After putting together an incredible senior season, the awards have started to roll in for Penn State’s Mike Hull.
The senior was named the Big Ten’s Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year on Monday night during the conference’s annual awards show.
Hull and Anthony Zettel each were named first-team All-Big Ten by both the media and coaches in the annual list announcement.
The pair lead a Nittany Lion defense that closed the regular season with top-five spots in a number of categories nationally. Penn State is third in Division I total defense, allowing 269.8 yards per game, while the rushing defense was the nation’s best in giving up just 84.8 yards per game. The team also allowed just 17.7 points per game, which is ninth in the country, and the passing defense is ranked 12th.
Hull is the second Nittany Lion in three years to earn the award, following Michael Mauti in 2012. Nine Nittany Lions have earned All-Big Ten linebacker honors a total of 13 times since the school joined the conference.
The Canon-McMillan product led the Big Ten and is seventh in the country with 11.2 tackles per game, and his 134 total tackles also are seventh. His tackle total, capped by 13 stops in the season finale against Michigan State on Saturday.
“It means a lot to me; all of the hard work has been paying off,” Hull said. “I’m just so honored to be able to receive this award. It’s not possible without the great teammates around me and the coaching staff that puts us in great position to make plays every week.”
Hull’s tackle total, which included 73 solo stops, also was more than double anyone else on the Nittany Lion roster. Nyeem Wartman was second with 64.
Hull has 288 tackles for his career, which is also No. 6 on Penn State’s all-time list. He was the Nittany Lions’ leader in tackles in all but one game this season, and also had at least nine tackles in a game in 11 of 12 games.
Zettel was ninth with 36 total tackles, leading the team with 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks, tying for the team lead with three interceptions. He was fourth in the Big Ten in both sacks and tackles for loss.
The junior defensive lineman had three tackles for loss and an interception in Saturday’s loss to the Spartans. He now has 16 career sacks, which is 15th on Penn State’s all-time list.
“It really shows that all of the defense’s hard work has really paid off,” Zettel said. “I’m really excited for this defense and this team. I really enjoyed playing alongside Austin Johnson, Deion (Barnes) and C.J. (Olaniyan). It was just a really enjoyable year.”
Earning second-team All-Big Ten honors were wide receiver DeSean Hamilton and kicker Sam Ficken. Ficken, who set the Nittany Lions’ single-season record for field goals with 23, was named second team by both the coaches and media, while Hamilton was selected only on the media ballot as Penn State’s leading receiver.
In addition, senior safety Ryan Keiser was Penn State’s Sportsmanship Award recipient.
The Big Ten handed out a number of other awards Monday night, including: Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett as the Quarterback of the Year, Michigan State’s Tony Lippett as the Receiver of the Year, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon as the Running Back of the Year, Minnesota’s Maxx Williams as the Tight End of the Year and Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff as the Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Other defensive winners included the Buckeyes’ Joey Bosa as the Defensive Lineman of the Year, the Spartans’ Kurtis Drummond as the Defensive Back of the Year, Maryland’s Brad Craddock as the Kicker of the Year and Minnesota’s Peter Mortell as the Punter of the Year.
The conference will hand out more awards on Tuesday, including the coach, freshman and offensive and defensive players of the year.
Earning honorable mention honors for Penn State were senior safety Adrian Amos, junior defensive end Deion Barnes, junior tight end Jesse James, sophomore defensive tackle Austin Johnson, junior cornerback Jordan Lucas, junior center Angelo Mangiro and junior cornerback Trevor Williams.