UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the 2015 regular season in the books, a host of Nittany Lions were honored on Monday evening when the conference unveiled its 2015 All-Big Ten selections for the defensive side of the ball.
Headlining the list is Carl Nassib, who was tabbed as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Take a look inside Penn State's All-Big Ten selections for 2015.
First Team All-Big Ten (Media and Coaches):
DE Carl Nassib - Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year
Senior Carl Nassib has
etched his place among the all-time greats in Penn State lore following a
record-breaking season where he became the program's all-time season leader in
sacks. Nassib's statistics speak for themselves, but it has been the approach
to every snap on the practice field, in the weight room and on the game field
that has separated him from the best in the conference. Simply put, Nassib is a
relentless worker with a never-ending drive to do everything in his power to
ensure the Penn State defense is among the nation's elite. A former walk-on,
Nassib has the utmost respect from all of his peers in the locker room for his
efforts on and off the field. He will head into the bowl season as the nation's
leader in sacks and forced fumbles. Nassib is a deserving recipient of the Nagurski-Woodson
Defensive Player of the Year honor, but he would be the first to tell you that
he doesn't play for individual accolades. Always humble, Nassib's preparation,
effort, intensity and production put him a cut above the rest of the defensive
players in the Big Ten this fall. And in doing so, Nassib joins an elite list
of Nittany Lions who hold the honor of being named Big Ten Defensive Player of
"It's incredible. I'm so happy to be here and represent Penn State the right way," Nassib said. "I'm happy to show that hard work does pay off, and I couldn't be happier (to receive the award)."
- While making his first career start (high school or college), Nassib made a career-high 10 tackles with a sack and 2.5 TFLs in the season opener at Temple.
- Nassib had at least one sack in 10 consecutive games, which is the longest streak by a Penn State player since sacks became an official NCAA statistic in 2000.
- His 19.5 tackles for loss this season are the most by a Nittany Lion since Aaron Maybin had 20 in 2008. Nassib's TFL total is the fourth-most by a Penn State player since 2000.
- Nassib's six forced fumbles are the most by a Penn State player since Michael Haynes had a school-record seven forced fumbles in 2002.
- Nassib is the first Penn State player to force two fumbles in two games in the same season since Maurice Evans did it in 2007.
- He has four outings this season with at least nine tackles.
Second Team All-Big Ten (Media); Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches):
DT Austin Johnson
One of the most dominant interior defensive lineman in America, Austin Johnson has been disruptive every snap in 2015. Johnson is among the most unsung players in the conference. A tremendously athletic individual for a player his size, Johnson is the top tackler among all defensive tackles in America and No. 3 in the nation among all defensive linemen. The team's third leading tackler with 70 stops, Johnson has made 13.0 tackles for loss and has 5.5 sacks. The numbers are remarkable for a defensive tackle, but they don't do his impact on games justice. When opposing coaches flip on the film of the Nittany Lion defense, Johnson's blend of quickness and power stand out. The New Jersey native made arguably the top play on the defensive side of the ball against San Diego State when he raced 71 yards for a touchdown after scooping up a fumble caused on a Nassib sack. Simply put, Johnson is a rare talent on defense and a deserving honoree of all-conference recognition.
- Johnson is second among defensive tackles in FB with 70 tackles, which is third on the team.
- He is second on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss.
- Johnson has the most tackles by a Penn State defensive tackle since Jordan Hill had 64 stops in 2012.
- Registered his first career touchdown with a 71-yard fumble return. The fumble recovery was Penn State's first fumble recovery for a touchdown since Mike Hull's 74-yard return vs. Navy in 2012
- Johnson tallied a career-high 10 tackles, including eight solo stops, at Northwestern.
Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches & Media):
DT Anthony Zettel
Alongside Johnson, Anthony Zettel is an All-Big Ten honoree for the second-straight season. It would be hard to find a more disruptive pairing of interior lineman than the duo in blue and white. Zettel and Johnson embody every facet of defensive coordinator Bob Shoop's mantra of never-ending pressure and relentless pursuit. The Michigan native found a home at defensive tackle after playing at defensive end during his first two years on the field. However, the senior demonstrated his versatility by starting at defensive end in the regular season finale on Saturday in East Lansing. Zettel's motor never stops when he is on the field. Opposing coaches throughout the season pinpointed Zettel as a guy who needed consistent attention. Heading into the bowl season, Zettel has 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, five pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. Those figures speak volumes about No. 98's importance to one of the Big Ten's top defensive units.
- Zettel ranks third on the team in sacks (3.0) and fourth in tackles for loss (10.0).
- He is tied for eighth on Penn State's career sacks list (19.0).
- Zettel is 10th on the program's career tackles for loss chart (37).
- Zettel registered seven tackles, including 2.5 TFLs and recovered his second career fumble against San Diego State a day after his father passed away. He was selected as Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
- He had a career-high eight tackles against Maryland.
All-Big Ten Honorable Mention
S Marcus Allen
LB Jason Cabinda
CB Grant Haley
CB Trevor Williams
The All-Big Ten offensive awards will be announced on Tuesday.
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