Carl Nassib And Austin Johnson Added To Bednarik Award Watch List

Make that three out of four starting defensive lineman honored as Bednarik Award candidates for Sean Spencer’s fearsome unit.

Defensive tackle Austin Johnson and defensive end Carl Nassib, the nation’s sack leader, have both been added to the Bednarik Award watch list, joining fellow defensive standout Anthony Zettel. Traditionally, Penn State and prominent defense have been synonymous with each other, validated by the fact that four Penn State defenders have been recognized with the prestigious accolade since its inception in 1995. LaVar Arrington won the award in 1999, Paul Posluszny was a back-to-back recipient in 2005 and 2006, and Dan Connor completed the Nittany Lion trifecta in capturing the award in 2007.

Nassib is enjoying a ridiculous breakout campaign, having already notched 10 sacks, 27 total tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, and an interception while providing constant pressure along the edge. These gaudy statistics were enough to garner national recognition, but if his surprising production continues, there’s a chance Nassib could reap a number of renowned defensive honors.

Playing in the shadow of Nassib, Johnson’s been enjoying a relatively successful season in his own right, recording 36 total tackles, three and a half sacks, seven and a half tackles for a loss, and the best damn big-guy fumble return since William “The Refrigerator” Perry played for the Chicago Bears.

Zettel, whose statistics aren’t as flashy as last season’s breakout campaign, is still serving as a consistent producer for the Lions up front, notching 23 total tackles, a half sack, six tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and recovery, and three pass deflections.

Award semifinalists will be announced on November 2, with three finalists announced on November 24. The Bednarik Award winner will be announced on December 10 in conjunction with the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held at the College Football Hall Of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia.

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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