With another Penn State sports season just ahead, and all of the surprises it may bring yet revealed, we take a look back at some of our favorite athletes to watch over the years. Each person was asked to name their favorite five, not necessarily the best players but their favorite to watch.
Here is what we had to say:
BScaff-1. Grade School: Curt Warner. Curt was my first Penn State hero. I’m too old and stupid now to remember specifics. But I remember that.
2. Junior High: Shane Conlan / Trey Bauer. With puberty comes testosterone, and with testosterone comes linebacker-ing. Conlan was All-Everything, and a natural hero to youth like me. But Bauer was a complete psycho, and man - did I ever love that about him.
3 + 4. Your hero worship changes as you age. Ideally, it matures beyond run fast / jump high / punch people in the face really hard. I can’t say whether that’s my case or not. Probably, it isn’t. Whatever. Jeff Hartings and Kerry McCoy. Both men of God. Both fanatically dedicated to the futile pursuit of perfection in their chosen fields. Both achingly close to attaining it, actually, but still, ultimately, human. Which is to say, imperfect. And yet, metaphysical wow.
5. All of the Cael era wrestlers. Finally, when you get older than dirt, as I now am (in blogger years), you think of models for kids to follow, should you have any. Q, Taylor, Ruth, Frank, Nico, Morg, Hulk Hands, Zain, Nolf, Bo, Marky, Meatball, Nickly - Cael’s PSU Wrestling program is a veritable industrial production plant of grateful, humble, high achievers. Why would you send your kids anywhere else?
1- Paul Posluszney- The 2005 season was my favorite as a Penn State fan, and Poz was just a joy to watch. Always making plays, always making life difficult for the offenses, it was like there were three or 4 #31s on the field. The image of him with blood pouring down his face in the classic blue and white uniforms still defines Linebacker U. for me.
2- Courtney Brown- I wanted to be just like Brown as a high school football player. I especially related to the “Quiet Storm” as someone who played with a more focused intensity instead of being a naturally “rah rah” type. I even changed my number to 86. Unfortunately, that’s about where the similarities end.
3- Saquon Barkley - It was pure joy to watching Barkley rip off one of his trademark “did that just happen??” runs. Even when you came to expect it to happen, it was still mesmorizing to watch his twist, turn, spin and sprint past everyone to the end zone.
4- Tamba Hali - I have an affinity for disruptive defensive linemen who make plays in the backfield, and outside of Brown, no one took over a game like Hali.
5- Talor Battle - There was always a chance with Battle on the court. I don’t know how many times I leaped off the couch and nearly slammed my head into the ceiling after one of those shots when he spotted up a good 10 feet from the three-point line.
Lando- 1-Megan Hodge 2-David Taylor 3- Eric McCoo 4-Kelly Mazzante
Marty- 1-Poz 2-Trace 3-Talor Battle 4-Michael Robinson 5-Saquon
Clay- 1-David Taylor 2-Tamba Hali 3-Micha Hancock 4-MRob
Chris- 1-Bobby Engram. Engram was my first PSU football hero. I had admired other players but since I was an aspiring wide receiver, Engram was always on my radar. Engram played in 12 games as a true freshman but then sat out 1992 due to disciplinary reasons. He came back in 1993 with 48 catches and 13 touchdowns. Still one of the best I’ve seen in a Penn State jersey.
2- Joe Crispin. Crispin led the team to its only Sweet 16 appearance since 1955, winning two games in one tournament. The team has only played one tournament game in the 18 years since, sadly.
3- Sean Lee. It seemed like he was always in the right place, somewhere near the ball. His 84 assist tackles led the NCAA in 2007, to go along with 54 solo tackles. He only played three seasons for the Lions, over a five year period, and still made many memories.
4- Trace McSorley. He set plenty of records but he wasn’t the most physically gifted player we’ve ever seen at the quarterback position. McSorley was one of the smartest players that I’ve ever seen play quarterback for Penn State, able to make the correct read nearly every time. His competitiveness, and toughness, will always be remembered.
5- Tommy Olczyk. Tommy was a true ambassador to the Penn State hockey program. First he was on the club team, then made the transition to Division 1 with the rest of the program, becoming a captain. He then relinquished the C on his sweater for his final season, something only a true leader could do. He was exactly what the team needed during the early years in D1; a competitor, a great leader, and a positive influence in the locker room.
So dear reader, who are your five favorite Penn State players of all time? You can share them in the comment section, give us the names, add some reasons why you chose the five players if you’d like. Or just give us the names if that’s more your style, you don’t owe us an explanation.