Anthony Zettel And Jordan Lucas Named To Preseason Award Watch Lists
As the college football season draws near, more Penn State names have been thrown into the preseason award watch list hat. Prominent Nittany Lions like Christian Hackenberg, DaeSean Hamilton, Anthony Zettel, Kyle Carter, and Angelo Mangiro were all named to preseason watch lists for their respective positions. This past week has been especially packed with watch list news, as Zettel and Jordan Lucas have both been announced to respective preseason watch lists.
Earlier in July, senior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel had already been named to one list, but can now extend that count to four as the defensive machine is expected to have a monster year. In addition to the Bednarik Award, Zettel was also placed on watch lists for the Nagurski Trophy for the National Defensive Player of the Year, Outland Trophy for the Best Lineman in College Football, and the Rotary Lombardi Award for the Best College Football Lineman/Linebacker — all feasible awards for the star defensive tackle.
Along with his successful junior campaign, the West Branch, Michigan native decided to remain in Happy Valley for another year to help the Nittany Lions springboard off a bowl win and take the next step. Zettel made headlines over the offseason by displaying his distaste in lumber, uprooting a helpless — yet sturdy — tree by way of a steamrolling tackle. If you didn’t see it, here’s what you missed:
Along with being a force in the forest, Zettel is also a force on the football field. Last year Zettel was named First Team All-Big Ten and was one of the many reasons for Penn State’s dominating defense. Zettel is a good bet to steal the show on awards night, as he is arguably the most dominating player on the defensive side of the ball — save for Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. As Zettel matches up against a good crop of talent, he should put up some stellar numbers this season to put him in the running.
Another defensive presence, one poised to step into a leadership role with the defensive backs, joins Zettel as a name on the Nagurski Trophy preseason watch list. Senior safety Jordan Lucas was a productive player in Penn State’s defensive secondary in 2014, ending the year with 58 total tackles (37 solo), four tackles for loss, two sacks, and nine pass deflections. Lucas will look to cap off an acclaimed Penn State career at a new position.
Earlier in the Summer, Lucas was moved from his native position at cornerback, to the ever-important safety position. The position had been left vacant by Adrian Amos’s early departure, and the team turned to Lucas with the hopes that the seasoned veteran can ensure that the secondary doesn’t skip a beat as it attempts to replace such a talented player. Lucas will look to showcase his versatility — just as Amos did throughout his career — as he tries to bolster his rising draft stock with a stellar 2015 performance.
A number of Nittany Lions have expectations running high for their respective 2015 campaigns, and although we still have two months before the season arrives, it’s nice to see a handful of Penn Staters receive some acknowledgement prior to the regular season. Now it’s time to see if they’ll back up the hype.