After an 11-win 2022 season that culminated in a Rose Bowl victory, it was clear that Penn State football had many bright spots on its roster. Defense led the way for the Nittany Lions during the stretch run last year. Although stars like Joey Porter Jr. and PJ Mustipher have moved on, many standouts are returning on the defensive side of the ball for 2023. Among these returning standouts are Kalen King and Abdul Carter, who were recently named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list for their contributions on and off the field.
Kalen King and Abdul Carter named to Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list
The Lott IMPACT Trophy honors “college football’s best in character and performance.” Not only does the trophy honor the best players in the nation based on how they do on the field, but also their personal character. This week, the organization released its 2023 watch list for the trophy, which included both Carter and King.
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) May 11, 2023
Kalen King was, behind Porter, the best Penn State cornerback last season. In his sophomore season, King accumulated 30 total tackles, with 23 of them being unassisted. He had fifteen pass deflections, which led the team. He also had three interceptions, including a memorable, tide-turning pick in the Rose Bowl.
Kalen King with the diving INT for Penn State at the Rose Bowl‼️
?: ESPN pic.twitter.com/uiOywV4UE0
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2023
As a true freshman, Abdul Carter caught the eyes of college football fans in Happy Valley and around the nation. The young star had an immediate impact on the defense, accumulating 6.5 sacks for 59 yards, both of which led the team. Carter totaled 56 tackles in 2022, second only behind Ji’Ayir Brown. The true freshman was also tied Brown with a team-leading two forced fumbles. As he is expected to move into a full-time starting role this season, Carter is slated to improve massively and put on a huge sophomore campaign for the Nittany Lions.
Either Carter or King will look to become the second Penn State football player to win the Lott IMPACT Trophy, with former Nittany Lion Carl Nassib taking home the award in 2015. Overall, having two players make this award watch list represents the best of Penn State. Success on the field is important, but what’s even more important is what is accomplished off of it.
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