Awards season isn’t quite over for Penn football.
A week after coach Ray Priore was named Ivy League Coach of the Year, two Penn players — senior linebacker Tyler Drake and sophomore wide receiver Justin Watson — have been announced as two of the four finalists for the Asa S. Bushnell Cup. Watson joins Harvard senior quarterback Scott Hosch as a finalist for Offensive Player of the Year, while Drake and Dartmouth senior linebacker Will McNamara are the finalists on the defensive side.
The last time a Penn player was honored with the Bushnell Cup — which honors the Ancient Eight’s players of the year each season — was in 2009, when linebacker Jake Lewko shared the award with Brown wide receiver Buddy Farnham. The award will be announced on Monday, Dec. 7 at 12:30 p.m. with a press conference and reception at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
Watson, a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection, finished the season as the Ivy League’s leader in all major receiving categories and has already made a dent in Penn’s career receiving records through his first two seasons. The sophomore from Bridgeville, Pa., already ranks seventh all-time at Penn in receptions and receiving yards with 116 and 1,579, respectively, and stands at eighth in career receiving touchdowns with 11.
“You could see during his freshman year that he was going to be something special,” Priore said earlier in the season.
Meanwhile, Drake has been a disruptive force on the defensive side of the ball for the Quakers all season. The senior pass rusher led the league in sacks (8.5), tackles for a loss (12.5) and forced fumbles (4), while also tallying a pair of interceptions and a team-high 80 tackles.
“When your hardest workers are your really good players, that’s a really good thing,” Priore said in late October. “You’ve seen that rebirth and re-energization on that side on the ball thanks to a lot of the plays that Tyler has made.”
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