Tight end Dakota Royer looks to block downfield during Penn State's annual Blue-White Game. (BSD/Mike Pettigano)
Most tight ends don't wear the number 32, but since Dakota Royer spent the last two seasons at linebacker the number makes sense. One of the most significant position changes prior to spring practice brought Dakota Royer to tight end. The Nittany Lions will employ at least two different tight end positions and the coaching staff feels Royer's skills, speed and hands could allow him to be a contributor in the passing game this fall. He made very good strides in spring drills and off-season strength and conditioning and could earn significant time in the tight end rotation. During Royer's junior and senior seasons at Manheim Central High School, he made 86 catches for more than 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is on schedule to graduate in May.
32 is by far my favorite Penn State number as some of the best running backs wore the famed number. Ki-Jana Carter, and Matt Suhey wore 32 all four years of their Penn State careers. For my money though, one of the best running backs to play for Penn State was #32 Blair Thomas. Thomas graduated in '89 and finished second on the Nittany Lion’s all-time rushing list with 3,301 yards and 21 touchdowns, just 97 yards shy of the Penn State record set by Curt Warner. Thomas was the Most Valuable Player of the 1989 Holiday Bowl, setting a record with 35 carries for 186 yards. He was also the Most Valuable Player of the Senior Bowl. I vividly remember Thomas' senior season he was Penn State's offense. Everyone in the stadium from the opposing coaches down to the water boys knew Thomas was getting the ball but defenses were unable to stop him. Of the teams' 3158 yards that season, Thomas' 1342 yards were 43% of the total offense.
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