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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior safety Marcus Allen (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and senior linebacker Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J.) added their names to a third watch list this season with a berth on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List for the Football Writers Association of America's National Defensive Player of the Year.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is given yearly to the National Defensive Player of the Year. The award is named for legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota, Bronko Nagurski, who dominated college football then became a star for the Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Penn State has never won a Nagurski Trophy, but has had five finalists, most recently Carl Nassib in 2015.
Allen, who is also on the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy and Bednarik Award watch lists, was selected third-team All-Big Ten by the conference's coaches and honorable mention by the media panel last season. He made a team- and career-high 110 tackles on the season to become the first Penn State safety to lead the team in tackles since Shawn Mayer (144) in 2002. He was honored as the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week and Rose Bowl Player of the Week for his 22-tackle effort versus Minnesota Oct. 1. He also claimed Oct. 24 Co-Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week accolades after blocking a field goal attempt versus No. 2 Ohio State, which led to the game-winning touchdown by teammate Grant Haley. Allen finished the season ranked 16th in the Big Ten with 7.9 tackles per game and was third in the conference with two fumble recoveries. For his career, Allen has 249 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and eight pass breakups.
Cabinda also earned on the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy and Bednarik Award watch lists. A 2017 team captain, Cabinda garnered third-team All-Big Ten accolades from the conference coaches, despite missing five games due to injury. He posted eight tackles or more in all nine games he played in last season and has logged eight or more tackles in 11 of his last 13 games, dating back to 2015. Cabinda finished third on the squad with 81 tackles in 2016, after posting 100 stops in his sophomore season. He had 13 tackles in the upset win over No. 2 Ohio State, including the game-clinching takedown of Buckeye quarterback J.T. Barrett on 4th-and-23 on OSU's final drive. For his career, Cabinda has 198 tackles, eight pass breakups, 3.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss.
Eight different Nittany Lions have been named to preseason watch lists. Those Lions include: junior running back Saquon Barkley -- Maxwell Award (National Player of the Year); junior quarterback Trace McSorley -- Maxwell Award (National Player of the Year); senior safety Marcus Allen -- Lott IMPACT Trophy (National Defensive of the Year on and off the field), Bednarik Award (National Defensive of the Year), Nagurski Trophy (National Defensive of the Year); senior linebacker Jason Cabinda -- Lott IMPACT Trophy (National Defensive of the Year on and off the field), Bednarik Award (National Defensive of the Year), Nagurski Trophy (National Defensive of the Year); senior tight end Mike Gesicki --Mackey Award (top tight end); senior linebacker Brandon Smith -- Allstate AFCA Good Works; senior kicker Tyler Davis -- Lou Groza Award (top kicker); sophomore punter Blake Gillikin -- Ray Guy Award (top punter).
The Nittany Lions' home schedule features a trio of non-conference games, including Pitt's first visit to Beaver Stadium since 1999. The Nittany Lions open the season against Akron (Sept. 2; noon) and face Pitt (Sept. 9; 3:30 p.m.) and Georgia State (Sept. 16) to close out a three-game homestand to start the year. In Big Ten play, Penn State welcomes Indiana (Sept. 30), Michigan (Oct. 21), Rutgers (Nov. 11; noon - Homecoming) and Nebraska (Nov. 18) to Happy Valley.
More than 8,400 new season tickets have been sold for the 2017 campaign. The public single-game ticket sale opens Tuesday, July 11. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2017 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 9 a.m-4:30 p.m.