It’s time for our annual season top 10! Each summer, the staff votes on its top 10 players ahead of the upcoming season. A first place vote is worth 10 points, second place is worth nine points, and so on. Because of a tie in voting, there is no number seven in this year’s countdown.
How He Got Here
Shaka Toney appeared in 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2017, earning All-Freshman Team honors from BTN.com. His two standout performances were a one-sack, two-TFL evening against Georgia State, and a two-sack and forced fumble effort versus Northwestern. Toney continued to produce in 2018 despite not entering the starting rotation, appearing in 13 games and tying a program record with four sacks at Indiana, all four of those coming in the fourth quarter.
Last season, Toney became a starter and was named second team All-Big Ten by the coaches. The then-redshirt junior registered two sacks in the first three games of the year, and followed that up with two sacks against Purdue, a blocked field goal against Michigan State, a fumble recovery against Minnesota, and a pass breakup in the Cotton Bowl versus Memphis. He had an opportunity to enter the NFL Draft, but decided to return to Penn State, to the delight of Nittany Nation.
What to Expect in 2020
As a fifth-year senior this fall, Toney will be counted on to provide leadership off of the field, as well as steady production on the field. He should combine with Jayson Oweh, Adisa Isaac, Shane Simmons, and the rest of the defensive ends to form a strong and athletic pass rush. Expect Toney to post at least six sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 2020 as one of the anchors of the defensive line. More than that won’t...Shaka me.