|Follow PSU Football:||Follow @PennStateFball|
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J.) was selected to his fourth watch list of the season with a berth on the Butkus Award watch list. He has also earned spots on the Lott IMPACT Trophy (National Defensive of the Year on and off the field), Bednarik Award (National Defensive of the Year) and Nagurski Trophy (National Defensive of the Year) watch lists.
The award, named in honor of legendary linebacker Dick Butkus, annually recognizes the nation’s top collegiate linebacker. Cabinda will be vying to become the first Nittany Lion to earn the honor since Paul Posluszny in 2005. LaVar Arrington also won the award in 1999, and five have previously been named finalists: Shane Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989), Brandon Short (1999), Posluszny (2006) and Dan Connor (2007).
Cabinda, 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. They 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), Thorpe Award (top defensive back); 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), Butkus Award (top linebacker); 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. Nearly 8,900 new season tickets have been sold for the 2017 Penn State football season presented by PSECU. 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.