As a former walk-on, Matt McGloin spent his entire Penn State career with a chip on his shoulder.
The quarterback had to earn a scholarship at Penn State, and then work his way up the depth chart before he prospered in coach Bill O’Brien’s offense this season. McGloin had a breakout season in 2012, and was rewarded for it Monday, when he was named the recipient of this year’s Burlsworth Trophy, an honor given out to the country’s best player who began his collegiate career as a walk-on.
A fifth-year senior, McGloin beat out Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs and San Jose State offensive lineman David Quessenberry for the award and accepted it at a ceremony in Springdale, Ark.
“It is great for the university,” McGloin said in a statement released by Penn State. “It’s a great honor. I wouldn’t have been able to be here without the support of my family, teammates, coaches and fans. It’s really because of those people that I am where I am today and am able to win such a prestigious award.”
The Scranton product finished the season with a Big Ten-best 3,266 passing yards, as well as 29 touchdowns (24 passing, five rushing), only five interceptions and a 60.5 completion percentage. McGloin had to win his job in the spring after splitting time with former Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden last season, but O’Brien said the more he got to know McGloin the more he realized he had a strong skill set.
The 6-foot-1 signal caller became the third winner in the short history of the Burlsworth Trophy as he joined Southern Mississippi’s Austin Davis and Sean Bedford of Georgia Tech. The award’s selection committee included legendary coaches Dan Reeves and Frank Broyles.
McGloin — who was tabbed as an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection last week — leaves Penn State as its all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 46 and also set school single-season records this campaign in completions (270) and yards (3,266).
O’Brien and Stankiewitch both named finalists
While McGloin won an award, O’Brien and senior center Matt Stankiewitch both took a step closer to honors of their own.
O’Brien was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. He is one of nine finalists in a field that also includes the likes of Nortre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and Urban Meyer from Ohio State.
The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator led Penn State to an 8-4 record through a turbulent offseason, which included NCAA sanctions and the loss of nine players who transferred. O’Brien was named the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year last week.
Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno won the award named for the Grambling coaching legend in 1982 and 1986. This recipient of this year’s honor will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 13.
Meanwhile, Stankiewitch is a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s top center.
The senior is one of six finalists for the trophy and is joined by Alabama’s Barrett Jones, the 2011 winner of the Outland Trophy (nation’s best interior lineman).
Stankiewitch was in the middle of a Penn State offensive line which helped turn Zach Zwinak into a 1,000-yard rusher and allowed less than two sacks per game. Last week, Stankiewitch was named a first-team All-Big Ten pick by conference coaches and a second-team selection by the media.
The winner of this season’s Rimington Trophy will be announced on Jan. 12, 2013.