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Carl Nassib Named Big Ten Defensive Player Of The Year

The Big Ten Conference announced its postseason awards and defensive all-conference team Monday night, and despite Penn State’s middling success as a team this season, it was represented at the individual level by Carl Nassib. Nassib was named the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, and was selected as a first team all-conference defensive lineman. Despite winning the top defensive honor, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa edged Nassib as the conference’s top defensive lineman.

“You can’t control talent, and you can’t control size,” said Nassib, who began his career as a walk-on. “You can control how hard you work.”

Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers edged Penn State running back Saquon Barkley for the Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Anthony Zettel was named a third-team defender by both media and coaches, and fellow defensive tackle Austin John earned second-team honors by the media (third-team by coaches).

On Sunday night, released its postseason awards, and selected Nassib as both a first team member and the conference’s best defensive player, defensive lineman Austin Johnson as a first team defender, and Barkley as its freshman of the year.

Carl Nassib’s selection as the conference’s defensive player of the year is another exciting moment in what has been one of the most fun storylines of the season. The former walk-on was expected to be a nice complement to the already established Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel on the defensive line, but it soon became evident that Nassib was the player that opposing teams should have been planning for. Nassib led the nation in sacks, and had two full sacks more than the nation’s second-place finisher, even though he missed most of the final two games of the regular season. Nassib is also a finalist for four major national awards: the Lombardi, Nagurski, Bednarik, and Burlsworth Trophies.

The regular season ended this past Saturday, which means that it’s now bowl and award season. Major trophies will be awarded throughout December and January, and Penn State will find out where it will pay its bowl game on Sunday, Dec. 6.

The Big Ten conference will announce its all-offensive team and offensive players of the year Tuesday night.

About the Author

Ben Berkman

State College, PA


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