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Penn State Football: Nittany Lions Announce Season Awards

by on December 12, 2016 2:00 PM

With a Big Ten title on the shelf and a Rose Bowl appearance just a few weeks away, Penn State football took a moment on Sunday night to remember an unforgettable season. Even though the year isn't done just yet, James Franklin and his staff announced their yearly awards at the team banquet as Penn State heads into finals week.

Some of the biggest awards included running back Saquon Barkley being named team MVP while Trace McSorley was named the offenses' most valuable player and Garrett Sickels the same for the defense.

In addition to the player awards (see below), former Nittany Lion guard Marco Rivera was presented the Alumni Athlete Award. A letterman from 1992-95, Rivera was an All-Big Ten second team selection for Penn State’s Big Ten Championship team in 1994. He also played in the 1996 Senior Bowl. A sixth round draft pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, Rivera played 11 years in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers (1996-2004) and Dallas Cowboys (2005-06). He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All-Pro honoree. He also won Super Bowl XXXI as a member of the Packers. Rivera was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 2011. Rivera lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth are with his wife, Michelle, and three sons.

A complete listing of all the award winners at Sunday’s State College Quarterback Club banquet:

  • Lions’ Pride Outstanding Senior Player Award (greatest career contribution to Penn State Football) – linebacker Brandon Bell (Blue Bell, N.J.)
  • Most Valuable Player – running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.)
  • Most Valuable Offensive Player – quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.)
  • Most Valuable Defensive Player – defensive end Garrett Sickels (Red Bank, N.J.)
  • Captain’s Award – linebacker Brandon Bell, offensive lineman Brian Gaia (Pasadena, Md.), linebacker Von Walker (Mill Hall, Pa.)
  • Ridge Riley Award (senior for "sportsmanship, scholarship, leadership and friendship") – wide receiver Gregg Garrity (Pittsburgh)
  • Dick Maginnis Memorial Award (outstanding offensive lineman) – Brian Gaia
  • Bob Mitinger Memorial Award (senior who exhibits courage, character and social responsibility) – Von Walker
  • 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 end Evan Schwan (Harrisburg, Pa.)
  • John Bruno Memorial Award (outstanding member of special teams) – kicker Tyler Davis (St. Charles, Ill.)
  • Iron Lion Award (strength and conditioning). Awarded to the player who demonstrates the cornerstone of the Penn State Football strength and conditioning program -- intensity and consistency – offensive lineman Derek Dowrey (Winchester, Va.)
  • Outstanding Run-on Award (Run-on player who exemplifies total commitment, loyalty, hard work and courage) – offensive lineman Tom Devenney (Lititz, Pa.)
  • Quarterback Club Special Awards – safety Malik Golden (Hartford, Conn.), cornerback Jordan Smith (Washington, D.C.), offensive lineman Paris Palmer (Plymouth, N.C.)
  • 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) – wide receiver Gordon Bentley (Blue Bell, Pa.)
  • The Nittany Lion Club Academic Achievement Award (senior with highest GPA) – Tyler Yazujian (Royersford, Pa.)
  • Highest Academic Average – wide receiver Gordon Bentley
  • Public Service Award – offensive lineman Charlie Shuman (Pittsford)
  • Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Year – wide receiver Josh McPhearson (Columbia, Md.)
  • Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year – defensive end Shaka Toney (Philadelphia), cornerback Desi Davis (Ardmore, Pa.)
  • Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year – offensive lineman Alex Gellerstedt (Dublin, Ohio), running back Irvine Paye (Orange, N.J.)
  • Football Support Staff member of the Year – video director Jevin Stone

Penn State's meeting with USC is slated for Monday, January 2 at 5 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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