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WATCH: Former Pitt Star Calijah Kancey Notches First Career Sack



Pitt defensive lineman Calijah Kancey.

Calijah Kancey wasn’t able to put together much of a preseason as he nursed an injury, but now that he’s back to full strength, it hasn’t taken long for the first round selection to make an impact.

Kancey, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 19th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, notched his first career sack against the Detroit Lions Sunday.

He worked inside in the fourth quarter, pushed Lions guard Kayode Awosika back and wrapped up Jared Goff in the backfield before he could escape. It wasn’t at all unfamiliar from his days rushing opposing quarterbacks as a Pitt Panther.


Kancey recorded three tackles (one solo), a tackle for loss, a sack and two pass breakups in just his second career game.

He played in just 11 snaps in his NFL debut against the Minnesota Vikings last week, not stuffing the stat sheet but recording two pressures, a hurry and a quarterback hit.

Kancey put together one of the best Pitt careers in recent memory, earning his spot in the NFL after a standout career in Pittsburgh — arriving as a little-recruited three-star out of the Miami area.

Kancey was the 2022 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time All-American (just the 13th player in program history to earn unanimous honors in 2022) during his time at Pitt.

He racked up 31 tackles (17 solo), 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 2022, in just 11 games, as he cemented himself as the leading interior pass rusher in college football — the No. 1 trait that attracted NFL teams in his draft cycle. His speed and quickness at 281 pounds are almost unheard of.

In his Pitt career, through just three seasons, Kancey recorded 91 tackles (52 solo), 34.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, three pass breakups and a forced fumble. It was a career that started fast and only got faster.

And now Kancey is off to a very fast start in his NFL career, too.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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