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.
Reminder: This is a Top 10 for how the players will produce this season. It’s not just based on what they have done in their career up to this point. Instead, it’s how we think they will play this coming season.
HOW HE GOT HERE
One of the most highly-touted prospects to sign with Penn State since the turn of the century, Singleton chose the Nittany Lions over a host of other offers from schools like Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Alabama. He wasted no time getting his college career started, graduating early from Governor Mifflin High School and enrolling early at Penn State to take part in spring practice and winter workouts — which, no surprise, he impressed right away.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2022
This is the tough part because no matter how talented a prospect is, you never know what they are going to do their freshman season. It takes a lot of things — talent, opportunity, situation, luck, etc. — to hit right for even the most talented of a true freshman to breakthrough for an immediate impact. I think that’s even doubly true here at Penn State, where James Franklin has cautioned on the side of patience when it comes to a true frosh getting starter level snaps right away — i.e. Saquon Barkley’s one carry against Temple in 2015, or Micah Parsons backup role to Koa Farmer in 2018.
The reason Singleton is on this list though is because we here at BSD think a lot of those factors are likely to align. Singleton’s talent can’t be questioned; he’s a chiseled 6-foot-0, 219 pounds, and has been putting up freaky strength and speed numbers since he was a sophomore in high school. Although it is a major step up from Governor Mifflin’s competition to the Big Ten, Singleton checks the boxes from a physical and athletic perspective.
The opportunity/situation factor is a little more complicated. Keyvone Lee led the Nittany Lions in rushing last year, but it was a part of a platoon along with the departed Noah Cain and John Lovett. Penn State also still has Devyn Ford (who has quietly accumulated 133 carries over the last three seasons) and Caziah Holmes, a class of 2022 signee just like Lee.
Stacked running back room? Not exactly. But the Nittany Lions are returning a solid, productive back in Lee who turned chicken-you-know-what into chicken salad a lot of the time last year. That has to count for something, because as mentioned above, Franklin usually airs on the side of caution when it comes to true freshman jumping the depth chart.
All that being said, I don’t think this will be a case of Lee getting all the carries. More likely than not, this will once again be a multiple back system so the likelihood that Singleton gets the opportunity is high. And really, for someone as talented as Singleton, that opportunity might just be all he needs to take that job by the horns.