‘Tis the season for college football postseason accolades, and the Nittany Lions were well-represented on the All-Big Ten defensive and special teams lists.
Penn State had two players earn first-team honors in safety Marcus Allen (coaches) and kick returner Saquon Barkley (coaches and media). Allen had an outstanding senior campaign as one of the primary leaders on defense. He finished the regular season with 65 tackles (second on the team behind linebacker Jason Cabinda), four TFLs, one sack, one interception, three breakups and two forced fumbles. He also had a memorable safety to help seal the week two victory against Pitt.
Barkley finished with a 28.4 yard average per kickoff return, which included two touchdowns- both on opening kickoffs against Indiana and Ohio State. He proved so dangerous that teams often conceded field position with short kicks to keep the ball out of Barkley’s hands.
Cornerback Amani Oruwariye, punter Blake Gillikin, punt returner DeAndre Thompkins and Cabinda were all named to the second-team by the coaches. The media also selected Oruwariye and Gillikin to the second team, with Thompkins and defensive end Shareef Miller earning third-team honors.
The coaches gave honorable mention accolades to cornerback Christian Campbell, defensive tackle Curtis Cothran, cornerback Grant Haley and Miller. The media named safety Troy Apke, defensive tackle Parker Cothren, Cabinda, Campbell and Haley to the honorable mention list.
Senior linebacker Brandon Smith received the team’s sportsmanship award.
The Big Ten will announce offensive honors on Wed., Nov. 29 and individual award winners on Wed., Nov. 30.