Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Penn State's Evans among finalists for Ted Hendricks award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; November 28, 2007 –- Penn State sophomore Maurice Evans (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has been selected finalist for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award.

The Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award is named in honor of the former University of Miami, Baltimore Colts and Oakland Raiders standout. The Ted Hendricks Foundation will announce the winner in early December.

The other finalists for the sixth annual Hendricks Award are: Eric Bakhtiari (San Diego), Vernon Gholston (Ohio State), Chris Long (Virginia), Greg Middleton (Indiana), Nick Reed (Oregon), Jonal Saint-Dic (Michigan State) and George Selvie (South Florida).

Penn State All-Americans Tamba Hali (2005) and Michael Haynes (2002) also have been finalists for the Hendricks Award since its inception in 2002.

Evans has had a superlative campaign in his first year as a starter. A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and coaches, he leads the Nittany Lions with 21.5 tackles for losses and 12.5 sacks (minus-94). He has 48 tackles (27 solo) to rank fifth on the team, has forced three fumbles, recovered a fumble and has three pass break-ups.

One of top defensive linemen in the nation, Evans is second in the Big Ten in TFL (No. 6 in the nation), third in sacks (No. 7 nationally) and tied for fifth in the conference in forced fumbles.

A U.S. Army All-American at Christ The King High School, Evans needs 1.5 TFL in Penn State’s bowl game to move into a tie for second in season minus yardage plays at 23. He needs one sack to move into a tie for third with Courtney Brown on the school season list at 13.5.

Evans was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after a superlative effort in the Nittany Lions’ win at Indiana. He recorded six tackles (five solo), setting career-highs with 4.5 tackles for losses, 3.5 sacks for minus-36, two forced fumbles, a 55-yard fumble return and a pass break-up against the Hoosiers.

Late in the third quarter, Evans made the play of the game. Indiana had a first down at the PSU 19, trailing 23-17, when Evans sacked Kellen Lewis, forcing a fumble at the PSU 32, which he picked up and returned 55 yards to the IU 13, losing one of his shoes along the way. Kevin Kelly made a 21-yard field goal to extend the lead to 26-17.

Evans continued his torrid play on IU’s next possession. He grabbed Lewis’ jersey and swung him around, forcing a fumble that DT Phil Taylor recovered at the IU 7. Kelly connected on a 20-yard attempt to push the lead to 29-17 with 12:30 to play.

He also recorded 4.0 TFL at Michigan and had two sacks in Penn State’s wins over Iowa, Wisconsin and Purdue.

Evans has played a significant role in the success of the Penn State defense, which is ranked in the Top 10 nationally in five categories. The Nittany are No. 2 nationally in sacks (45), No. 6 in rushing defense (87.9 ypg), No. 7 in scoring defense (17.6 ppg), No. 10 in total defense (306.5 ypg),) and No. 10 in tackles for losses (96)).

The Nittany Lions are No. 2 in the Big Ten in all the above categories other than sacks (first).

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