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Nicholas Singleton Named Big Ten Freshman of the Year

The breakout star picked up more hardware as he helped Penn State’s offense find its balance in 2022.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Michigan State at Penn State Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nicholas Singelton entered Penn State as the reigining Gatorade High School Player of the Year and the top running back in the nation. He’s finishing up his first year with another major honor - being named the top freshman in the Big Ten for the 2022 season.

Singleton was a major contributor to the offense since week one, when he led the team with 10 carries in the victory at Purdue. He broke out the next two games, amassing 303 yards and four touchdowns on the ground against Ohio and Auburn. Both games featured long touchdown runs that displayed Singleton’s track star acceleration once he sees a lane.

The early success made defenses key on stopping him, which may have briefly slowed down his production. However, it proved to be a blessing in disguise as it helped Singleton develop a more patient and effective running style rather than swinging for the fences with each handoff.

The offene would rely more and more on Singleton and fellow true freshman Kaytron Allen as the season continued, especially following the loss of Keyvone Lee.

One of Singleton’s biggest games of the season came against Minnesota in the White Out, as an ABC prime time audience got a taste of the budding superstar as he as he ripped off two touchdown runs. He had another standout performance in front of the Beaver Stadium crowd a few weeks later, rushing for 122 and two scores on just 11 carries. Both touchdowns came from Singleton breaking free on fourth and one.

The next week would see Singleton break free for a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown, where he made one cut and outraced all 11 members of the Rutgers kickoff unit.

Singleton finished just shy of the 1,000 yard mark in the regular season, with 941 yards on an impressive 6.3 yards per carry average. He gained 1,026 yards from scrimmage when including his 85 receiving yards, and contributed 12 touchdowns - 10 on the ground, one reception and one kickoff return.