Junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg and junior running back Akeel Lynch were named to the Davey O’Brien and Doak Walker Award watch lists, respectively.
The O’Brien Award is given annually to the nation’s top quarterback, while the Walker Award is given to the nation’s best running back.
Former Penn State quarterbacks Todd Blackledge and Kerry Collins both won the O’Brien Award, while former Nittany Lions running back Larry Johnson claimed the school’s only Walker Award in 2002.
Hackenberg capped his sophomore season by breaking or tying nine PSU single game bowl records. He has started all 25 career games under center and enters the season ranked No. 3 in career passing yards (5,932), attempts (876) and completions (501), and is No. 4 in career total offense (5,770).
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Lynch ended the season with 678 yards on 147 carries with four touchdowns – all career-high totals – and made 10 catches out of the backfield. He appeared in all 12 games last season, making his first two career starts. He also had a pair of 100-yard rushing games in 2014.
The Nittany Lions now have seven players on 10 different preseason watch lists: Kyle Carter (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Christian Hackenberg (Maxwell Award - College Football MVP, Davey O’Brien – Nation’s Top Quarterback), DaeSean Hamilton (Maxwell Award - College Football MVP, Biletnikoff Award – Nation’s Top Wide Receiver), Jordan Lucas (Nagurski Trophy - Defensive Player of the Year), Akeel Lynch (Doak Walker Awards – Nation’s Top Running Back), Angelo Mangiro (Rimmington Trophy – Nation’s Top Center) and Anthony Zettel (Bednarik Award – National Defensive Player of the Year, Nagurski Trophy - Defensive Player of the Year, Outland Trophy - Nation's Top Interior Lineman, Lombardi Award – Nation’s Top Lineman or Linebacker).