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Pitt’s Calijah Kancey Named Finalist for Bronko Nagurski Trophy



Pitt defensive lineman Calijah Kancey.

The comparisons between Aaron Donald and Calijah Kancey — two undersized defensive tackles from Pitt — are inevitable, and now Kancey is the first Pitt defender to accomplish a feat since Donald himself in 2013.

Kancey has been named as a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the award given to the best defensive player in college football. He is one of four finalists, along with Alabama’s Will Anderson, USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu and Georgia’s Chris Smith.

Kancey has been one of the best defenders in college football this season, without needing award recognition to confirm his status as an elite defensive game wrecker, and it’s just the continuation of his dominant Pitt career.

With 29 tackles (17 solo), 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks this season, Kancey leads the ACC in both tackles for loss and sacks as an interior defensive lineman. According to Pro Football Focus, Kancey is the ninth-highest-rated defender in college football this season.

In his Pitt career, through nearly three seasons, Kancey has recorded 89 tackles (52 solo), 34 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Kancey is also a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, another award for the best defensive player in college football, and he will likely be the leading candidate for ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

The winner of the Nagurski Trophy will be announced on Dec. 5 at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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