Smith Among Players on Outland Trophy Preseason Watch List

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<b>Junior Donovan Smith</b>


Junior Donovan Smith

July 10, 2014


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; July 10, 2014 - The Outland Trophy is awarded to the nation's top interior lineman and junior left tackle Donovan Smith (Owings Mills, Md.) has earned a spot on the awards 64-person preseason watch list entering the 2014 campaign.

The Outland Trophy is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century. Penn State defensive tackle Mike Reid won the Outland Trophy in 1969 and All-America defensive tackle Devon Still was the most recent Nittany Lion finalist, in 2011.

Smith enters his junior campaign as one of the Nittany Lions' most talented and experienced players and is an All-Big Ten candidate. He started 11 games last year and has 20 career starts over the past two seasons, the team's third-highest total. The Owings Mills, Md., native was selected first-team preseason All-Big Ten by USA Today and Lindy's and second-team all-conference by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele's College Football Preview.

A cornerstone of the Nittany Lions' offensive line, Smith will be counted on to provide leadership for a unit that lost three starters and two key reserves from their 2013 rotation. An honorable-mention All-Big Ten choice last year, Smith was instrumental in helping Penn State gain at least 350 yards in every game, scoring at least 23 points nine times. He helped Big Ten Freshman of the Year Christian Hackenberg throw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns, and Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton combine to rush for 1,792 yards. The former Owings Mills High School All-American helped the Nittany Lions rush for 250 yards or better four times last season, topped by 289 yards in the win over Purdue.

The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 20 and four days later, three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 69th Outland Trophy will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 11 from Disney's Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 15, 2015, in Omaha, Neb. This year, Notre Dame's Ross Browner, the 1976 Outland Trophy winner, will be honored and presented an Outland Trophy, which was not given in the era in which he won the award.

The Nittany Lions now have five players on four different preseason watch lists: Kyle Carter (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Christian Hackenberg (Maxwell Award - College Football MVP), Jesse James (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Jordan Lucas (Bednarik - Defensive Player of the Year) and Donovan Smith (Outland Trophy - Nation's Top Interior Lineman).

James Franklin was named Penn State's 16th head football coach on January 11. A product of Langhorne, Pa., Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success the past three years as head coach, including consecutive nine-win seasons and bowl victories the past two years, as well as back-to-back Top 25 finishes, all for the first time in Vanderbilt history. In his 20th year of coaching, Franklin was a two-time All-PSAC quarterback at East Stroudsburg University and set or tied 23 school records.

More than 4,000 new Penn State football season tickets have been sold for the 2014 campaign. There again was no increase in season tickets prices for Penn State football for the upcoming season.

Fans are now able to purchase Penn State football season tickets and make their Nittany Lion Club donation online at GoPSUsports.com/seasontickets, while choosing their own seats by utilizing Virtual Venue. New season tickets also are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Recent Graduate ticket program gives Penn State graduates who earned an undergraduate degree from 2010-14 at any campus the opportunity to purchase up to two season tickets for $300 per ticket for the seven-game home schedule this fall. The cost includes a $50 donation to the Nittany Lion Club and is a savings of 35 percent from the regular $460 season ticket price ($360 + $100 NLC donation).

More than 600 Recent Graduate program season tickets have been sold. Interested recent graduates can call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Penn State returns 40 letterwinners and 15 starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist) for the upcoming season and will play a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams this fall. The Nittany Lions will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming, 12 p.m.) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. Penn State will host Akron (Sept. 6), UMass (Sept. 20) and Temple (Nov. 15) during its non-conference slate.

The Nittany Lions open the season Aug. 30 vs. UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland.

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