BALTIMORE — Kenny Pickett has won the 2021 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm AwardÒ, presented annually by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation Inc. and A.O. Smith Corp. to the nation’s top quarterback who best exemplifies character, scholastic and athletic achievement. Pickett is the first Pittsburgh Panther to win this prestigious award.
Through 13 games, Pickett has completed 67.2% of his passes (334 of 497) for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, including his five rushing scores. The New Jersey native has totaled 47 touchdowns this season. His passing yardage, passing touchdowns, total TDs, and completions are all Pitt records. He also set an ACC season record for touchdown passes, eclipsing the prior mark of 41. Pickett is piloting the country's No .3 unit in scoring (43.0 points per game) and No. 5 in total offense (502.9 yards per game). The redshirt senior stands as the Panthers' all-time leader in passing yards (12,303), pass completions (1,045), total offense (13,112), touchdown responsibility (102), and passing touchdowns (81). Pickett has 20 career rushing touchdowns, a new standard for a Pitt quarterback. His 4,319 passing yards, 42 passing touchdowns, 47 total TDs, and 334 completions are Pitt single-season marks. Finally, he surpasses the school record for career touchdown passes since Dan Marino, who threw 79 during his iconic Pitt career from 1979-1982, Pickett has 81 for his career.
Pickett’s achievements will be honored on Friday, Dec. 10, in Baltimore. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation Inc. and A.O. Smith are happy to be hosting this year’s event at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. Those who are not attending the event can tune in to the ceremony live stream via the A.O. Smith YouTube page. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. EST with the award presentation beginning around 8 p.m. EST. The first-ever winner of the Golden Arm Award, Don McPherson, will deliver the keynote remarks at the event. McPherson was an All-America quarterback at Syracuse University and is a veteran of the NFL and Canadian Football League. As captain of the undefeated 1987 Syracuse football team, McPherson set 22 school records, led the nation in passing and won more than 18 national “player of the year” awards, including the inaugural Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best player, and was second in the Heisman voting.
The namesake of the Golden Arm Award has a storied history. Johnny Unitas was an 18-year veteran of the NFL, who played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville before joining the Baltimore Colts in 1958. His career passing figures include 2,830 pass completions for 40,239 yards, 290 touchdowns, and throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games. For more information, visit www.hotwater.com.