Penn State's Zettel on Lombardi Award watch list


Senior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel has collected a berth on the preseason Rotary Lombardi Award watch list for the nation's top lineman or linebacker.

This is the fourth preseason watch list honor for Zettel, who has also been named to the Bednarik Award (National Defensive Player of the Year), Nagurski Trophy (Defensive Player of the Year) and Outland Trophy (Nation's Top Interior Lineman) lists.

The Lombardi Award is given annually to the nation's top offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker who, in addition to outstanding performance, best exemplifies the discipline of Vince Lombardi. Bruce Clark is Penn State's lone Lombardi Award winner, claiming the award in 1978.

The list of 12 Lombardi Award semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 5. The Rotary Lombardi Award winner will be announced at the Bayou Music Center in Houston, Texas on Dec. 9.

Zettel is a nominee for the Bednarik Award for the National Defensive Player of the Year and claimed preseason first-team All-America accolades from Phil Steele. After moving from defensive end to defensive tackle in 2014, Zettel enjoyed his most productive season on the field in the blue and white. A fourth-team All-America selection by Athlon Sports and an All-Big Ten first-team pick by both the coaches and media, Zettel logged career-best totals with 17 tackles-for-loss and 8.0 sacks. His 16.0 career sacks rank tied for No. 15 in Penn State history and his 27.0 career TFLs are just five shy of entering the top-15 in the PSU record books.

Zettel was the only FBS player to rank among the national leaders in sacks and interceptions per game in 2014. The athletic defensive lineman nabbed three interceptions, the most by a PSU defensive lineman since at least 1959, to tie for the team lead in the category and added one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and eight pass deflections.

The Nittany Lions now have six players on seven different preseason watch lists: Kyle Carter (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Christian Hackenberg (Maxwell Award - College Football MVP), DaeSean Hamilton (Maxwell Award - College Football MVP), Jordan Lucas (Nagurski Trophy - Defensive Player of the Year), Angelo Mangiro (Rimmington Trophy – Nation's Top Center) and Anthony Zettel (Bednarik Award – National Defensive Player of the Year, Nagurski Trophy - Defensive Player of the Year, Outland Trophy - Nation's Top Interior Lineman, Lombardi Award – Nation's Top Lineman or Linebacker).