A Comprehensive Guide to Penn Staters On Preseason Watch Lists
The final college football preseason watch list — the Walter Camp Award — was released on Friday, and it featured no Penn Staters. This means that seven football players have been named to nine watch lists, with only Zach Zwinak and John Urschel named on two.
Below is a list of every watch list a Penn Stater has been named to, with information regarding the award’s history (watch lists are listed by the day they were released, from least recent to most recent).
Zach Zwinak, Maxwell Award
Given annually to the best college football player in America by the Maxwell Football Club, a panel of sportscasters, sportswriters, and head coaches, the Maxwell Award is named after former Swarthmore player, coach, and sportswriter Robert W. Maxwell. Zwinak is one of ten Big Ten players on the watch list, along with one of twenty eight running backs.
The award has close ties to Penn State, as Penn State has had seven winners, tied with Notre Dame for the most all time. Larry Johnson was the last Nittany Lion to win the award in 2002, but Richie Lucas, Glenn Ressler, Mike Reid, John Cappelletti, Charles Fusina, and Kerry Collins have all brought home the award in the past. The reigning winner is former Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o.
Deion Barnes, Bednarik Award
Like the Maxwell Award, the Bednarik Award has deep ties to the Nittany Lions, as four former Penn Staters have won the award, more than any other school in history (LSU, the team with the second most winners, has two). LaVar Arrington won the award in 1999, Paul Posluszny won the award in 2005 and 2006, and Dan Connor won the award in 2007.
Eleven Big Ten players, including Barnes, are nominated, along with fifteen defensive ends. The award is also given out by the Maxwell Football Club, and is named after former UPenn linebacker/center and NFL Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik. Te’o won the award last year.
Kyle Carter, Mackey Award
No Nittany Lion has ever held the Mackey Award, which is named after former Syracuse TE, NFL Hall of Famer, and ex-head of the NFLPA, John Mackey. Eight Big Ten tight ends are on the list, and Carter is one of four sophomores. Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame won the award last season.
DaQuan Jones and John Urschel, Outland Trophy
The Outland Trophy is given out to the top interior lineman in America by the Football Writers Association of America. The only Penn Stater to win the award was Mike Reid in 1969. Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel won the award last season.
The award is named after John H. Outland, who had quite the interesting college football/baseball career from 1891-1899 (no, seriously). Outland, is one of the handful of players to be named an All-American at different positions: running back and tackle.
Deion Barnes, Nagurski Trophy
The Nagurski Trophy is given out to the top defensive football player in America by the FWAA, and no Nittany Lion has ever won this award.
The award is named after former Minnesota defensive tackle/fullback, Hall of Famer and two-time National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Champion Bronko Nagurski. Thirteen Big Ten players are on the watch list. Te’o won the award last year.
John Urschel, Rotary Lombardi Award
The “other” Lombardi Award is given out by the Rotary Club in Houston to the best lineman or linebacker in college football. Named after legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, the award has been won by one Nittany Lion in the past: Bruce Clark in 1978. Te’o won the award last year.
Orlando Pace of Ohio State won the award in 1996, and no offensive lineman has won it since. 44 offensive linemen are nominated, eighteen play guard and sixteen players are from the Big Ten.
Glenn Carson, Butkus Award
The Butkus Award, named after former Chicago Bears great Dick Butkus, is annually given out to the top linebacker in America at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels by the Butkus Foundation. Like many other awards on this list, Te’o won it last year, and he is the only person to win the award in both high school and in college.
Two Penn Staters have won the award, making the Nittany Lions one of seven schools to have multiple winners (the only school to have more than two winners is Oklahoma, which has four). Arrington and Posluszny won the award in 1999 and 2005, respectively. Eight Big Ten players are on the watch list and “Linebacker U” UCLA has three nominees, which is just adorable.
Allen Robinson, Biletnikoff Award
Ten Big Ten players are on this watch list, all of whom are vying for the title of the best wide receiver in America by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc. The award is named after Hall of Famer and former Florida State WR Fred Biletnikoff, and unlike every other award on this list, the man who won it last year returns: USC’s Marqise Lee.
Former Penn Stater Bobby Engram won the inaugural award in 1994, but no Nittany Lions have won it since.
Zach Zwinak, Doak Walker Award
The final Nittany Lion to be put on a preseason watch list is Zwinak, who was put on the Doak Walker Award Watch List, annually given out by Southern Methodist University, the alma mater of the award’s namesake. The only Nittany Lion to win the award was Larry Johnson in 2002. Montee Ball, formerly of Wisconsin, won the award last season.
Zwinak is one of seven Big Ten running backs on the watch list, which also includes some guy that used to play for Penn State, but transferred to USC last season, where he won fewer games than the Nittany Lions did and played in the exact same number of National Championship Games.