Sticking with the common theme of postseason awards that is prevalent this time of year, the AP All-American list was revealed yesterday, and for the first time since the 2004 season, no Penn State players made the first, second, or third team.
If you spend an insane amount of time going through each individual player’s numbers, you will find most of them to be rather impressive. There are, however, two statistical examples that Penn State fans might find interesting:
Player A: 91 tackles 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions
Player B: 95 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 3 interceptions
Player C: 109 tackles, 8.5. tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions
Player A is Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown, who was selected as a second-team All-American. Player B is Michael Mauti, who aside from the tackles for loss category, posted better numbers than Brown while essentially playing in two less games following a knee injury against Indiana. Player C is Gerald Hodges who has equal or better numbers than Brown in all major statistical categories.
This next comparison gets a bit more intriguing.
Player A: 55 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack
Player B: 64 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recover
Player A is Ohio State defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, a second-team All-American. Player B is Jordan Hill. Hill and Hankins faced relatively similar opponents, and the Penn State defensive tackle saved his best game for last, holding first-team All-American running back Montee Ball to 111 yards and 4.1 yards per carry after Ball ran for 191 yards on 4.9 yards per carry a week before against the Buckeyes.
Hill’s numbers against Hankins’ speak for themselves, and it is tough to imagine a healthy Mauti not being one of the top nine linebackers in the country, but before anyone shouts conspiracy at the top of their lungs, recognize that voters take several factors into consideration and deserving recipients are sometimes overlooked. Quarterback Braxton Miller, who led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season, finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was passed over for Alabama signal-caller A.J. McCarron on the third-team despite accounting for one more touchdown throughout the season while playing one less game.
If voters failed to do their homework on a few potentially deserving Nittany Lions or worse, knew of their production and held the Jerry Sandusky scandal against them when it came to casting a ballot, then shame on them and may they never be allowed to vote again, but more outlandish examples would be needed to make that case.
The lack of recognition here for Mauti, Hill, and Hodges will leave some disappointed, but years from now when one gazes upward toward the “2012” sign displayed on the Beaver Stadium facade, no one will remember that they were left off some awards list.