Four more Panthers named to preseason awards watch lists


Sophomore DB Jordan Whitehead is a preseason candidate for the Bednarik Award and the Nagurski Award. Meghan Sunners | Senior Staff Photographer

By Steve Rotstein / Sports Editor

Pitt had four more players selected to prestigious preseason awards watch lists on Thursday and Friday.

Junior punter Ryan Winslow was selected on Thursday to the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation’s best punter. Winslow is coming off back-to-back seasons of more than 40 yards per punt attempt, averaging 40.1 yards per punt in 2014 before raising his average to 41.1 as a sophomore in 2015.

Sophomore defensive back Jordan Whitehead was named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list as a candidate for National Defensive Player of the Year Friday, three days after being tabbed for the Chuck Bednarik Award along with senior defensive end Ejuan Price.

Whitehead became an impact player as soon as he arrived at Pitt, leading the team with 109 total tackles in 2015 –– a school record for a true freshman. He added six tackles for loss, six pass breakups, one interception and a 22-yard fumble recovery touchdown, while also rushing 12 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns on offense.

His breakout season garnered Whitehead recognition as ACC Rookie of the Year, the first defensive player to win the award since 1996.

Also Friday, Senior offensive linemen Adam Bisnowaty and Dorian Johnson were both named to to the Outland Trophy watch list, given to the nation’s top interior lineman. Both have achieved recognition for their play in 2015, as Bisnowaty was first team All-ACC last season while Johnson made the second team.

Former Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, now an NFL All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams, captured the Nagurski Trophy and the Outland Trophy in 2013. Legendary offensive lineman Mark May is the only other Panther to win the Outland Trophy, which he took home in 1980.

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