This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
Geez. Where to start with this one? I don't know how to pick just one favorite player. It's like asking me which one of my sons I love more. So this is just going to be a rambling collection of names, memories and thoughts. Freestyle blogging at its best.
As everyone knows, Penn State players have no name on their jersey. So when I was a kid it was hard to keep track of all the players. I pretty much had one or two favorite players on offense and one favorite player on defense. The first players I adored were D.J. Dozier, John Shaffer, and Shane Conlan. Not only were they key cogs in the 1986 national championship team, they were hard-nosed players that epitomized everything Penn State football stood for.
Skipping ahead a few years after that, Blair Thomas and Tony Sacca come to mind as two players I loved to watch play. Thomas was a master of the spin move and cut back and was a lot of fun to watch. Tony Sacca was just tough. You pitied the wide receiver that dropped a pass he threw on target. Sacca would run down the field and chew him out all the way back to the huddle. I remember one play against Notre Dame where a defensive end dove at him and grabbed onto his ankle. Sacca just stood tall and threw the pass for the completion. Then he ripped his ankle free from the defender's grasp and gave him this look like, "Please, is that all you got?" He had that classic swagger you love to see in your quarterback.
The 1994 team was full of players to love. Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter, Mike Archie, Kyle Brady, Bobby Engram, and Freddie Scott made up the greatest offense Penn State has ever seen.
LaVar Arrington will probably always be my favorite Penn State linebacker. Old timers will say he was no Jack Ham, and younger guys will say Poz, Connor, and Lee were more dependable, but I have never seen a single player alter a football game the way Arrington could. I saw Lawrence Taylor play for the Giants, and LaVar was on that level in the college game.
Now I'm getting to the point where I want to wrap this up and there are still a ton of players I wanted to mention. O.J. McDuffie, Michael Robinson, Paul Posluszny, Sean Lee, Daryll Clark, and Tamba Hali were all favorite players of mine. These are just the players I saw play. I've read about a bunch of players I wish I could have seen play. Shorty Miller, John Cappelletti, Jack Ham, Dennis Onkotz, Mike Reid, Dave Robinson, Lenny Moore, Greg Buttle, Trey Bauer, Todd Blackledge, and Curt Warner are just a few of them.
I'm sure I left someone off the list that is going to make me kick myself right after I post this. So go ahead and grill me, and tell me who your favorite players are.