Preseason recognition continues to pour in for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Today, offensive tackle Donovan Smith has been named to the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman. Earlier this week, quarterback Christian Hackenberg was named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, cornerback Jordan Lucas was named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award and tights ends Kyle Carter and Jesse James were named on the watch list for the Mackey Award.
Smith will be one of the most important Nittany Lions on the offensive side of the ball this season. The Nittany Lions have major depth and experience issues on the offensive line. Smith, who started every game in 2013 and nine games in 2012 will be the clear leader of the offensive line. As the left tackle, he’s responsible for protecting the blind side of super sophomore quarterback Hackenberg.
The Outland Trophy is named after John Outland, who was named an All-American in 1898 at tackle and an All-American in 1899 at halfback. It is given out by the Football Writers Association of America and was first awarded in 1946.
Penn State has had one Outland Trophy winner in its history. Defensive tackle Mike Reid won the honor in 1969. Defensive tackle Devon Still was a finalist in 2011.
The watch list will be narrowed to six or seven semifinalists on November 20. Three finalists will be named on November 24. The winner will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 11.