Three More Nittany Lions Named To Preseason Award Watch Lists

Penn State’s busy week of preseason accolades has continued, as three more Nittany Lions were tabbed for award watch lists on Friday.

Tight ends Brenton Strange and Theo Johnson joined the watch list for the 2022 Mackey Award, while center Juice Scruggs was added to the Rimington Trophy’s. The Mackey Award is annually distributed to the nation’s top tight end, and the Rimington Trophy recognizes college football’s top center.

Junior Brenton Strange and sophomore Theo Johnson are coming off a somewhat underwhelming season. The pair of tight ends only accumulated a combined 438 receiving yards and four touchdowns after Strange was named to the 2021 Mackey Award preseason watch list.

Once called “the best tight end group” head coach James Franklin had ever been around, Strange and Johnson have the necessary tools to bounce back. The Nittany Lions have never produced a Mackey Award honoree. Mike Gesicki was the closest in recent memory after he was named a finalist in 2017 and ultimately lost to Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews.

Redshirt senior Juice Scruggs fully burst onto the scene last season and started all 13 of Penn State’s contests. By the end of the year, Scruggs had earned an All-Big Ten honorable mention.

Able to play both center and guard, Scruggs’ versatility has been a bonus for the Nittany Lions’ inconsistent offensive line. As one of just two returning starters, Scruggs will not only be leaned on for veteran game performance but likely on the practice field too.

With a win, Scruggs would become Penn State’s second-ever recipient of the Rimington Trophy. AQ Shipley won the award in 2008.

Strange, Johnson, and Scruggs join a litany of Nittany Lions who have earned preseason award hype. Returning starting quarterback Sean Clifford was placed on watch lists for the Maxwell and O’Brien Awards. Sophomore running back Keyvone Lee was listed as a contender for the Walker Award. Additionally, the duo of Mitchell Tinsley and Parker Washington earned early buzz for the Biletnikoff Award.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

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