Penn State has gone from being a team many thought would struggle to compete for as long as a decade, if not more, to a team that has already won a Big Ten championship and is good enough to compete for more. Many of the players who took the field today are the reason the Nittany Lions are in this position.
Some of these Nittany Lions committed when it was not advisable to do so. Some of them stayed when they could have left. Some, seeing the vision the head coach shared, agreed to follow him to State College to restore the once proud program back to its rightful place.
Marcus Allen, who was thrown into the fire as a freshman, and became the heart and soul of the defense.
Curtis Cothran and Parker Cothren, whose law firm will go on to go a lot of good.
Troy Apke, whose outstanding play earned him a starting spot on the team.
Saeed Blacknall, who always comes with the big play when Penn State most needs it.
Christian Campbell, who is fifth in the Big Ten on pass break-ups.
Tyrell Chavis, part of a deep defensive line rotation who made life miserable for opposing offenses.
Tyler Davis, and his over 100 consecutive extra points.
Brendan Mahon, whose consistency was greatly needed.
Mike Gesicki, who became a threat from the first day he stepped foot on campus.
DaeSean Hamilton, whose name will remain on the record books
Andrew Nelson, who gave his team everything he had.
Brandon Smith, whose contributions to the linebacking corps always came when they were most needed.
Grant Haley, whose play to ensure Penn State won a Big Ten championship last season will remain entrenched in everyone’s minds for years to come.
Jason Cabinda, the difference maker and leader of the linebacking corps.
Saquon Barkley, whose humble attitude has made it that much easier to root for him for the past three years, and whose play leaves zero doubt that he’s the best player in college football.
And the rest of the outgoing players whose names may not be listed above, but whose contributions to the team are no less important.
Here’s to you!
Penn State closes out the season on the road at Maryland. Game is at 3:30 on a network to be determined.