A week after Penn State's Lombardi Award snub, some good news arrived on the watch list front: Tight end Kyle Carter was added to the Mackey Award's midseason list.
Carter became the lone freshman to make the list of 26 candidates, and he's one of four Big Ten tight ends to earn a spot.
Every week, NittanyNation will check in and update how some of its best players are faring on the awards lists. Including Carter, Penn State now has six players vying for nine awards:
TE Kyle Carter (Mackey): The redshirt freshman has topped 50 yards receiving on just two occasions so far, but tight ends aren't utilized a whole lot at the college level. No NCAA tight end has more than 400 receiving yards, so Carter has a real shot here if he sees more targets thrown his way. He has the talent, and he currently has 23 receptions for 279 yards and a touchdown. He's not a favorite right now, but with Bill O'Brien's offense, he can't be counted out, either.
LB Michael Mauti (Butkus, Bednarik): What more can be said about Mauti? He's easily one of the top five linebackers in the country -- possibly the best -- and he's the MVP on this Penn State team. He recorded a team-high 57 tackles, contributed toward five turnovers and got a hand on six passes. And he's playing even better than those stats indicate. He should definitely be a finalist.
WR Allen Robinson (Biletnikoff): The sophomore is making a relatively strong case to be named one of the 10 semifinalists. Through six games, he has 41 catches for 524 yards and seven touchdowns. He's already on pace for one of the best receiving seasons in school history, and he could be on that final list if he continues to find the end zone. Big Ten opponents should start focusing on him more, but he has a knack for getting open.
LB Gerald Hodges (Bednarik, Butkus, Nagurski): It's been easy for Hodges to become the forgotten linebacker because Mauti's played so well -- but he's still having a great season. He won't win any awards over his teammate, but he could be named to some finalist lists. He has 50 tackles, contributed toward three turnovers and broke up seven passes. He needs to have a better second-half of the season to really push for more recognition, but he's still one of the best in the Big Ten.
C Matt Stankiewitch (Rimington): He's played some very solid football so far, and the Nittany Lions have experienced success running straight behind him. But, as we've pointed out before, the Rimington is often awarded to the best center on one of the top rushing offenses. Very rarely does this committee give the award to someone who plays on a team ranked outside the top 50. And Penn State is ranked No. 88.
DT Jordan Hill (Outland): Hill won't take home this trophy. He's been valuable to Penn State, but double-teams have prevented him from breaking out. Northwestern slept on him a little bit, and he finished with eight tackles, including half a sack and one tackle for loss. He'll need to do that in just about every game from here on out to see any type of finalist list.