Candidates earned a place on the preliminary Watch List by earning All-American honors or by being named to their respective all-conference first team as selected by the conference's head coaches in 2009. The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2010 season in order to identify those players who have been selected as pre-season honors candidates.
This spring, Wisniewski returned to guard, where he played in 2007 and '08, after earning third team All-America honors at center from CollegeFootballNews.com. A starter in 25 of 26 games the past two seasons, Wisniewski saw action on 905 snaps, the third-highest total on the team in 2009, led by 86 in the wins over Minnesota and LSU. Wisniewski and the O-Line played a huge role in Penn State ranking No. 2 in the Big Ten in total offense at 406.9 ypg. The Nittany Lions were the only Big Ten team ranked in the top five of the conference's four primary offensive statistical categories in 2009.
Behind the protection of Wisniewski and his linemates, Daryll Clark finished No. 2 in the Big Ten in passing efficiency and threw a school season-record 24 touchdown passes last year. Penn State was third in the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed and eclipsed 500 yards of total offense on four occasions, including 512 in the regular-season finale at Michigan State.
A secondary education major in the Schreyer Honors College, Wisniewski has spent this year student teaching 10th-grade English at State College Area High School. he was selected a 2009 first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®, as he added to his 2008 second-team honor. Owner of a superlative 3.90 grade-point average, the squad's highest mark, Wisniewski will have an opportunity in 2010 to become Penn State's first three-time Academic All-American®. A U.S. Army All-American at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, he earned a perfect 4.0 GPA last fall.
Penn State All-America linebacker Dan Connor was a Rotary Lombardi Award semifinalist in 2007. Nittany Lion All-America linebacker Paul Posluszny was a finalist for the honor in 2005 and 2006. Defensive tackle Bruce Clark won the 1979 Lombardi Award.
The 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award recipient will be announced December 8 at a dinner in Houston, which benefits the American Cancer Society.