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Pitt’s Calijah Kancey Named ACC Defensive Player of the Year



Pitt defensive lineman Calijah Kancey

Calijah Kancey has officially been voted as the 2022 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, perhaps just the first of a handful of offseason honors to come.

Kancey edged out Louisville’s Yasir Abdullah by just two votes, earning 19 votes from the ACC’s voting panel. North Carolina State’s Drake Thomas, Florida State’s Jared Verse, Georgia Tech’s Charlie Thomas, North Carolina’s Cedric Gray, Miami’s Kam Kitchens and Clemson’s Tyler Davis and Myles Murphy also received votes.

Kancey is Pitt’s first player to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors since Aaron Donald brought home the honor in 2013.

“I am extremely thankful and humbled to receive this incredible honor from the ACC,” Kancey said in the Pitt press release. “I share this award with all of my teammates and coaches. They make me better every day, on and off the field. I’m so proud to wear the Blue and Gold with them.”

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, but the recognition is already pouring in.

With 31 tackles (17 solo), 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks this season, Kancey finished second in the ACC in tackles for loss and third in sacks as an interior defensive lineman — despite missing a game and a half. 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 91 tackles (52 solo), 34.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.

“Calijah has been absolutely outstanding all season long and is highly deserving of this honor,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in the release. “As both a run stopper and rushing the passer, he has been tremendous. On behalf of our entire program, I want to congratulate Calijah on receiving this award. He has absolutely earned it.”

Kancey also spearheads a Pitt defense that leads the country in sacks, ranks seventh nationally against the run and ranks 19th in fewest total yards allowed.

Kancey is also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski and Outland Trophies, awarded to the best defensive player and best lineman in college football, respectively. And he was named to the All-ACC first-team yesterday.

Pitt’s All-Time ACC Honorees:

Player of the Year:

James Conner – 2014

Kenny Pickett – 2021

Offensive Player of the Year:

James Conner – 2014

Kenny Pickett – 2021

Defensive Player of the Year:

Aaron Donald – 2013

Calijah Kancey – 2022

Rookie of the Year:

Jordan Whitehead, Qadree Ollison – 2015

Offensive Rookie of the Year:

Qadree Ollison – 2015

Defensive Rookie of the Year:

Jordan Whitehead – 2015

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

Expect we have seen the last time Kancey will put on the Blue and Gold. Too much money at stake.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
1 year ago
Reply to  Pittband

agreed, why risk anything for the Pinstripe Bowl

Ed Rose
Ed Rose
1 year ago

I agree. I would bypass the Cotton, Rose or Citrus Bowl, too.
They are all exhibition games unless you are in the 4 team playoff.

1 year ago

well deserved CK …. do great things !

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