Post Season Award Semifinalists

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Nebraska safety Nathan Gerry has been recognized for his outstanding play in 2016, being named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award. 

The 6-2, 220-pound Gerry is one of 18 players named to the semifinal list on Monday. The Bednarik Award is presented annually to the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year.

Gerry is one of three Big Ten players on the list, joining Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Iowa cornerback Desmond King. Gerry is one of five defensive backs on the watch list and joins Washington’s Bubba Baker as the only safeties on the watch list. 

The Sioux Falls, S.D., native is having an outstanding senior year, highlighted by a team-leading four interceptions. Gerry picked off two passes in the fourth quarter at Wisconsin, helping the Huskers rally to force overtime. Gerry has 13 career interceptions, leaving him one shy of the Nebraska career record. 

Gerry also ranks second on the team with 50 tackles, including 31 solo stops and seven tackles for loss. His 19 career tackles for loss are a Nebraska record for defensive backs. Overall, Gerry has 249 career tackles, the second-most for a Husker defensive back.

Three finalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced on Nov. 22

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King Named Semifinalist for Bednarik Award


IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior cornerback Desmond King has been named a semifinalist for the 2016 Bednarik Award, presented annually to college football’s most outstanding defensive player of the year. The announcement was made Monday by Maxwell Football Club President, Ron Jaworski.


The Bednarik award, in conjunction with the NCFAA, will announce three finalists on Nov. 21. Winners of the prestigious award will be unveiled during the Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 8, which will be broadcast live on ESPN.


This year’s 18 semifinalists represent four different conferences, led by nine student-athletes from the SEC and three each from the Pac-12, Big Ten, and ACC.


King (5-foot-11, 200-pounds) is also a semifinalist for the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy.  King was the recipient of the Thorpe Award in 2015 following his junior season.


King has started all eight games at cornerback in 2016 and has 46 career starts.  This season he has recorded 26 solo tackles and 15 assists, leads Iowa with six pass break-ups, and had a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown in a win at Purdue.


King, a native of Detroit, also leads Iowa’s special teams through eight games.  He is averaging 32 yards per kickoff return to rank sixth in the nation.  He is also averaging 9.2 yards on punt returns.  King had a career-best 77-yard kickoff return last weekend against Wisconsin.


In 2015, King tied the Iowa single-season record and ranked second in the country with eight interceptions, while recording 72 tackles and a team-high 13 pass breakups.  He averaged 14.2 yards on 17 punt returns and 24.4 yards on 29 kickoff returns.


King was named a unanimous consensus All-American in 2015, was the recipient of the Jack Tatum Award and was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Conference Defensive Back of the Year.  King was one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, and was Iowa’s Most Valuable Player on defense.


King and the Hawkeyes travel to University Park, Pennsylvania, this Saturday, looking for their sixth win of the season against 20th-ranked Penn State.  Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT).  The game will be televised live on BTN.

Bell Tabbed Bednarik Award Player of the Week

Senior linebacker claims third honor after standout performance in upset of No. 2 Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; October 27, 2016 – Senior linebacker Brandon Bell (Mays Landing, N.J.) has been collecting accolades this week after a stellar performance in Penn State’s upset win over #2 Ohio State. On Thursday, Bell was named the Bednarik Award Player of the Week, given to the National Defensive Player of the Week, by the Maxwell Football Club. Previously this week, Bell was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and College Sports Madness National Defensive Player of the Week.


Bell returned to the field after missing the last 4.5 games due to injury and posted a career-high 18 tackles. His previous high was 13 against Ohio State in 2014. Bell made three stops on the crucial final drive for Ohio State, which ended in back-to-back sacks.


The Nittany Lion defense had a season-high 11.0 tackles for loss, the most since Maryland (11.0) last season. The 11.0 tackles for loss are the most yielded by the Buckeyes since giving up 11.0 TFL vs. Alabama on Jan. 1, 2015. Penn State held Ohio State scoreless in the first quarter, the first team to shut out the Buckeyes in any quarter this season. The Nittany Lions held the Buckeyes scoreless in two quarters (first & fourth) for the first time since Michigan State last season, which was Ohio State’s last loss.


In addition to Bell’s awards, the Nittany Lions were selected as the Athlon Team of the Week and FWAA Team of the Week. Individually, James Franklin was named Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week, Marcus Allen and Grant Haley shared Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week, Haley garnered Big Ten Rose Bowl Game Player of the Week honors, defensive coordinator Brent Pry was named Athlon Coordinator of the Week (defensive) and Charles Huff (special teams coordinator) and Sean Spencer (defensive line) were named Coaching Search Coaches of the Week for their respective positions.


