Pitt’s Pickett, Sparty’s Walker skipping Peach Bowl

Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett is skipping Pitt's Peach Bowl showdown vs. Sparty to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh senior quarterback Kenny Pickett will skip his final college game when the Panthers face Michigan St. in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30 in Atlanta. Pickett announced his decision last night.

He’ll begin training for the 2022 NFL Draft, where ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has him rated as the No. 1 QB and the No. 20 overall player in his latest Big Board released on Dec. 7.

With Pickett enjoying a breakout campaign, Pitt went 11-2 and won the ACC with a win over Wake Forest. Many books had the Panthers listed with odds in the 60/1 neighborhood to win the ACC back in August.

Pickett posted career-best numbers in completions (334), attempts (497), completion percentage (67.2%), passing yards (4,319) and TD passes (42). He threw only seven interceptions.

Pickett surpassed Alex Van Pelt (#1) and Dan Marino (#2) to become Pitt’s all-time leader in career passing yards (12,303). His career ends with an 81/32 TD-INT ratio and 20 rushing TDs. He had 233 rushing yards and five TDs this season, bringing his career total to 801 rushing yards.

Like Pickett, Michigan St. star RB Kenneth Walker also announced Thursday that he won’t play in the Peach Bowl, either.

Walker, a transfer from Wake Forest, exploded in his lone year with the Spartans. He finished second in the nation in rushing yards with 1,636, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Walker was eighth in the country in rushing TDs with 18. He also had 13 receptions for 89 yards and one TD.

Kiper has Walker ranked as the second-best RB in the 2022 NFL Draft behind only Iowa St.’s Breece Hall.

As of early Friday morning, most books had the Spartans installed as 1.5-point favorites with a total of 57.

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