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
He ran. Nicholas Singleton set a school record 12 touchdowns his freshman season. His 1,000-yard season put him in elite company, becoming the third true freshman to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season (Saquon Barkley and D.J. Dozier are the other two). He, along with Kaytron Allen, became the first true freshman duo in Big Ten history to eclipse 700 rushing yards in a season. He’s one of seven Nittany Lion running backs with at least five multi-touchdown games in a single season. There are plenty of other records set by Singleton (like the 87-yard touchdown run in the Rose Bowl, the second longest in the bowl’s history, behind, you know it, Saquon Barkley), but these exemplify how much of a presence Singleton was as soon as he stepped foot on campus.
At season’s end, Singleton was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, AP Big Ten Newcomer of the Year, FWAA Freshman All-American (as an all-purpose player), ESPN.com, On3 and 247Sports True Freshman All-American, and much, much more.
What to expect in 2023
The words “Saquon Barkley” are uttered with a certain amount of deference around these parts, with the understanding that you don’t just compare every random player to one of the best the school has ever had, but with Singleton, the comparison might be apt. Singleton stands to do everything Barkley did in his sophomore season, and then some. And, like Barkley, he has another player ready to step up, making sure Singleton is always fresh and ready to run past oncoming defenders.
With a young quarterback and an offensive line that no longer poses to be a liability, Singleton will be the main focus of the offense, allowing him to build on the already outstanding freshman season he had. I won’t say it, but don’t be surprised if the H-word gets thrown around at some point this season.