Quarterback - Trace McSorley
This is an easy one. In the past decade, the best quarterback in Penn State Nittany Lions history spent three years leading the Nittany Lion offense. Quarterbacking this squad is Trace McSorley.
When McSorley took over for an injured Christian Hackenberg in the Gator Bowl following the 2015 season and nearly rallied Penn State to defeat Georgia, it was clear he had the potential to be special. In his Penn State career, McSorley went 31-9 as a starting quarterback. This included a Big Ten Championship, Fiesta Bowl victory and a Rose Bowl appearance.
McSorley finished his career with 9,899 passing yards and 77 passing touchdowns, both of which are Penn State records. He also owns the top two seasons in program history in passing yards and passing touchdowns. His 11,596 yards of total offense and 107 total touchdowns are both program records as well.
The magical McSorley also has the top two seasons in program history for total touchdowns and total yards. His 451 yards of total offense in a heartbreaking loss against Ohio State in 2018 is a single game program record for total yards.
Trace was a winner. Trace was a baller. Trace was the best quarterback in Penn State history, and he will quarterback the 2010s all-decade team.
Running Back - Saquon Barkley
Again, this one is easy. Saquon Barkley is arguably the best player in the history of Penn State football. So, obviously, he is the running back for the 2010s all-decade team.
When he was in college, Saquon was the best player in the FBS. Period. In his three years in Happy Valley, Saquon rushed for 3,843 yards, which is the second most in program history, and a Penn State record 43 touchdowns. This includes the most impressive touchdown run I have ever witnessed in my 28 years of life.
He also added 773 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns during his career. His 5,745 yards of total offense is the 7th most in program history and his 54 touchdowns are 4th most.
Trace and Saquon both played major roles in making Penn State a national powerhouse again. Now, they will lead the BSD all-decade team on offense.
Wide Receiver - Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton
Three players make the cut on the all-decade team at wide receiver. These three wideouts are Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin and DeaSean Hamilton.
While there is an argument to be made for KJ Hamler, this was not an overly difficult call. Robinson, Godwin and Hamilton are arguably the three best wide receivers in Penn State history. In addition, Robinson and Godwin have gone on to become two of the 10 best wide receivers in the NFL.
Hamilton is Penn State’s all-time leading receiver, Robinson ranks 3rd and Godwin is 7th. They also hold the top four seasons, and five of the top seven, in Penn State history for receptions in a single season.
Hamilton has the second most receiving yards in Penn State history (2,842), Robinson ranks 4th (2,474) and Godwin ranks 5th (2,421). Godwin and Hamilton are tied for the 4th most receiving touchdowns in program history (18) and Robinson is one behind them with 17.
Tight End - Pat Freiermuth
This one was a tough call. The two most productive tight ends in program history have played for the Nittany Lions in the past decade. But the slighted of nods goes to Pat Freiermuth.
Entering his junior season this fall, Freiermuth is arguably the best tight end in the country and a potential 1st round pick in next April’s NFL Draft. Freiermuth has already tied the guy he competed with for this spot - Mike Gesicki - for the most touchdown receptions in Penn State history by a tight end. While Gesicki was more a play maker than Freiermuth is, Moose gets the nod here due to his blocking ability and being the superior two-way tight end of the two.
Offensive Line - Stefen Wisniewski, Donovan Smith, Connor McGovern, John Urschel, Rasheed Walker
This was undoubtedly the toughest group to choose. Thanks in large part to the offensive line being the hardest hit position group by the sanctions, which led to some very poor offensive line for a big chunk of the decade. But, there will still five good ones available.
Stefen Wisniewski just sneaks onto the list having only played on season in the decade in 2010, but that still counts! In that 2010 season Wisniewski was a first-team All-American for the Nittany Lions and has since gone on to play a nine-year NFL career, winning two Super Bowl rings.
Donovan Smith was a three-year starter at left tackle for Penn State before leaving for the NFL Draft following his redshirt junior campaign in 2014. After starting 31 games in Happy Valley, Smith was a 2nd round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2015 draft. He has gone on to start 79 games for the Bucs.
The brainiac of the group is John Urschel. Prior to spending three seasons in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, Urschel was a three-year starter at Penn State. He was also a two-time all-conference performer in 2012 and 2013.
Connor McGovern pulled off the rare feat of starting on the offensive line as a true freshman. Doing so, he helped lead the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten Championship in 2016. After starting 34 games for Penn State, he left for the NFL Draft following his junior campaign and was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 3rd round.
The final spot goes to Rasheed Walker. While Walker currently has just one year under his belt in Happy Valley, he is the most talented offensive lineman Franklin has signed in the seven recruiting classes he has signed as head coach at Penn State. After a redshirt freshman campaign in 2019 that should have earned him Freshman All-American honors, Walker appears to have a long, successful NFL career ahead of him anchoring an offensive line somewhere.
Kicker - Sam Ficken
Kickin’ Sam Ficken had one of the greatest career transformations in Nittany Lion history. He went from being a liability his first year on the field in 2012, to becoming one of the most clutch, reliable kickers in the country by his 2014 senior campaign.
Ficken made 109/112 extra points in his career, and 54/75 field goals. Those field goal numbers, however, are impacted largely by him going just 15/23 his first two years on campus. His field goal percentage jumped from 65% as a freshman and sophomore, to 75% as a junior and senior. This included going 24/29 as a senior, and hitting the game-winner at the buzzer in James Franklin’s first ever game as head coach in Happy Valley.
The last three seasons Ficken has saw time in the NFL with the LA Rams and New York Jets.