Penn State DE Carl Nassib's amazing senior season reached another pinnacle Monday, when he was named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Despite being limited by injury in the Nittany Lions’ final three regular-season games, Nassib leads the conference in sacks (a school-record 15) and tackles for loss (19.5).
Nassib, who had never started a college game before this season, entered the 2015 campaign with two career sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.
The Big Ten only announced the winners of its defensive awards Monday (offense comes Tuesday). Nassib was the only Lion to make the first-team defense, and was honored by the media and coaches.
DT Austin Johnson was named second team by the media and third team by the coaches. Fellow DT Anthony Zettel was named third team by the media and coaches.
Honorable mention picks included S Marcus Allen (M,C), LB Jason Cabinda (M,C), CB Trevor Williams (C) and CB Grant Haley (M).
LB Ben Kline won a Sportsmanship Award.
In an interesting twist, while Nassib was named Defensive Player of the Year, Ohio State's Joey Bosa was named Defensive Lineman of the Year.
In another interesting twist, the Big Ten named Michigan multi-purpose threat Jabrill Peppers its Freshman of the Year. Peppers is an academic sophomore who actually played in three games in 2014 and then was granted a medical redshirt, so he was included among the players eligible for this award (and weekly Freshman of the Week laurels).
That more than likely prevented PSU true freshman running back Saquon Barkley, who has already set a school rookie rushing record (1,007 yards), from winning the award.