Five Lions Make Watch Lists

Five Penn State players — tailback Tony Hunt, quarterback Michael Robinson, linebackers Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny, and cornerback Alan Zemaitis — are up for national awards. The Big Ten as a conference is extremely well represented.

With the college football season still more than two months away, 24 Big Ten football standouts have been honored over the past few months by being named to the watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player), Rotary Lombardi Award (outstanding lineman), Lott Trophy (top defensive player) and Maxwell Award (top college player).

The Big Ten led all conferences with nine standouts on the Maxwell Award watch list and eight honorees on the Lombardi watch list, while also boasting 10 nominees for the Bednarik Award and six nominees for the Lott Trophy. Five Conference standouts appear on multiple watch lists in Iowa’s Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge, Michigan’s Gabe Watson, Northwestern’s Tim McGarigle and Ohio State’s A.J. Hawk.

The Big Ten’s nine student-athletes on the Maxwell Award watch list are Iowa quarterback Drew Tate, Michigan’s trio of wideout Steve Breaston, running back Michael Hart, and quarterback Chad Henne, Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton, Ohio State wide receivers Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes and the Penn State duo of running back Tony Hunt and quarterback Michael Robinson. The Wolverines were one of only three programs to feature three or more players on the watch list along with Georgia and Southern California. A Big Ten player has claimed the Maxwell Award on 14 occasions, most recently when Nittany Lion running back Larry Johnson was honored in 2002.

The Bednarik Award watch list features 10 Conference standouts in Iowa’s Greenway and Hodge, Michigan’s Watson, Northwestern’s McGarigle, Ohio State’s Hawk and Bobby Carpenter, Penn State’s Dan Connor, Paul Posluszny and Alan Zemaitis and Wisconsin’s Dontez Sanders. The Nittany Lions are one of only five schools to boast three individuals on the watch list along with Auburn, Florida State, Miami and Tennessee. The Big Ten has collected the Bednarik Award four times, most recently when PSU’s LaVar Arrington picked up the 1999 honor.

The Lott Trophy, which enters its second year honoring a defensive player based on both performance and character, tabbed six Big Ten players for its watch list including IllinoisMorris Virgil, Greenway, Hodge, Watson, McGarigle and Hawk.

The Big Ten placed eight student-athletes on the Lombardi Award watch list, including Greenway, Hodge, Hawk, Minnesota’s Greg Eslinger and four standouts from Michigan -- Matt Lentz, Tim Massaquoi, Adam Stenavich and Watson. The Wolverines are the only university to boast four selections. Conference standouts have earned six Lombardi Awards, most recently when Ohio State’s Orlando Pace claimed the honor in 1995 and 1996.

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