Senior kicker Tyler Davis and sophomore punter Blake Gillikin were named to preseason special teams watch lists this week. Davis earned a spot on the watch list for the Lou Groza Award, awarded annually to the nation’s top kicker, while Gillikin snagged a spot on the watch list for the Ray Guy award, given to the nation’s top punter.
During the 2016 season, Davis earned the 2016 Vlade Award for the nation's most accurate kicker from the Touchdown Club of Columbus and first-team All-Big Ten accolades from the conference coaches and second team accolades from the media. He was also a semifinalist for the Groza award.
Davis had a stellar year, tying the Penn State single-season record with 62 converted extra points attempts and tying for No. 2 on Penn State's single-season field goals made charts (22). He finished No. 5 on the PSU single-season scoring charts (128 points). Davis also led the Big Ten and was eighth nationally with a .917 field goal percentage, and was second in Big Ten and 11th nationally in total points (128).
Last year, rookie Blake Gillikin was selected to ESPN.com's True Freshman All-America team and was an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection by the conference's coaches and media. He broke the Penn State freshman season punting average record with 42.8 yards per punt and ranks No. 7 on Penn State's single-season chart.
Gillkin finished the season 30th in FBS and third in the Big Ten in punting average. Oh, and he also earned perfect 4.0 GPAs in both semesters and claimed the President's Freshman Award, awarded to Penn State students for academic excellence.
Davis and Gillikin are two out of eight Penn State football players named to award watch lists just this week. Here’s the running list of accolades for Nittany Lions (but expect it to get longer):
- Mike Gesicki was named to the preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end.
- Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley were included on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s best player.
- Jason Cabinda and Marcus Allen were named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player.
- Brandon Smith is among the nominees for the Allstate AFCA Good Works team
Congratulations, Nittany Lions!