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Penn State Football’s Joey Porter Jr., Sean Clifford Make Award Semifinalist Lists

Cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and quarterback Sean Clifford were both announced as semifinalists for season awards Tuesday morning. Porter was tabbed for the Bednarik Award’s list, while Clifford was for the Wuerffel Trophy’s.

The Bednarik Award annually recognizes college football’s best defensive player. The Wuerffel Trophy honors “the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with leadership achievement on and off the field,” according to the award’s website.

Porter was one of 20 semifinalists that landed on the Bednarik Award’s list. The Big Ten’s seven representatives marked the most of any conference.

If Porter were named the Bednarik Award winner, it would be the fourth time a Nittany Lion accomplished the feat. From 2005 to 2007, Penn State earned three consecutive Bednarik Awards, with the first two going to linebacker Paul Posluszny and the latter awarded to linebacker Dan Connor.

Porter was also named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award in October.

Through eight games, Porter has tallied 25 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and a fumble recovery. Porter also boasts the fourth-best completion percentage allowed among Power Five teams, allowing just 53.6% completion against him.

Against Purdue, Porter totaled six pass breakups, tying a Big Ten record and setting a Penn State record as well.

Clifford was named to the Wuerffel Trophy’s semifinalist group among 11 other players. The Big Ten claims three of the 12 semifinalists, with Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan and Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell joining Clifford.

With a win, sixth-year senior Clifford would become Penn State’s first recipient of the award.

On the year, Clifford has recorded 1,816 yards, 16 touchdowns, and six interceptions, while completing 62.8% of his passes. As the starting quarterback, Clifford has led the Nittany Lions to a 6-2 record and a No. 16 ranking in the AP Poll.

Off the field, Clifford has been influential in the expansion of player autonomy in college football. In January, Clifford founded Limitless (a student-athlete-led NIL company) and was rumored to have held conversations about developing an independent players association, holding meetings with stakeholders such as players, coaches, and Big Ten leadership.

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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.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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