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Dec. 16, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; December 16, 2013 - Penn State All-Big Ten selection and co-captain DaQuan Jones (Johnson City, N.Y.) has been named the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 Nittany Lion football team.
Jones was presented the Lions' Pride Outstanding Senior Player Award to highlight the State College Quarterback Club's annual banquet honoring the Nittany Lion football team. A crowd of nearly 750 filled the main ballroom at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel to honor 17 seniors and the 2013 squad.
The 17 seniors were instrumental in Coach Bill O'Brien's squad winning 15 of its last 22 games, posting 8-4 and 7-5 marks, respectively, the past two years. Penn State capped this past season with a 31-24 win at No. 14 Wisconsin on Nov. 30.
"This is a fantastic group of guys," O'Brien said of the seniors. "They were resilient. They accepted their roles. They knew what it meant to play for Penn State. I can't thank these guys enough. This program is about the players. It will always be about the players. We feel good about the future."
Jones is the fourth defensive tackle to be selected Penn State's Outstanding Senior Player since the award's inception in 1978, joining Lou Benfatti (1993), Brandon Noble (1996) and Devon Still, a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, in 2011.
A 2013 first-team All-Big Ten selection, Jones led Penn State with 11.5 tackles for loss (minus-42 yards). He was fifth on the squad with 56 tackles (33 solo), recorded three sacks (minus-21) and had a fumble recovery. A starter in 23 games over the past two seasons, the senior led all Big Ten defensive tackles in hits this season.
The former Johnson City Senior High School standout has accepted an invitation to play in the 65th Senior Bowl on January 25, 2014. Jones will be the seventh Penn State defensive lineman to play in the Senior Bowl in the past 11 years, joining Jordan Hill, Jack Crawford, Anthony Adams, Michael Haynes, Tamba Hali and Jared Odrick.
In addition to the player awards (see below), former Nittany Lion wide receiver and kick returner Rich Mauti was presented the Alumni Athlete Award. A letterman in 1975 and '76, Mauti returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown vs. Temple in 1975. He also was a second-team All-America midfielder on the lacrosse team. Mauti played eight seasons in the National Football League, playing for the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins. Mauti's two sons, Patrick and Mike, also were Penn State football student-athletes.
The Iron Lion Award was presented for the first time. It is awarded to the senior who demonstrates the cornerstone of the Penn State Football strength and conditioning program -- intensity and consistency -- to guard John Urschel.
The other 2013 State College Quarterback Club award winners were:
- John Bruno, Jr. Memorial Award (outstanding member of special teams) - fullback Pat Zerbe (West Lawn);
- Ridge Riley Award (senior for "sportsmanship, scholarship, leadership and friendship") - tackle Garry Gilliam (Carlisle) and safety/linebacker Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (Bronx, N.Y.);
- Robert B. Mitinger, Jr. Award (senior who exhibits courage, character and social responsibility) - linebacker Glenn Carson (Manahawkin, N.J.), tackle Eric Shrive (West Scranton) and safety Malcolm Willis (Marbury, Md.);
- Outstanding Run-on Award (Run-on player who exemplifies total commitment, loyalty, hard work and courage) - tight end Matt Lehman (Newport);
- Football Letterman's Club Joe and Sue Paterno Post-Graduate Scholarship ($5,000 Scholarship to a senior to provide recognition and financial assistance for graduate school) - defensive tackle Kyle Baublitz (York);
- The Nittany Lion Club Academic Achievement Award (senior with highest GPA) was presented to John Urschel, who has a 4.0 grade-point average and was the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient and a two-time first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American.
- Quarterback Club Special Awards - tackle Adam Gress (West Mifflin).
Penn State returns 16 starters for the 2014 season (8 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist), which begins August 30 vs. No. 15 UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland. Public tickets for the Nittany Lions' first international game are available at www.ticketmaster.ie/psufootball and by entering the passcode, PSUDUBLIN14. The public ticket offering will end December 31.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing 2014 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium and the Croke Park Classic, fans can visit www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Penn State Athletics is on Twitter (http://www.gopsusports.com/ot/twitter.html) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pennstatenittanylions).