If the story of Carl Nassib has taught up anything, it's to actually put some weight into what the coaches say about preseason practices. Every chance they got, a Penn State coach was raving about how Carl Nassib was about to enjoy a breakout season. And yet, many people (myself included) hadn't even predicted him to hold the starting role all year. I'm not sure I've ever been happier as a result of being wrong about something.
Nassib lit the college football world on fire in 2015. He led all of college football in sacks with 15.5, despite not playing in the final two games of the season. He led all of college football in forced fumbles with 6, despite not playing in the final two games of the season. He won nearly every award and was given every honor that the NCAA can bestow upon a defensive end. He broke the Penn State record for sacks in a season, passing Larry Kubin and Michael Haynes, who each had 15.0. He was everything Penn State fans could have hoped and dreamed for, and more.
This isn't a career achievement award, but in a way, Nassib's success in this singular, 2015 season, is a career achievement award. After beginning his career as a walk-on, he had to work his tail off to earn his scholarship, and prove Bill O'Brien wrong about his future. He had to wait patiently for his turn, with players such as Deion Barnes and C.J. Olaniyan ahead of him. The work that he put in, just to even get a tiny window of opportunity in 2015, helped make him the player he is today.
As it often is with players who are as steadily productive as Nassib was, his impact might have been the most clearly illustrated during the games in which he was sidelined due to injury. Against Michigan and Michigan State, the Penn State defensive line wasn't able to do much of anything, and both Jake Rudock and Connor Cook had all day to throw the football. If the true definition of an 'MVP Award' is that it should go to the player most valuable to their team, then you'd be hard-pressed to find a better choice for Penn State's 2015 MVP, than Carl Nassib.
Whoever ends up drafting Carl Nassib at the end of April (get yourselves together NFL, that's a ridiculously long time to wait) is going to grab not only one of the best stories in college football, but one of its very best players.
Final Voting Results