Linebacker Michael Mauti has been added to the Bednarik Award Watch List, according to team spokesman Jeff Nelson.
Despite suffering a torn ACL early last season, Mauti was placed on the preseason Butkus Award Watch List and appears to be having the best season of his career. Through four games, he boasts a team-leading 42 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
He joins teammate Gerald Hodges on the list of candidates for the Bednarik Award, which is given annually to the top defensive player in the nation.
"He's a guy that's meant a lot to this football program, to this football team, to his teammates," Bill O'Brien said last week. "He's great in the locker room. And just watching him play -- boy, you wish you could've played that way."
Dan Connor was the last Penn State player to win the Bednarik Award in 2007, although the university still leads all schools with four all-time winners. LSU and Northwestern are in second with two.