Just hours after Michigan State Spartans star running back Kenneth Walker III announced he would forgo the Peach Bowl to focus on preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Panthers Heisman finalist starting quarterback Kenny Pickett followed suit.
Pickett played for five-years at Pittsburgh. He finishes his collegiate career with every major passing record — yards, touchdowns, and completions, both all-time and in a single-season — in Pitt history. The native of Oakhurst, New Jersey tallied 4,319 passing yards and 42 touchdowns in 2021. He earned ACC player of the year honors and in the conference championship win over Wake Forest on Dec. 4 passed Dan Marino’s all-time touchdowns record.
Pickett won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and was invited to New York City as a Heisman finalist this season. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pickett changed his plans about playing in the Peach Bowl after former offensive coordinator Mark Whipple abruptly resigned and left for Nebraska.
In his absence, it is likely Nick Patti will start at quarterback for the Panthers in the Peach Bowl against Michigan State. As the backup to Pickett, Patti has completed 12-of-14 passes for 140 yards this season. He is in his third-year at Pittsburgh and completed seven of his 10 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in Pitt’s spring game. Overall he is 40-of-62 for 458 yards with one interception and three touchdowns.