Kenny Pickett Shares Heartfelt Message, Peach Bowl Decision

By Jason Hall

December 17, 2021

87th Heisman Trophy Media Availability
Photo: Getty Images

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett will forego the upcoming Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in order to focus on preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft, the Heisman Trophy finalist announced in a heartfelt post shared on his social media accounts.

"To the University of Pittsburgh, thank you for all that you have given me over the past five years," Pickett wrote in a social media post. "Coach [Pat] Narduzzi, thank you for being by my side throughout my entire career and teaching me life lessons every step of the way. One of the best moments of my football career was standing on stage with you, the team, and our ACC Championship trophy."

"With love and gratitude, I have decided to forego the Peach Bowl and begin training for the 2022 NFL Draft," Pickett added. "Thank you, Pittsburgh!"

Pickett left a lasting impact not only on Pitt and the ACC, but also college football as a whole, after a controversial touchdown run in the ACC Championship Game led to a rule change on what is considered a "fake slide" last week.

Pickett fooled defenders on the fake slide to score on a third-down, 58-yard touchdown during the Panthers' first possession of a 45-21 victory against Wake Forest, their first conference title since joining the ACC in 2013.

The ACC player of the Year said the fake slide was unintentional while addressing reporters after the game.

Pickett's redshirt senior season also included winning the ACC Offensive Player of the Year award and earning First team All-ACC honors.

"Thank you, Kenny Pickett," Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi wrote in a social media post following his quarterback's announcement.. "It has been an honor to be your head coach, from the time you arrived as a freshman five years ago, right up until the moment you walked off the field in Charlotte as an ACC champion, you gave the University of Pittsburgh absolutely everything you had. Your leadership and toughness raised the bar for our entire program. On behalf of Panther Nation, thank you for all you have given us, on and off the field."

Pitt will face Michigan State in the 2021 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on December 30.

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