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June 24, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Phil Steele's College Football 2008 has selected Penn State defensive end Maurice Evans (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and cornerback/kick returner A.J. Wallace (Waldorf, Md.) as a pre-season All-Americans and recognized 10 Nittany Lions on its All-Big Ten teams.
Phil Steele's College Football 2008 ranks Penn State No. 10 in the nation and second in the Big Ten Conference.
A rising junior, Evans was selected a second team pre-season All-American and first team All-Big Ten by the publication. Also a rising junior, Wallace was named a thrd-team All-American and first team all-conference as a kick returner and second team All-Big Ten as a cornerback.
A finalist for the 2007 Ted Hendricks Defensive End Award, the quick and athletic Evans also was second in the Big Ten with five forced fumbles. A U.S. Army All-American at Christ The King High School, he was fifth on the squad with 54 tackles (31 solo) and also had three pass breakups.
Evans is a candidate for the 2008 Rotary Lombardi, Bronko Nagurski and Hendricks awards, and other post-season honors. He previously was selected a first team pre-season All-American by Athlon Sports.
Wallace started the final four games of last season at cornerback and emerged as one of the nation's premier kickoff returners His 581 kickoff return yards in 2007 broke the school season record of 522, set by Kenny Watson in 1999. Wallace averaged 26.4 yards on his 22 returns to rank third in the conference, having led during the course of the season. He delivered a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Ohio State, the Lions' first kickoff return for a score by a deep returnman since Larry Johnson's 97-yard effort at Illinois in 2001. Wallace has seven kickoff returns of 40 yards or more among his 38 career returns.
Playing in every game last year, the former McDonough School All-American had 33 tackles (22 solo), with three fumble recoveries, one interception and four pass breakups.
In addition to Evans and Wallace, Phil Steele's College Football 2008 selected three Nittany Lions first team All-Big Ten: punter Jeremy Boone (Mechanicsburg), safety Anthony Scirrotto (West Deptford, N.J.) and center A.Q. Shipley (Coraopolis).
Three Nittany Lions earned second team all-conference notice. Junior tight end Andrew Quarless (Uniondale, N.Y.) and senior wide receiver and punt returner Derrick Williams (Greenbelt, Md.) joined Wallace on the unit.
Phil Steele's College Football 2008 named three Penn Staters third team All-Big Ten: senior placekicker Kevin Kelly (Langhorne), senior guard Rich Ohrnberger (East Meadow, N.Y) and sophomore tailback Evan Royster (Fairfax, Va.).
Several of Penn State's units were ranked among the nation's best by Phil Steele's College Football 2008: defensive line (No. 2), special teams (2), offensive line (10), defensive backs (16) and wide receivers (17)
In his 43rd season as head coach, Joe Paterno's squad returns 37 letterwinners and 16 starters (8 offense, 6 defense, 2 specialists) from last year's 9-4 squad that defeated Texas A&M in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Penn State has won 31 of its last 40 games, tied for eighth-best record in the nation over that span. The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today Coaches poll, earning their 33rd Top 25 finish under Paterno.