Penn State is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play after the victory over the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions are back in action at Purdue Saturday at noon on ABC (with an ESPN2 mirror).


Single game for the 2016 campaign are on sale now. To purchase tickets or for more information, fans can visit, call 1-800-NITTANY or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m.

2016 Maxwell Award Semifinalists:
First Name Last Name Position School Year
Jonathan Allen DE Alabama Senior
Jalen Hurts QB Alabama Freshman
Deshaun Watson QB Clemson Junior
Dalvin Cook RB Florida State Junior
Lamar Jackson QB Louisville Sophomore
Leonard Fournette RB LSU Junior
Jabrill Peppers ATH Michigan Sophomore
Mitch Trubisky QB North Carolina Junior
J.T. Barrett QB Ohio State Junior
Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma Senior
Dede Westbrook WR Oklahoma Senior
Saquon Barkley RB Penn State Sophomore
Donnel Pumphrey RB San Diego State Senior
Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford Junior
Trevor Knight QB Texas A&M Senior
Patrick Mahomes II QB Texas Tech Junior
Jake Browning QB Washington Sophomore
Luke Falk QB Washington State Junior
Jonathan Allen DE Alabama Senior
Reuben Foster LB Alabama Senior
Carl Lawson DE Auburn Junior
Cordrea Tankersley CB Clemson Senior
Christian Wilkins DE Clemson Sophomore
Jarrad Davis LB Florida Senior
Desmond King CB Iowa Senior
Arden Key DE LSU Sophomore
Tre’Davious White CB LSU Senior
Jabrill Peppers LB Michigan Sophomore
Nate Gerry S Nebraska Senior
Ejuan Price DE Pittsburgh Senior
Solomon Thomas DE Stanford Junior
Derek Barnett DE Tennessee Junior
Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M Junior
Hunter Dimick DE Utah Senior
Zach Cunningham LB Vanderbilt Junior
Budda Baker S Washington Junior

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J.T. Barrett Named Maxwell Award Semifinalist

Three weekly awards after leading Ohio State to OT win at No. 8 Wisconsin


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State junior quarterback and captain J.T. Barrett was named today as a semifinalist for the 80th Maxwell Award as college football’s player of the year. Barrett is one of 18 chosen as a semifinalist by the Maxwell Football Club out of Philadelphia.


Barrett, who was the Maxwell Award’s national player of the week after his 318-yard, three-touchdown effort in the win at No. 8 Wisconsin three weeks ago, is averaging 275.8 yards of total offense per game to rank second in the Big Ten Conference. He has 23 touchdowns responsible for heading into this week’s primetime game against No. 9 Nebraska and needs just six more to top Drew Brees for the most TDs responsible for in Big Ten history. Barrett has 90. Brees had 95 while playing for Purdue.


Semifinalist voting for both of the collegiate awards presented by the Maxwell Football Club will begin on Tuesday November 1st and will close on November 21st. Three finalists for each award will be announced on November 22, 2016 and a second round of voting will take place at that time. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media.

Barkley Named Maxwell Award Semifinalist

Sophomore running back among 18 candidates for National Player of the Year

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; October 31, 2016 – Sophomore running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) is among the 18 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, given by the Maxwell Football Club to the National Player of the Year. Penn State is tied for the national lead among all colleges and universities with its seven Maxwell Award winners.


The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell’s contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official.


Barkley leads the Big Ten and is 20th nationally in rushing yards per game, averaging 111.0 yards per outing. He is also tops in the conference and 16th in FBS in total touchdowns with 11. Barkley is a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week selection, earning the honor after the Maryland and Purdue games. He was also selected as the CBS Sports National Player of the Week following Saturday’s dominating performance in West Lafayette.


The Coplay, Pennsylvania native has produced a pair of 200-yard performances in his last three games, including a career-high 207 markers at Purdue Saturday. Barkley is the first Penn Stater with multiple 200-yard rushing games since Larry Johnson had four in 2002. Barkley had six rushing touchdowns in his first three games of the season, which are the most by a Penn State player since Evan Royster had six in 2008. With 11 scores on the season, Barkley is the first Nittany Lion since Zach Zwinak (12, 2013) to score 10 or more touchdowns in a season.


Barkley ranks 19th on Penn State’s career rushing list with 1,964 yards and sits No. 21 on the career rushing touchdowns chart (17). He set a sophomore single game record for all-purpose yards with 277 yards (207 rushing, 70 receiving) against Purdue. The mark is also 14th in program history. Barkley ranks No. 14 with eight career 100-yard games (five in 2015, three in 2016), including two 200-yard efforts. He has 60 rushes of 10 or more yards in his career (34 in 2015, 26 in 2016).


Semifinalist voting for both of the collegiate awards presented by the Maxwell Football Club will begin on Tuesday November 1 and will close on November 21. Three finalists for each award will be announced on November 22, 2016 and a second round of voting will take place at that time. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media.


Penn State is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in Big Ten play after the victory over the Boilermakers. The Nittany Lions are back in action at Beaver Stadium Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network. The game will also air on the Penn State Sports Network and (6 p.m. airtime).

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Durbin Named Lou Groza Semifinalist

Senior kicker leads the Big Ten with 9.4 points per game


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State senior kicker Tyler Durbin has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2016 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl.


Durbin, a civil engineering major, has been enjoying a stellar season for the Buckeyes in only his second year of competitive football. He walked on to the team in 2015 after playing two seasons of soccer at James Madison University. This season as the full-time kicker, Durbin ranks first in the Big Ten in overall and kick scoring at 9.4 points per game. He also is fourth in the conference with 1.4 made field goals per game and second with his .917 field goal percentage.


A native of Fairfax, Va., Durbin is 11-of-12 on field goals this season. He converted on a career-high three in the win at No. 8 Wisconsin, including a 31-yarder with under 4 minutes remaining to send the game into overtime. He converted on two of three at Penn State from 33 and 30 yards and also connected on multiple FG’s in the win over Tulsa. In the season opening win over Bowling Green, he set a school record when he connected on all 11 extra point attempts, earning Ohio State special teams player of the game honors.

Durbin also handles kickoffs for the Buckeyes, recording 25 touchbacks on 62 attempts.

Mike Nugent won the award for Ohio State in 2004

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Davis Named Groza Award Semifinalist

Junior kicker among 20 candidates for the top collegiate place-kicker


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; November 3, 2016 – Junior kicker Tyler Davis (St. Charles, Ill.) is among the 20 semifinalists for the 2016 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl. Sam Ficken was Penn State’s last Groza semifinalist in 2014.


Davis, Minnesota’s Emmit Carpenter and Ohio State’s Tyler Durbin are the Big Ten representatives on the semifinal list.


Davis is 13-for-14 on the season in field goals and 30-for-30 in extra points. He owns the school record for consecutive field goals made with 18, breaking Sam Ficken’s mark of 15 straight makes between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Davis saw his consecutive field goals made steak snapped on a first quarter blocked kick vs. Ohio State. The 18-straight made field goals were tied for the longest streak in the Big Ten since Brad Craddock (UMD) converted 24 straight in from 2013-14 and are tied for the fourth-longest streak in Big Ten history.


The native of St. Charles, Illinois, was named one of three Lou Groza Award Stars of the Week on Oct. 3, 2016, following his effort vs. Minnesota, which included a game-tying field goal in the final seconds of regulation. He is tied for No. 1 in the B1G and No. 17 in the NCAA in field goals per game (1.63 fgpg) and is second in the conference and No. 5 nationally with a .929 field goal percentage. Davis ranks second in the Big Ten and 38th in FBS in scoring (8.6 ppg).


A former Division I soccer player at Bradley University, Davis was a walk-on for the Nittany Lions in 2014. He is off to the best kicking start in Penn State history having made 21 of his first 22 field goal attempts and all 41 of his extra point efforts in two seasons. The junior was 8-for-8 in field goals and 11-for-11 in extra points last year.


Semifinalists will be presented to a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists and current NFL kickers to select the three finalists. These finalists will be announced on November 22 and honored at the 25th annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on December 5 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The winner will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, December 8.


The Award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland setting numerous franchise records, including most games played, most points scored, and an amazing 107 consecutive games in which he scored a point. He was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.


For more information on the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award and to see the “Stars of the Week” throughout the season, please go to For even more updates on the best kicking performances throughout the season, follow @LouGrozaAward on Twitter.


Earlier this week, sophomore running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) was named as one of the 18 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, given by the Maxwell Football Club to the National Player of the Year.


Penn State is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in Big Ten play after the victory over the Boilermakers. The Nittany Lions are back in action at Beaver Stadium Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network. The game will also air on the Penn State Sports Network and (6 p.m. airtime).

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Bain Earns Second Academic All-District Honor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Fighting Illini senior defensive lineman Rob Bain was voted to the Academic All-District 5 first team for the second consecutive year, the College Sports Information Directors of America announced Thursday.

Bain graduated from the University of Illinois with a 3.63 GPA as a communication major and currently has a 4.00 GPA in graduate school. The Bolingbrook, Illinois, native has 18 tackles, 2.0 TFLs, one sack, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.

Last season, Bain ranked second in the nation in blocked kicks with three and also had 36 tackles, 6.0 TFLs, 2.0 sacks and one PBU while playing in all 12 games on the defensive line.

Bain is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

With his first-team selection, Bain becomes eligible for Academic All-America voting. He will look to become the Illini’s 38th Academic All-American and first since center Ryan McDonald in 2007.

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Three Nittany Lions Selected CoSIDA Academic All-District

Yazujian collected third-straight All-District nod; Haley and Smith claim first honors


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; November 3, 2016 – A trio of Nittany Lions – Tyler Yazujian (Royersford, Pa.), Grant Haley (Atlanta, Ga.) and Brandon Smith (Winfield, Pa.) – were selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District™ team for their performance in the classroom and on the field. All three student-athletes are now eligible for consideration for the Academic All-America® Team.


It is the third consecutive appearance on the team for Yazujian, who was a second-team Academic All-American a year ago.


Yazujian has a 3.87 grade point average in IST – security and risk analysis. In addition to his CoSIDA Academic All-American and All-District accolades, Yazujian is a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and two-time Academic All-Big Ten choice. He is a seven-time Dean’s List selection and has two perfect 4.0 GPA semesters. He has handled all of the long snapping duties each of the last three seasons. With his reliable snapping, kicker Tyler Davis is off to the best kicking start in program history, hitting 21-of-22 career field goal attempts and all 41 extra point tries. Davis broke the school record earlier this season with 18 consecutive field goal attempts made.


Haley owns a 3.39 grade point average in advertising and public relations. He was an Academic All-Big Ten choice a year ago. Haley has 15 tackles on the season. He also returned the field attempt that was blocked by Marcus Allen for a touchdown and the game-winning score against No. 2 Ohio State. Haley was named Big Ten Co-Special Teams Player of the Week with Allen after the OSU game. Haley was also the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 24.


Smith carries a 3.79 grade point average in kinesiology and wants to become a pediatric oncologist. A former walk-on, Smith started the season as the third-string Mike linebacker but was thrust into starting in the third game of the season due to a series of injuries to the three opening day starting linebackers. Smith has shined in his expanded role, ranking fifth on the team with 39 tackles and leading the squad with two interceptions. He also has a pair of pass breakups and 3.0 tackles for loss. Smith was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after posting 14 tackles in a win over Maryland. His interception and 22-yard return on the first defensive possession of the second half at Purdue sparked a 45-7 second-half surge by the Nittany Lions. Smith helps with his wife’s non-profit organization, Honduran Soles, which provides shoes to kids that need them in various countries. He and his wife traveled to Honduras during spring break in 2015 helped build a soccer field.


Carr, Doles, Jackson Earn Academic All-District Honors

EVANSTON, Ill. — Graduate student wide receiver Austin Carr, sophomore offensive guard Tommy Doles and junior running back Justin Jackson have been named to the 2016 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 5 team, the organization announced Thursday.

CoSIDA’s District 5 is composed of Division I football programs across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Student-athletes who are significant on-field contributors for their teams and who maintain a career grade point average of at least 3.3 are eligible for nomination and placed on a ballot voted upon by CoSIDA members

First-team Academic All-District™ honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.

Carr earned a degree in philosophy with a 3.53 grade point average and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the Kellogg School of Business. He leads the Big Ten in receptions (58), receiving yards (878) and touchdowns (9) and earlier this week was named a nominee for the 2016 Burlsworth Trophy, awarded to the nation’s most outstanding player that started their collegiate career as a walk-on.

Jackson has earned a 3.31 GPA as an economics major while working his way up the charts of the Northwestern record book. He is second in the Big Ten this season with 878 rushing yards, leaving him just 132 shy of becoming the first player in program history to gain 1,000 yards in three-straight seasons.

Doles boasts a 3.72 GPA as a political sciences major and has started all eight games at left guard for the Wildcats this season. Doles has been key in the protection of quarterback Clayton Thorson, who ranks third in the Big Ten in passing yards and touchdowns. A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Doles is active in the community as a leader of Uplifting Athletes ‘Lift for Life’ program and an ASG senator representing student athletes.


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