UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Junior defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (Spotsylvania, Va.) is among the 20 quarterfinalists for the 16th annual Lott IMPACT Trophy, as announced by the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, while sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford (Cincinnati, Ohio) was added to the Maxwell Award watch list.
The Lott IMPACT Trophy honors the top defensive player in college football who makes the biggest impact for his team, both on and off the field. The award is given to a distinguished young man who represents the qualities embodied by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott – Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Penn State’s Carl Nassib won the award in 2015.
The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell’s contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official.
Gross-Matos, who was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, ranks No. 11 in FBS and fourth in the Big Ten with 1.1 sacks per game in five contests this season. He also sits No. 5 in the conference and No. 19 nationally in tackles for loss per game with a 1.5 average. Gross-Matos was named to the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week second team for his performance against Buffalo (9.7). He has a pair of games with 2.0 or more sacks this season (Idaho, Purdue) and three games with 2.0 tackles for loss or more (Idaho, Maryland, Purdue).
Clifford has been off to a hot start, leading the Big Ten and ranking 14th in FBS with 288.6 passing yards per game. He is also atop the conference standings in yards per completion (16.03), total yards per game (328.6). Clifford has 12 passing touchdowns and a pair of rushing scores. He was named the Rose Bowl Big Ten Player of the Week following the Purdue game and was the Co-Big Ten Player of the Week following the Maryland contest. He has thrown for 200 or more yards in all five of his career starts. In the first half at Maryland, Clifford broke the Penn State record for passing yards in a half with 287 yards. His 398 passing yards against the Terps is third in program history in a game.