(WIVB) — Pittsburgh Panthers defensive tackle Calijah Kancey was a nightmare for opposing offensive lines this past season. If he is picked by the Bills, he will have a shot to reunite with some former teammates.
He is former teammates with both Dane Jackson and Damar Hamlin, spending a year with Jackson and two years with Hamlin.
“I think they’ve got a great thing going over there. They’ve got great guys as well, Damar Hamlin and Dane Jackson two great Pitt guys, two leaders, two positive people, I love them,” Kancey said of his former teammates.
Kancey was a collegiate star in his own right, too. This past season he led the Panther defense, leading the team with 14.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. He put up those numbers despite missing the last two games of the season with a shoulder injury. For his efforts, he got a first team All-America nod and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, helping Pitt to a 9-4 record and a win against UCLA in the Sun Bowl.
He does lack some size, standing at 6’1″ and weighing in at 281 pounds, but he makes up for it with his explosiveness. He said he models his game after Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. He turned heads by running a 4.67 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the fastest time for a defensive tackle at the combine in 20 years.
“Those guys just paved the way for smaller defensive tackles. They are showing why smaller defensive tackles can play at the next level a lot of quickness, a lot of speed a lot of technique, block shedding and aggressiveness,” Kancey said.
Kancey is projected to be picked towards the end of the first round, where the Bills will pick at No. 27. That being said, teaming up again with some former teammates might be in the cards.
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.
Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.