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Opinion

Vukovcan: Best Quarterback in College Football? None Better Than Kenny Pickett

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Coming into the 2021 college football season, if you took a poll of the national media asking who the best quarterback in college football would be, you likely would have gotten names like Spencer Rattler, Bryce Young, Matt Corral, Sam Howell, D.J. Uiagalelei and Malik Willis.

While those are a group of talented players, someone that wouldn’t have been brought up just might be the best quarterback in college football after four weeks.

I’m not saying that he’s the best. But I will say that no quarterback in college football has looked or played better than Kenny Pickett has played to this point for the Pitt Panthers.

I’ll repeat that: No one. You get the sense that every time Pitt has the ball that Pickett is going to lead them down the field for a touchdown.

Although they weren’t going against a defense that resembled the ’85 Chicago Bears, the Pitt offense led by Pickett ripped through the New Hampshire defense and virtually scored at will. In essentially two quarters of play, Pickett completed 24 of 28 passes for 403 yards and five touchdowns. In four games this season, Pickett is 98 of 132 (74%) for 1,342 yards with 15 touchdowns and only one interception.

These numbers are obviously very impressive but where do they put him nationally?

Kenny Pickett’s National QB Rankings

  • Passing Touchdowns (15): 2nd in the country
  • Passing Efficiency (195.6): 2nd in the country
  • Points Responsible For (102): 3rd in the country
  • Total Offense (365 yds/game): 5th in the country
  • Completion Pct (74.2%): 5th in the country
  • Passing Yards/Game (335 yards): 6th in the country

I think that’s pretty solid justification and not just a local writer’s opinion propping up a player that he covers.

The problem that Pickett will have to deal with in terms of getting respect from the national media is that he isn’t a household name. He’s not someone who plays for a ranked program and more importantly, he isn’t someone that the media has been talking about since he arrived at Pitt.

A couple examples of that are Rattler from Oklahoma and Uiagalelei from Clemson.

Entering this season, those are two players that everyone was gushing over and anointing as the next great stars of college football mainly because of their star rating coming out of high school as opposed to actual production in college. Rattler was a 2019 5-star recruit, while Uiagalelei was a 2020 5-star recruit.

So far this season, Rattler is 100 of 135 for 1017 yards with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. As a national audience heard last night on ABC, Oklahoma fans are unhappy with him and want him replaced. Those numbers are serviceable, but they aren’t close to Pickett’s.

As far as Uiagalelei goes, he looks nothing like a 5-star recruit. In four games, Uiagalelei is 63 of 112 for 586 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

The bottom line is that through a lot of hard work and maintaining the proper attitude, Kenny Pickett has turned himself into one of the best quarterbacks, not only in the ACC, but in all of college football.

The only way that Pickett will start receiving the national attention that he deserves is if Pitt continues to win and makes a run at the Coastal Division. With the way it currently looks, that’s becoming a realistic possibility.

While experts on ESPN and other networks sing the praises of bigger names, if I had a choice of who the quarterback of my college team is in 2021, I’m taking No. 8 Kenny Pickett.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Craig
Craig
22 days ago

He’s playing well but You really can’t put any stock in the game vs UNH because of the talent discrepancy between the two teams.

RealityCheck
RealityCheck
22 days ago

Yes, If I’m Alabama I’d trade Bryce Young for him

Last edited 22 days ago by RealityCheck
Terrence
Terrence
22 days ago

I’ve been been one of pickett’s biggest critics over the years but he sure has looked awesome thru the 1st 4 games and that’s with a below Mac level offensive line

Section 122
Section 122
22 days ago
Reply to  Terrence

I’ve been brutal on him as well. Glad he’s finally looking good. I really hope it continues once the real schedule starts because this team isn’t going to run the ball or stop the pass so he’s gonna need to roll out big numbers every week. Should be 4-0 in these tune up games.

Krackerjack Kid
Krackerjack Kid
22 days ago

I have said this since last year. The guys is a winner. The only other QB on his level right now is Corral from Ole Miss. But let’s see how thing play out the next few weeks. H2P. KP is THE MAN.

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
21 days ago

There’s only ONE other QB on the same level right now? LOL please. Not even close to true. There are several QBs on the same level and several QBs on levels about him…

TMG
TMG
21 days ago

He’s playing very well against bad teams. He’s got a major league arm And he has improved greatly, his Confidence is off the charts, but, Lets not jump the shark.
putting a string of wins TOGETHER will lift his name higher. But playing under a Coach who is all over the MAP with no sense of direction will be difficult.
And yeah, Kenny can BALL

James from Florida
James from Florida
22 days ago

Agreed he looks good and with the upcoming schedule if he performs he will receive the accolades.

I hope he does well moving forward.

Jeff
Jeff
22 days ago

Can’t argue with that, Mike. You also put the numbers in the article to back it all up. Kenny is among the best at the position in the nation. Finally having an arsenal of talented pass catchers sure goes a long way in becoming a top quarterback as well.

Last edited 22 days ago by Jeff
RealityCheck
RealityCheck
21 days ago

Gaudy stats bruise he has to throw the ball every down. He’s also played UMass, UNH Western Mich and Tennessee. Do it for the 4 game stretch of GA Tech, VA Texh, Clemson and Miami

Jeff
Jeff
21 days ago

I’m not sure if this is a highly regarded outlet or not but I found the following concerning this writers views on the top college quarterbacks thus far. It has Kenny ranked at number 8. Just wanted to share the article. Take it for what it’s worth. It’s nice to see Kenny being recognized though.
👇👇👇

https://www.google.com/amp/s/sportsnaut.com/top-college-football-quarterbacks-2021-season/amp/

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
21 days ago

He’s looked great so far, especially without a running game. He also hasn’t faced any tough defenses. He faced adversity @ UT, but they’re not a great team in any facet of the game.

Jeff
Jeff
20 days ago

Chris Dokish has some cool information posted on Twitter about how Kenny is currently being viewed. One is by CBS Sports and another tweet on his Twitter is from USA Today Sports.

https://twitter.com/ChrisDokish/status/1442486093081825294

https://twitter.com/Pitt_FB/status/1442603732831776772

Last edited 20 days ago by Jeff
Duquesne WBB

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