Israel Abanikanda and Calijah Kancey both earned first-team All-ACC honors this season, and now they’ve both earned first-team All-American honors, too.
CBS Sports’ 2022 All-American team features Abanikanda as a first-team all-purpose player and Kancey as a first-team defensive tackle. Pitt is one of six schools — and the only ACC school — to have two first-team All-Americans.
Pro Football Network also named Kancey to its first-team All-American team — along with Interior Defensive Lineman of the Year — and Abanikanda to its second team as a flex player.
First Team 🏆 All-America 🇺🇸
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) December 6, 2022
All week long, linked & threaded below, are all the top honors from this season!
Congratulations to all!https://t.co/0pwW4Sof1H
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) December 6, 2022
Abanikanda is fourth in all-purpose yards (1,805 yards) and second in all-purpose yards per game (164 yards) in college football this season, and he led the nation in total touchdowns (21).
He’s rushed for 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, averaging 5.9 yards per attempt, and he added 146 receiving yards and 228 kickoff return yards. It’s not unfair to say he kept Pitt’s offense afloat this season.
In his Pitt career, Abanikanda has rushed for 2,177 yards ad 28 touchdowns on 390 carries, caught 38 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns and returned 19 kickoffs for 434 yards and a touchdown.
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.
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 earned the ACC Defensive Player of the Year honor this season, and he’s a finalist for the Outland Trophy.
It’s very likely that Abanikanda and Kancey earn more All-American honors as the offseason continues.