Micah Parsons, Yetur Gross-Matos, KJ Hamler Named To Preseason Award Watch Lists
Penn State football defensive stars Micah Parsons and Yetur Gross-Matos and star wideout KJ Hamler found themselves on a preseason award watch list on Monday.
Parsons and Gross-Matos have been named to the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is given annually to the best defensive player in college football. Hamler was named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, a trophy given to the most outstanding player in the nation every year.
Both of Penn State’s Bednarik award watch list honorees are poised to lead a young, exciting defense for the Nittany Lions after breaking out as stars last season, and Hamler will likely the leader of a young, but talented wide receiver group in 2019.
Gross-Matos emerged as a star on Penn State’s defensive line by leading the team with eight sacks and 20 tackles-for-loss last year. He earned first team All-Big Ten honors from the conference’s media last year and has generated top 10 NFL Draft hype throughout the offseason. Gross-Matos’ rise to stardom will soften the blow of losing Shareef Miller, who was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Parsons was only named to the starting lineup once in his true freshman team, but he still managed to lead the Nittany Lions in tackles with 82. The former five-star recruit will get a chance to feature in the starting lineup consistently this season after the departure of outside linebacker Koa Farmer, who signed with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent this offseason. Parsons and senior Cam Brown seem poised to break out as one of the nation’s best outside linebacker duos.
Hamler led Penn State with 42 receptions and 754 yards through the air last season, and his five touchdown catches ranked second only to Pat Freiermuth among the 2018 Nittany Lions. Though he didn’t find the back of the end zone via a return, Hamler was a weapon on special teams as well with an average of more than 26 yards per kick return and 6.9 yards per punt.
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