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July 25, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - Linebacker Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) and wide receiver Derek Moye (Rochester) lead Penn State's contingent of eight players named to the Athlon Sports pre-season first-team All-Big Ten.
Mauti and Moye were selected to Athlon's All-Big Ten first team. They previously were selected first team pre-season all-conference by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Mauti also earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition by Sporting News.
Safety Drew Astorino (Edinboro), punter Anthony Fera (Cypress, Texas) and punt returner Devon Smith (White Plains, Md.) earned Athlon second-team All-Big Ten accolades. Tailback Silas Redd (Norwalk, Conn.), offensive tackle Quinn Barham (Durham, N.C.) and defensive tackle Devon Still (Wilmington, Del.) were named to the third team.
A candidate for the Butkus Award and Nagurski Trophy, Mauti will be a leader for the defense, which returns seven starters. Despite missing all or parts of four games last year with injuries, he finished fifth on the team with 67 tackles. Mauti started seven games last year, recording 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. He broke career-highs in tackles in three consecutive games last season.
Moye, who was named to the 2011 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, enters his senior year ranked 11th in Penn State annals with 104 receptions and 1,741 receiving yards. He tallied eight touchdowns in 2010 and led the Nittany Lions with 53 catches for 885 yards. He was an honorable mention in the Big Ten last season after averaging 16.7 yards per catch, good for second in the conference.
Astorino returns to a talented and veteran Penn State secondary, rated No. 1 in the Big Ten by ESPN.com. He was fourth on the squad with 70 tackles last season, tallied one interception and broke up five passes in a secondary that ranked second in the Big Ten in pass defense.
Fera had a strong first year handling the punting duties for the Nittany Lions, as he averaged 41.7 yards per punt and booted nine punts of 50 yards or more. He additionally recorded the third longest punt in the conference last season of 74 yards.
Smith made six starts last season and was a significant contributor on special teams. He was fourth on team with 27 receptions for 363 yards (13.4 avg.) and one touchdown last year. Smith ranked second in the Big Ten punt returns with a 12.9-yard average on 12 returns, delivering a long return of 25 yards. He also had three kickoff returns for a 27.7-yard average.
Barham and the offensive line will look to help Redd and the running backs bolster the ground game, which loses Penn State's all-time leading rusher, Evan Royster. Redd was Penn State's second leading rusher in 2010, gaining 437 yards on the ground on 77 carries (5.7 avg.). In a thrilling 35-21 victory over Northwestern, Redd recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game with 131 yards on 11 carries (11.9). He also had a career-high 30-yard run and he scored his first career touchdown.
Still returns after having a strong 2010 season, where he was the second leading tackler on the defensive line behind Ollie Ogbu. Still recorded a team-high 10 tackles for a loss, including four sacks, which also was a team-best.
The Nittany Lions return 41 letterwinners and 15 starters for the 2011 season, (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist), as well as 17 players that have starting experience. Penn State opens its 125th season Sept. 3 vs. Indiana State in Beaver Stadium and Alabama visits Happy Valley on Sept. 10 (3:30 p.m. kick) for the first time since 1989. All Penn State fans are encouraged to wear white to the Alabama game.
Penn State Football season tickets are available and the single game ticket sale begins at 10 a.m. on July 29. Ticket information is available online at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or fans can call Penn State Athletics Customer Relations at 1-800-NITTANY (648-8269) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.