UNIVERSITY PARK - Five Penn State football student-athletes have been named All-Big Ten as selected by ESPN.com and BigTenNetwork.com and senior linebacker Michael Mauti has been named to the AT&T ESPN All-America Team.
In addition, BTN.com selected Bill O'Brien the Big Ten Coach of the Year and defensive end Deion Barnes the conference's Freshman of the Year. O'Brien also was selected the AT&T ESPN Coach of the Year
O'Brien's honor and the AT&T ESPN All-America Team were announced Saturday on ABC. The other accolades were revealed Monday.
In his first year as head coach of the Nittany Lions, O'Brien is a finalist for three national coach of the year honors: the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year and the Maxwell Football Club's Collegiate Coach of the Year. O'Brien also is on the Watch List for the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year.
A total of five Nittany Lions were selected to the ESPN.com team and four made the BTN.com squad. Penn State's five honorees on the ESPN.com squad were second-highest in the conference.
Four Penn State players are on both the ESPN.com and BTN.com teams: senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill, Mauti, sophomore Allen Robinson and senior center Matt Stankiewitch. In addition, freshman tight end Kyle Carter was named to the ESPN.com squad.
Hill also recently accepted an invitation to play in the 64th Senior Bowl, which will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at the Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
At the team's own awards banquet, Mauti was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Nittany Lion football team.
Mauti 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.
Mauti is the fourth linebacker to be selected Penn State's Outstanding Senior Player since the award's inception in 1978, joining All-Americans Shane Conlan (1986), Paul Posluszny (2006) and Dan Connor (2007).
In addition to the player awards, former Nittany Lion All-America linebacker Jack Ham was presented the Alumni Athlete Award. Ham was instrumental in helping Penn State to a superlative 29-3 record from 1968-70, including a pair of 11-0 campaigns. A team co-captain in 1970, Ham earned first-team All-America honors before embarking on a professional career that would see Ham help the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl Championships. Ham is the only Nittany Lion enshrined in the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. He has been a member of the Penn State Sports Network's football broadcast team with Steve Jones since 2000.
Other awards, the first three of which were presented for the first time, are:
Coaches' Award (senior that exhibits pride, dedication, commitment and exemplary leadership in addition to outstanding performance) - linebacker Gerald Hodges and cornerback Stephon Morris.
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) - senior long snapper Emery Etter.
Reid-Robinson Award (outstanding defensive lineman). Named in honor of two of Penn State's most acclaimed defensive linemen, Dave Robinson and Mike Reid - defensive tackle Jordan Hill and defensive end Sean Stanley.
John Bruno, Jr. Memorial Award (outstanding member of special teams) - senior running back Derek Day and linebacker Michael Yancich.
Ridge Riley Award (senior for "sportsmanship, scholarship, leadership and friendship") - senior defensive end Pete Massaro and senior quarterback Matt McGloin.
Richard Maginnis Memorial Award (outstanding offensive lineman) - senior tackle Mike Farrell and senior Matt Stankiewitch.
Robert B. Mitinger, Jr. Award (senior who exhibits courage, character and social responsibility) - senior running back Michael Zordich.
Outstanding Run-on Award (Run-on player who exemplifies total commitment, loyalty, hard work and courage) - senior long snapper Michael Fuhrman and senior tight end J.R. Refice.
The Nittany Lion Club Academic Achievement Award (senior with highest GPA) - quarterback Shane McGregor, who has a 3.85 grade point average.
Mauti recently was selected to the AT&T ESPN All-America Team and Hill was named a second-team All-American by Athlon Sports. Last month, Hill, Mauti and Robinson were selected first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media. Stankiewitch and junior guard John Urschel were selected to the coaches' first-team and Carter was named to the media first-team.
The coaches and media also selected Nittany Lions for five individual awards, with O'Brien capturing the Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media vote) and the Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year. Mauti was selected the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year, Robinson was named the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year and Barnes was the conference's Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year.
The Nittany Lions won eight of their final 10 games, earning an 8-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the Big Ten, with the only losses coming to division winners Ohio State and Nebraska. In its final game, Penn State beat eventual Big Ten Champion Wisconsin, 24-21, in overtime on Senior Day.