tackle Calijah Kancey earned unanimous All-American honors after being selected to the Football Writers Association of America’s first team.
Unanimous All-American— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) December 14, 2022
The 15th in Pitt Football History ✨
Donald. Fitzgerald. Fralic. May. Green.
Dorsett. Ditka. Walton. Goldberg.
Heller. Donchess. Welch. And now...
Calijah Kancey » @CKancey8#H2P » https://t.co/E6A92j15jD pic.twitter.com/NopDWnJqwL
The NCAA uses five All-America selectors to determine consensus and unanimous status: Associated Press, AFCA, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Kancey was a first-team selection on each of these outlets, the first since time since Aaron Donald earned the honors in 2013.
“This is just an incredible honor,” Kancey said. “I want to thank all of the All-America voters who considered me worthy of this recognition. I am so grateful for my Pitt coaches and teammates as well as our support staff. They help make me better every single day, on and off the field. This is just as much their honor as it is mine. I’m so blessed to be able to call myself a Pitt Panther.”
Kancey is in rare company as only 13 players in school history have ever earned unanimous honors. It was well earned after compiling one of the most impressive seasons of any defensive player in the country. Kancey ended the season with 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks in 11 games played. Kancey’s 92.4 PFF pass-rush grade led all Power 5 defensive linemen. The defensive standout was a major contributor in the Panthers leading the nation in sacks as well as helping the Panthers finish top 20 in total yards allowed.
Calijah Kancey: 92.4 PFF Pass-Rush Grade— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 24, 2022
1st among all Power 5 DL♨️ pic.twitter.com/HF4rlsVAsa
“I’ve run out of superlatives to describe how I feel about Calijah,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “He is the best defensive tackle I’ve ever coached, period. He’s a first-team All-American as a player and, more importantly, as a person. These national honors didn’t happen by accident. He absolutely earned them all and we are so proud of him.”
Kancey will miss the Sun Bowl as a shoulder injury brought his season to an early end. With the defensive tackle’s season in the review mirror, the only decision to make next is the NFL Draft. The Pitt standout is currently 9th on Mel Kiper Jr’s defensive tackle rankings and is the 64th overall player in Todd McShay’s rankings with a 79 overall grade.