Senior safety Ji’Ayir Brown was named as Penn State’s 2022 MVP following a standout season where he led the team in tackles, interceptions and forced fumbles.
Brown was the Nittany Lions most consistent performer from week-to-week, offering a standout performance in each game as well as several momentum-swinging plays that helped pave the way for a 10-2 regular season.
True freshmen running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen were named co-MVPs of the offense after helping revamp Penn State’s ground attack. The duo immediately breathed life into the offense, helping the unit to become much more balanced than the past two seasons. Singleton lead the team with 941 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns (10 rushing, one receiving, one kickoff return), while Allen was not far behind with 830 yards rushing and 10 scores (nine rushing, one receiving).
Joey Porter Jr. was honored as Defensive MVP for his efforts in leading one of the nation’s top passing defenses, as well as one of the overall best secondary units in program history. Porter Jr. tied a Big Ten single-game record with six pass breakups in the week one thriller against Purdue. Quarterbacks didn’t look his direction much the remainder of the season. Porter Jr. was forced out of action toward the end of the year, and has opted out of the Rose Bowl as he prepares to be a likely first round selection in the NFL Draft.
Former tight end and tackle Garry Gilliam returned to Happy Valley to be honored with the Alumni Athlete Award. Gilliam was a member of the football squad from 2009 through 2013, where he played tight end before switching to offensive tackle in his fifth year. The move was a major benefit to an offensive line that was hindered by scholarship sanctions. Gilliam went on to play tackle for five seasons in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Gilliam’s most memorable NFL highlight was a receiving touchdown on a fake field goal in the 2014 NFC Chmapionship Game, which launched a remarkable come-from-behind victory for the Seahawks over the Packers.
A complete list of honorees from the 2022 Penn State Football Annual Awards Banquet:
- Captain’s Award: S Ji’Ayir Brown, QB Sean Clifford, DT PJ Mustipher, OL Juice Scruggs, LS Chris Stoll, LB Jonathan Sutherland
- Public Service Award: DT Dvon Ellies
- Developmental Squad Special Teams Player of the Year: WR Jan Mahlert
- Developmental Squad Defensive Player of the Year: LB Keon Wylie, DE Jake Wilson
- Developmental Squad Offensive Player of the Year: OL Jim Fitzgerald, WR Jan Mahlert
- Outstanding Run-On Award: LB Dominic DeLuca, RB Tank Smith
- Dick Maginnis Memorial Award (Outstanding OL): OL Olumuyiwa Fashanu
- Reid Robinson Award (Outstanding DL): DE Adisa Isaac, DE Chop Robinson
- Iron Lion (Strength & Conditioning Award): S Ji’Ayir Brown
- Tim Shaw Thrive Award (Student-athlete who has overcome adversities and been an inspiration to fellow teammates): OL Bryce Effner, DT PJ Mustipher
- Bob Mitinger Memorial Award (Ultimate Teammate): TE Brenton Strange, LB Curtis Jacobs
- Ridge Riley Memorial Award (Core Values Award): OL Juice Scruggs, LB Jonathan Sutherland, WR Mitchell Tinsley
- Highest Academic Average (Cumulative GPA): WR Jan Mahlert
- Nittany Lion Club Award (Senior with highest GPA): P Barney Amor
- John Bruno Memorial Award (Outstanding Special Teams): WR Malick Meiga
- Most Valuable Offensive Player: RB Kaytron Allen, RB Nicholas Singleton
- Most Valuable Defensive Player: CB Joey Porter Jr
- Team Most Valuable Player: S Ji’Ayir Brown
- Lions Pride Outstanding Senior Player Award: QB Sean Clifford, DT PJ Mustipher, DE Nick Tarburton
- Quarterback Club Award: S Sebastian Costantini, DT Alex Furmanek, LB Charlie Katshir, TE Grayson Kline, K Jake Pinegar, LB Cody Romano, S Jaden Seider, CB Marquis Wilson
- Keystone Award: LB Abdul Carter, CB Kalen King, OL Juice Scruggs