Three Penn State football players were named to preseason watch lists for the Maxwell and Bednarik awards Tuesday.
Junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg and redshirt sophomore receiver DaeSean Hamilton are listed among the candidates for the Maxwell Award for the National Player of the Year.
Hackenberg is Penn State’s third all-time career passing leader in completions (501), attempts (876) and yardage (5,770).
Hamilton averaged 6.3 receptions per game as a freshman. His 899 receiving yards set a record for Nittany Lion freshmen.
Senior defensive tackle ( and tree-tackler of Internet fame) Anthony Zettel is on the watch list for the Bednarik Award for National Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-4, 278-pound Zettel was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2014 after a career-high 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Zettel’s 16 career sacks are tied for 15th in Penn State history.
The Maxwell Award has been given to the nation’s best college player since 1937, while the Bednarik Award has been given to the best defensive player since 1995.
Penn State has not had a Bednarik Award winner since 2007, when Dan Conner earned the honor. Running back Larry Johnson was Penn State’s last Maxwell Award winner in 2002. Since the inception of the awards, Penn State is tied for the national lead among all universities with seven Maxwell Award winners, and leads the nation with four Bednarik Award recipients.
Semifinalists for the awards will be announced on Nov. 2, while the three finalists will be announced Nov. 23. The winners will be revealed as a part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10.
Last season, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota won the Maxwell Award, and Arizona’s Scooby Wright III took home the Bednarik Award.