The Peach Bowl Will Be Without Kenny Pickett.

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No. 12 Pittsburgh has been without outstanding quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender Kenny Pickett for the Peach Bowl against No. 10 Michigan State, as he announced on Thursday that he will not play in the game in order to prepare for the NFL Draft in 2022. Pickett’s decision came after Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III made a similar decision earlier in the day, ensuring either team will still have their offense star for something like the Dec. 30 game in Atlanta.

Thank you for everything you’ve given me over the last five years, University of Pittsburgh,” Pickett wrote on social media. Thank you, Coach Narduzzi, for standing at my side through my entire professional career & teaching me important life lessons along the road. Standing on stage alongside you, the team, and our ACC Championship trophy was one of the highlights of my football career.

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Pickett was Pitt’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, completion percentage, total offense yards, and passing touchdowns. He was a fifth-year senior this season. In the CBS Sports NFL Draft Prospect Rankings for 2022, he is ranked as the No. 15 overall player and No. 2 quarterback.

Thank you so much, Kenny Pickett. Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said in a social media post. It’s been a privilege to serve as your head coach because you gave all you had to the University of Pittsburgh from the time you arrived as a freshman five years ago until you walked off the field in Charlotte as an ACC champion. Your tenacity and forethought established a new bar for our entire programme. Thank you for all of your contributions to Panther Nation, both on and off the field.

The Panthers may start redshirt junior Nick Patti in place of Pickett, who is out of the Peach Bowl. As Pickett’s backup this season, Patti completed 12 of 14 passes for 140 yards.

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