Three of Penn State’s standout players got some well-deserved recognition during preseason this past week as they were named to prestigious watch lists. Running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.), wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.), and linebacker Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J.) all garnered the attention of national critics, who spoke only in high praise of the three, announcing that Barkley and Godwin are candidates for the Maxwell Award for the National Player of the Year, and Cabinda is a nominee for the Bednarik Award for the National Defensive Player of the Year.
Penn State Football is no stranger to these awards; Nittany Nation is currently tied for the most Maxwell Award winners at seven. An even more impressive statistic, the four Bednarik Award recipients from Penn State make Penn State the most decorated Bednarik Award winning school in the nation.
The awards don’t stop there. Junior tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.) was recognized for his diligence on and off the field as he was presented as a candidate for the 2016 John Mackey Award, given to the most outstanding collegiate tight end each year. Gesicki has appeared in 25 of 26 games during his tenure with Penn State, and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team as a true freshman thanks to some impressive stats.
While awards are impressive, what makes Penn State Football one of the most legendary collegiate football programs in the country is its dedication to the very community that supports it.
Each year, Penn State Football organizes and runs the Penn State Uplifting Athletes’ Lift for Life, in which the Penn State offense takes on the Penn State defense in a series of tasks to benefit cancer research. This year, on July 16, over 80 players are currently set to participate. The program is entirely run by participating football athletes; Garret Sickles (Red Bank, N.J.) was named the president and director of operations earlier this summer.
Attendees can make a suggested donation $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Another option is to attend the kids’ clinic for $15 which includes autograph and photo time with the players as well as a Lift for Life t-shirt.
Fans are also welcome to make a donation to the Uplifting Athletes’ Penn State Chapter here.
Last year, Penn State Uplifting Athletes’ program raised over $120,000 for cancer and rare disease research.
Things are well and good with the Penn State Football program, and the team is poised to start its season on a high note as they face off at home for the first game of the season against Kent State on Saturday, September 3 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.