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Penn State Defensive Ends on Lott IMPACT Watchlist

Penn State defensive end Abdul Carter tackles Mississippi running back Quinshon Judkins
© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State defensive ends, Abdul Carter (a former linebacker) and Dani Dennis-Sutton, have each been listed on the watchlist for the 2024 Lott IMPACT Trophy. 

A total of 42 players, including 13 defensive linemen, were listed as players to watch in the upcoming season to potentially win the award, given to the defensive player on a team who contributes the biggest impact both on and off the field.

Abdul Carter

Carter had a productive 2023 season where he played in all 13 of the Nittany Lions’ games and finished the year tied for the third-most total tackles on the team with 49, including 4.5 tackles for loss.

The incoming junior was named the All-Big Ten Conference first team by the conference’s coaches and All-Big Ten second team by the media, along with winning Penn State's Keystone Award on defense with Kevin Winston Jr.

A major change will come for Carter during the 2024 season as he has opted to shift from linebacker to defensive end, with coach James Franklin saying that it is “a different world the closer you get to the ball,” but Carter is one of the few players who can make the move.

“We knew he was gonna be a really good player wherever he decided to play," said Franklin, according to The Athletic. "But this wasn’t really something from us. This was Abdul really wanting to make this move for a number of reasons."

Dani Dennis-Sutton

Despite starting just three games in the 2024 season, Dennis-Sutton played in every Penn State game and compiled 3.5 sacks for a combined loss of 29 yards.

Penn State Lott Trophy

Dennis-Sutton also finished the season with 17 total tackles and 6 tackles for loss, which was the fourth-most of any player on the team.

In addition to making tackles, Dennis-Sutton was tied for the most forced fumbles on the team with two, while also recovering one of the fumbles in a win against Rutgers University.

Plays similar to these helped Dennis-Sutton be named to the All-Big Ten third team by coaches and honorable mention by the media.

Nittany Lions Lott Trophy Outlook

With two of Penn State’s most impactful defensive linemen, Demeioun “Chop” Robinson and Adisa Isaac, selected in the NFL Draft, Carter and Dennis-Sutton will each have an opportunity for an increased snap count during the 2024 season.

This snap count could help propel either of these players to serious consideration for the 2024 Lott IMPACT Trophy, named after NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.

IMPACT is the only major college football award that takes the character of a player into account and stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

The Lott IMPACT is voted on by a voter panel comprised of former winners, media members, coaches and members of the Board of Directors of the IMPACT Foundation, with the winner of the award being announced on Dec. 8.


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