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Abanikanda, Kancey Named Maxwell Football Club Award Semifinalists



Israel Abanikanda and Calijah Kancey have been key pieces to Pitt’s season, and while it hasn’t been as successful in a team sense, both stars have put together excellent seasons.

In recognition of those excellent campaigns, Abanikanda and Kancey have been named semifinalists for prestigious Maxwell Football Club awards. Abanikanda has been named a Maxwell Award semifinalist and Kancey has been named a Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalist.

The Maxwell Award is bestowed upon the best all-around college football player in the country, and the Bednarik Award is given to the best defensive player in college football.

Abanikanda is the leading rusher in the ACC, and he leads all of college football in all-purpose yards per game (177.88 yards), rushing touchdowns (16), total touchdowns (17), scoring per game (12.8) and total points (102). He’s run for 1,086 yards (third in college football) on 183 carries this season.

Kancey has been a disruptive force from the center of Pitt’s defense, racking up 22 tackles (12 solo), 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and seven quarterback hurries. Kancey’s impact doesn’t always show up on the statsheet either, and ejection from the North Carolina game served as a keen reminder.

Pitt has two former Maxwell Award winners in Tony Dorsett (who had his single-game rushing yards record overtaken by Abanikanda against Virginia Tech this season) in 1976 and Hugh Green in 1980. Kenny Pickett was named as a finalist for the award last season. Aaron Donald won Pitt’s only Bednarik Award in 2013.

Three finalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced on Nov. 22 and the winners will be announced at the end-of-the-year award show on Dec. 8.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

These two guys, S.Dennis, E.Hallett, B.Hill, and J.Wayne have had great performances. They are exciting to watch. Some great talent on the Roster but just has not produced ‘expected’ wins or fluid offense. One could argue we could have won any of or all of the GaTech, UNC, Louisville, and UTK games but on the flip side we could have easily lost WVU and VaTech and been even worse off. … Playing two solid P5 Schools to start the season is great for CFP aspirations but can really make anxiety rise when it leads to injury and ongoing below expectation… Read more »

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