We've got point spreads, playoff odds, and media days, but the surest sign of college football's return is here. It is Watch List Season. The fun kicks off with the Chuck Bednarik Award, and Penn State LB Micah Parsons and DE Yetur Gross-Matos.
Gross-Matos is quickly becoming one of the most talked about players in the Big Ten heading into this season. As a first time starter in 2018, all he did was put up an absurd 20 TFLs, including eight sacks. All told, he was in on 54 tackles one year ago. With Shareef Miller and Kevin Givens off to the NFL, Gross-Matos will be looked upon to lead the way up front for a strong Penn State defense.
Behind him, the former five-star recruit Parsons will lead a dynamic group of linebackers. Despite splitting time in 2018 with Koa Farmer, and learning the linebacker position, the Harrisburg native led Penn State in tackles with 83. A year into his collegiate career, Parsons has taken on more of a leadership role with the Nittany Lions, and appears poised for a breakout season.
The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented annually to the best defensive player in college football. Three different Nittany Lions have taken home the award four total times. LaVar Arrington won in 1999, with Paul Posluszny winning in 2005 and 2006, and Dan Connor taking home the honors in 2007.