Steelers’ Kenny Pickett Named Pitt’s First ACC Athlete of the Year
As Kenny Pickett’s historic run as Pitt’s starting quarterback continued through the 2021 season, he reached heights previously unseen by a long list of vaunted quarterbacks and rewrote school and conference records along the way.
Now he’s officially reached heights unseen by student-athletes at Pitt ever.
The ACC announced Friday that Pickett has officially been named the Anthony J. McKelvin Award winner as the 2022 ACC Male Athlete of the Year — officially becoming Pitt’s first male or female student-athlete to earn the honor.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award from the ACC, a conference that annually produces so many accomplished athletes,” Pickett said in a statement. “As always, I share this honor with my Pitt teammates, coaches and staff. Winning the ACC championship together is something I will cherish forever.”
ACC Male Athlete of the Year 🏆
Congratulations, Kenny Pickett 👏
The new @Steelers QB becomes Pitt's first student-athlete – male or female – to be named ACC Athlete of the Year!#H2P » https://t.co/DqizLYYwlB pic.twitter.com/R1kOcryb5F
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) July 8, 2022
In leading Pitt to an 11-3 season, the best finish since 1981’s 11-1 finish with Dan Marino, Pickett won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Senior CLASS Award and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Manning Award and an All-American (Walter Camp, AP, FWAA, Sporting News) and All-ACC (ACC Player of the Year) player.
“Kenny had a historic year, not only for Pitt but also for the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement. “He represented our university, the city of Pittsburgh and the ACC with the utmost class every step of the way. Kenny is a very deserving recipient of this prestigious award and we are, yet again, tremendously proud of him.”
With 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns, to just seven interceptions, on 334-of-497 passing attempts (67 percent), Pickett was one of the highest-rated passers in the nation, and he added 241 yards and five more touchdowns on the ground.
Pickett finished his Pitt career as the all-time leader in passing yards, completions, total offense, touchdowns responsible for and passing touchdowns. He’s thrown the most 300-yard passing games (16) and 400-yard passing games (five) and his 32 wins are the most as a Pitt starter.
Pickett completed 1,045-of-1,674 career passing attempts (just over 62 percent) for 12,303 yards and 81 touchdowns, to just 32 interceptions. He also added 809 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in the run game in 52 career appearances (49 starts).
Following the 2021 season, Pickett was selected as the first quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft, chosen as the 21st pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers — becoming the highest-drafted Pitt quarterback in history.
In addition to his work on the field, Pickett also excelled off the field in the areas of giving back through his name, image and likeness initiatives.
He was nationally lauded for his NIL initiatives, which have emphasized philanthropy as well as his teammates. Pickett’s volunteerism while on campus included efforts with the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, Make-A-Wish of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the Dollar Energy Fund and Voting Matters campaign. Pickett also donated his student-athlete per diem so that local youth teams could have resources to purchase bottled water for practices and games.
The likes of Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Phillip Rivers, Zion Williamson and Trevor Lawrence have earned the honor in the past, with Pickett adding his name to an exclusive list.
PITT’s Ithiel Horton was a close 2nd with his contributions in the Police Athletic League with his MMA/Boxing skills.