Every season, the Big Ten names five players from each division to a preseason honors list that highlights the best players in the conference — and Penn State fans should be very familiar with one name.
Defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos was one of six defensive players to earn a spot on the list, which was announced Thursday at the start of Big Ten Media Days.
The selection was a virtual no-brainer. Gross-Matos, a junior, finished second in the conference last season with 20 tackles for loss. He also boasted eight sacks, 54 tackles and six QB hurries — and he’s already generating hype for the 2020 NFL draft. CBS Sports went so far as to list him as a potential top-10 talent.
Gross-Matos is Penn State’s first defensive player to earn the honor since 2015, when DT Anthony Zettel made the list and went on to record 47 tackles, 11 TFLs, four sacks and six passes defended his senior season. Trace McSorley was on the list last season, McSorley and Saquon Barkley were on it in 2017, and Barkley alone in 2016.
The full 2019 list of Big Ten preseason honorees is below:
Joe Bachie, Sr., LB, MSU
Kenny Willekes, Sr., DE, MSU
J.K. Dobbins, Jr., RB, OSU
Chase Young, Jr., DE, OSU
Yetur Gross-Matos, Jr., DE, PSU
A.J. Epenesa, Jr., DE, IOWA
Adrian Martinez, So., QB, NEB
Paddy Fisher, Jr., LB, NU
Rondale Moore, So., WR, PUR
Jonathan Taylor, Jr., RB, WIS