We’ve officially reached peak ramp up to college football season.
That’s right, it’s officially #WatchListSZN and it began not with a whimper, but with a bang for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions had three candidates named to watch lists for the nation’s top offensive and defensive players.
KJ Hamler was recognized on the offensive side of the ball and named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the nation’s best all-around player.
Hamler burst onto the scene last year as a redshirt freshman, breaking the Penn State freshman record for all-purpose yards with 1,417 yards. He started all 13 games and hauled in 42 passes for 754 yards and five touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, both Yetur Gross-Matos and Micah Parsons were named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, given each year to the top defensive player in the country.
Gross-Matos, a rising junior, became a burgeoning start last season at defensive end. The Virginia native was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and became just 11th Penn State player all-time to record 20 tackles for loss in a season. He finished the year ranked second in the Big Ten and ranked 12th in the nation with 1.5 tackles for loss per game.
Parsons, a star freshman, led the team in tackles with 83 despite learning a new position and starting just one game. He was the first freshman, true or redshirt, in program history to achieve such a feat. His play earned him freshman All-American selections fromThe Athletic, 247Sports and ESPN.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks as more Penn Staters are sure to pop up on watch lists in the run up to the season.