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July 11, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; July 11, 2014 - After a breakout season in 2013, junior cornerback Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y.) has been named to his second watch list of 2014, as the Jim Thorpe Award, which honors the nation's top defensive back, announced their 39-player preseason honor roll.
Lucas is also among the preseason nominees for the Bednarik Award, which is bestowed upon the nation's defensive player of the year.
The Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball, but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
Penn State has a strong tradition of producing Thorpe Award candidates, as former Nittany Lions David Macklin (1999), James Boyd (2000), and Alan Zemaitis (2005) are past semifinalists.
Lucas becomes the first Nittany Lion since Justin King in 2007 to earn selection to the Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List. He will be one of the cornerstones of the Penn State defense this season after earning honorable mention All-Big Ten after a breakout 2013 campaign. He started all 12 games and tied for third in the Big Ten with 16 passes defended (1.33 avg.). Lucas tied for the team lead with three interceptions, all of which came in conference play, and led the Nittany Lions with 13 pass breakups.
The metropolitan New York City product was third on the team with 64 tackles, leading the squad with 45 solo stops. He also recorded 4.5 tackles for loss (minus-20), one sack and forced two fumbles. Lucas grabbed his first career interception in the first quarter against No. 18 Michigan, returning it inside the Michigan 15-yard line to set up the Nittany Lions' first touchdown in the four-overtime victory. He led the team with a career-high 11 stops (seven solo) at No. 4 Ohio State Lucas also made nine stops at Indiana and eight stops vs. Nebraska.
The Jim Thorpe Award watch list is chosen by a screening committee who compile a list of 30-50 players. The list is not final, and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses. The Thorpe Award Winner is selected from three finalists and will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 11, 2014 on ESPN.
The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in Oklahoma City, OK.
The Nittany Lions now have five players on five 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, Thorpe - Nation's Top Defensive Back) 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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