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Carson has been named to the Watch List for the Butkus Award, which is presented to the nation's top linebacker. Urschel is a candidate for his second individual award with his selection to the Watch List for the Rotary Lombardi Award, which is limited to down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football. The 2012 first-team All-Big Ten guard also is among the candidates for the Outland Trophy, presented to the nation's top interior lineman.
Carson and Urschel will join Coach Bill O'Brien and senior safety Malcolm Willis (Marbury, Md.) in representing Penn State at the 42nd Annual Big Ten Kickoff, July 24-25 in Chicago. Urschel will speak on behalf of all 36 players in attendance at the July 25 Kickoff Luncheon.
With the addition of Carson and Urschel, Penn State has pre-season candidates for seven individual awards thus far in 2013: Bednarik (DE Deion Barnes), Butkus (LB Glenn Carson), Mackey (TE Kyle Carter), Maxwell (RB Zack Zwinak), Nagurski (DE Deion Barnes) Outland (DT DaQuan Jones and G John Urschel) and Rotary Lombardi (G John Urschel).
Carson enters the 2013 season as the most experienced veteran on a defensive unit that returns six starters and several experienced reserves. The middle linebacker has started all but one game the past two seasons and his 24 starts are the most on the team. Carson will begin his third year as a significant contributor for a defensive corps that ranked second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in scoring defense in 2012.
Another in the long line of "Linebacker U." standouts, Carson is a tough and instinctive player that should be a candidate for All-Big Ten honors. His 85 tackles from 2012 make him one of the top retuning tacklers in the conference and the former Southern Regional High School product has amassed 171 career tackles, needing just 80 stops to move into the Top 15 on the all-time Penn State tackles list. A May 2013 graduate, Carson is among eight Big Ten linebackers on the Butkus Award Watch List.
Penn State first-team All-Americans LaVar Arrington (1999) and Paul Posluszny (2005) are former Butkus Award recipients.
Urschel is among six Big Ten offensive linemen who are candidates for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Candidates earned a place on the Lombardi preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors, being named to their respective all-conference teams or receiving 2013 pre-season honors. The Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2013 season in order to identify other players who have received significant pre-season honors.
A 2012 first team CoSIDA Academic All-American last season, Urschel will lead the Nittany Lions' offensive line this fall. The 6-foot-3, 307-pound offensive guard is among the top returning offensive lineman in the Big Ten and helped pave the way for 1,000-yard running back Zach Zwinak and 3,000-yard passer Matt McGloin in 2012.
The nation's premier college football scholar-athlete, Urschel owns a 4.0 grade-point average, earning his bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics over the past four years. The former Canisius High School standout will anchor the Nittany Lions offensive line in 2013, while working on a second master's degree, in math education.
Penn State All-America defensive tackle Bruce Clark won the 1979 Lombardi Award. The Rotary Lombardi Watch List, intended as a reference tool for the Selection Committee, will be periodically updated and revised through the conclusion of the voting to determine the 12 Semifinalists for 2013.
The 44th Rotary Lombardi Award will be held on December 11, 2013 at the Wortham Center in Houston, Texas. For more information on the schedule of events, please visit www.rotarylombardiaward.org.
O'Brien's squad returns 16 starters and 38 letterwinners for this year. Season tickets are available for the 2013 campaign. The Nittany Lions will host five bowl teams from 2012, including three teams that finished in the BCS Top 25: Michigan (Oct. 12-Homecoming), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State (Sept. 21). Purdue, Illinois, UCF and Eastern Michigan also will visit Beaver Stadium this fall.
Penn State opens its 127th season vs. Syracuse on August 31 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets and for the Syracuse game, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.GoPSUsports.com or call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.