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Pitt Football

Kancey, Abanikanda, Hallett Named to FWAA All-American Teams

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Only TCU has more outright All-Americans when it comes to the Football Writers Association of America’s 2022 All-American honors.

Pitt, along with the likes of Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame and USC, all have three All-Americans across the first and second teams.

Calijah Kancey, fresh off being named a first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation, is Pitt’s first-team selection at defensive tackle. Israel Abanikanda at running back and Erick Hallett at defensive back earned second-team honors.

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, was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski and Outland Trophies and College Football Network’s Defensive Tackle of the Year.

Hallett broke out this season for Pitt, recording a team-high six turnovers. His three interceptions and three fumble recoveries (which lead the ACC) point to his nose for the football.

With 47 tackles (34 solo), three tackles for loss, three interceptions, nine pass breakups and two forced fumbles and three recoveries, Hallett’s impact as a leader of the defense — vocally and with his play — was paramount.

In his Pitt career, Hallett has recorded 158 tackles (109 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 22 pass breakups, four forced fumbles and five recoveries.

Kancey and Abanikanda have not announced if they will leave Pitt early for the NFL, although it is expected at this point, and Hallett has not announced if he will utlilize his COVID season.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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