By: John P. Wise/KDKA
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Hours after he received an invitation to attend Saturday’s Heisman Trophy presentation as a finalist for college football’s top honor, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett is already adding to his trophy case.READ MORE: As Winter Storm System Moves In, Pittsburghers Pack Grocery Stores For Last-Minute Items
Pickett was named the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
Pickett is the first Pitt player to win the award, which since 1987 has gone to college football’s top upperclassman quarterback who is scheduled to graduate with his class.
The trophy presentation will take place at an awards dinner Friday in Baltimore.
Born in Pittsburgh, Unitas is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Unitas played for the Baltimore Colts from 1956-1972, then finished his career with the San Diego Chargers in 1973.READ MORE: 1 Shot In Downtown Pittsburgh
“To receive an award named after the legendary Johnny Unitas is just an incredible honor,” Pickett said in a statement. “I know the high standards he set, both as a quarterback and as a leader … As always, I accept this award on behalf of my teammates and coaches who made this all possible.”
Unitas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979 and died in 2002.
“There were many who were worthy of this consideration, but there was only one who stood above the rest,” Johnny Unitas Jr. said in a video announcing Pickett as the winner. “Throughout this year, (Pickett has) demonstrated the values for which this award stands both on and off the field, attributes that my dad, Johnny Unitas, would have admired greatly.”
Pickett has thrown for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns for the 11-2 Panthers this season, and led a 45-21 defeat of Wake Forest in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday. He’ll play the final game of his record-setting Pitt career in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against Michigan State on Dec. 30.
Most NFL Draft experts project Pickett to be a first-round pick next spring.MORE NEWS: Seven Springs Opens Faster, High-Capacity Chairlift
Monday, Pickett was named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, along with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Michigan defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson.