In news that is exciting, but should be shocking for exactly no one, DT Austin Johnson and DE Carl Nassib have both been named to the Bednarik Award mid-season watch list.
The Bednarik Award is a yearly award given to the college football defensive player of the year. The award is named after college and NFL-great, Chuck Bednarik (Penn and the Philadelphia Eagles).
Carl Nassib has been a revelation in the college football landscape this season, leading the country in sacks with 10.0, forced fumbles with 5.0 and sits third in tackles for loss with 12.0 (he also has an interception on the season). He has been a game-changer on a defensive line that was expected to have less production from its ends thanks to departure of CJ Olaniyan and Deion Barnes. Instead, Nassib has become a quarterback-eating machine who has shown the ability to change the game thanks to his nonstop motor. If he continues his current pace of production, he will find himself a top contender for his award at season's end.
Austin Johnson has been a household name for Penn State fans for some time now, as he is the relentless space-eater that frees up everyone else on the defensive line to attack. This season, he's been able to continue filling that role, while also putting up big numbers. Johnson has accounted for 3.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and 1 fumble recovery so far in 2015.
Simple put, these two are animals. They have feasted on opposing offenses, and will need to continue to do so if Penn State wants to continue its winning ways. Along with trying to push the Nittany Lions to new heights this season, they will also both be attempting to become the fifth Penn State player to win the award since its inception in 1995. Past winners include LaVar Arrington (1999), Paul Posluszny (2005, 2006) and Dan Connor (2007). They are the only school to have won the award more than twice.