Jones and Urschel are among the candidates for the Outland Trophy, presented to the nation's top interior lineman. The award is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century. Penn State defensive tackle Mike Reid won the Outland Trophy in 1969 and All-America defensive tackle Devon Still was the most recent Nittany Lion finalist, in 2011.
Barnes is among the candidates for the Nagurski Trophy, an award bestowed on the nation's best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. Still was also finalist for the Nagurski Trophy in 2011. Barnes is a candidate for the 2013 Bednarik Award, which also is presented to the nation's top defensive player.
An important cog in the Nittany Lions' nationally ranked defense in 2012, Barnes will look to build on a strong freshman campaign this fall. After earning consensus Freshman All-America honors, the Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman of the Year award and honorable mention All-Big Ten during his first season on the field in 2012, Barnes has been named 2013 preseason All-Big Ten.
Appearing in every game last season for Coach Bill O'Brien's squad, Barnes made eight starts and finished the year tied for No. 3 in the Big Ten with three forced fumbles, tied for No. 5 in sacks (6.0) and was No. 14 with 10.0 tackles for loss. His sack and TFL totals led the team and the former Northeast High School standout made 26 tackles (14 solo) and added one pass break-up.
A strong physical presence in the middle of the defensive line, Jones adds his candidacy for the Outland Trophy to his preseason All-Big Ten selection from Phil Steele's College Football Magazine. Jones boasted his best season in 2012 with 22 tackles, two tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
Jones should emerge as an All-Big Ten candidate during his senior season and his 11 career starts are the most on the defensive line entering the season. The former Johnson City High School standout made a career-best four tackles twice last season, doing so in the season opener vs. Ohio and duplicating that effort against Navy to help head coach Bill O'Brien earn his first win as Penn State head coach. His efforts in the trenches were instrumental in helping Penn State hold six opponents to 17 points or fewer.
A first-team All-Big Ten selection and first team CoSIDA Academic All-American last season, Urschel will lead the NIttany Lions' offensive line. 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 GPA in the classroom, 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 his second master's degree in math education.
The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2013 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 21 and the winner will be announced at the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet on Dec. 9 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte.
The Outland Trophy list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 20 and five days later three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team and will be announced during The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 12.
--Penn State Athletic Communications--