Now that Penn State is under attack in the press, it is appropriate to consider the enormous contribution the school has made to college football.
For a generation, Penn State has developed men of character who have made great contributions to our society, and provided some of the most exciting players and games the world has ever seen.
This article is based on three classic books, which are listed as sources.
THE LOCAL PLAYER
1: Tom Oldziejewski, OG (1974-77): I went to high school with Tom and I thought he would have a great career at Penn State and then the NFL. Unfortunately, Tom got into trouble, into coach Joe Paterno's dog house, and he never really got out of it.
Tom persevered, however, played on special teams, graduated from Penn State, and went on to enjoy a successful career. This story illustrates the legacy of coach Joe Paterno. He took young teenagers and turned them into real men of character who went on to make great contributions to our society.
2: Chuck Fusina, QB (1976-78): He had a great but frustrating career. He took Penn State to the brink of a national championship but could not win one.
3: Todd Blackledge, QB (1980-82):He became the starting quarterback in his sophomore year. A very productive quarterback who led the Nittany Lions to their first national title. He went on to enjoy a successful career in football.
4: Kerry Collins, QB (1991-94): His senior year was the greatest year by a quarterback in the history of the school.
5: John Cappelletti, RB (1971-73): He won the Heisman Trophy and the heart of the nation. In his acceptance speech for the Heisman Trophy, he dedicated it to his younger brother Joey, who was dying of cancer. He enjoyed an incredible senior year, as he averaged over 5 yards a carry.
6: Curt Warner, RB (1979-82): He is the leading rusher in Penn State history, as he gained 3,398 yards.
7: Blair Thomas, RB (1985-89): He had an outstanding career at Penn State, ranks third in rushing yards, and, in 1989, he finished 10th in the Heisman voting.
8: Ki-Jana Carter, RB (1992-94): Carter had incredible speed and he was very strong. Penn State fans remember his remarkable run in the 1995 Rose Bowl. On the very first play from scrimmage, he crashed through the right side of the line and outran the entire Oregon defense for an 83-yard touchdown.
9: Curtis Ennis, RB (1995 -97): He did things the hard way and ran through tacklers instead of around them.
10: Charlie Pittman, RB (1966-69):He is part of the era of frustration when Penn State would achieve undefeated seasons and still not win the national championship. A fast running back, he helped Penn State go undefeated in 1968 and 1969
11: Larry Johnson, RB (2000-02):He was an angry young man and a fierce competitor and he played every game with a chip on his shoulder. He is the first running back to gain over 2,000 yards in a season in the history of the Big Ten..
12: Lydell Mitchell, Rb (1969-71): A speedy running back who made great plays and set school records.
13: Franco Harris, RB (1969-71): He was a complete running back as he was big, fast, and strong. Penn State Nation and the rest of the world still marvels at the "Immaculate Reception" he made with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
14: D.J. Dozier, RB (1983-86): One of the best all-around running backs in the history of the school. He is a member of the 2,000-yard rushers club, and, in 1986, he finished 8th in the Heisman Trophy voting.
15: Jack Ham, LB (1968-71): He made an astonishing number of tackles at Penn State and was a consensus All-American. The only Nittany Lion to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
16: Greg Buttle, LB (1972-75): He made the most tackles in the history of Penn State.
17: Ed O'Neil, LB (1970-73): He is a converted defensive back who played a key role in holding the first six opponents in 1973 to just 32 points!
18: Shane Conlan, LB (1984-87): In his last two seasons, Penn State went an astonishing 23-1. His interception in the fourth quarter of the 1987 Fiesta Bowl turned the game around and Penn State won the game and the national title.
19: Andre Collins, LB (1986-89): A great sideline-to-sideline linebacker who blocked three kicks in his senior year.
20: LaVar Arrington, LB (1997-99): A superior athlete who took many chances, made great plays, and frequently made coach Paterno nervous.
21: Paul Posluszny, LB (2003-06): Some consider him the best linebacker in school history. He had a great understanding of the game, always seemed to be around the ball, and he had the speed to close down a play.
22: Bobby Engram, R (1993-95): The greatest receiver in Penn State history. Holds the records for most catches and yards.
23: Ted Kwalick, TE (1966-68): He was a great pass catcher and blocker. His great play helped win games and established Joe Paterno as the long-term coach at Penn State.
24: Matt Millen, DT (1976-79): A great player who had legendary conflicts with coach Paterno.
25: Bruce Clark, DT (1976-79): He teamed up with Matt Millen to form one of the greatest defensive lines in Penn State history.
As a citizen of Pennsylvania, I have been a fan all my life. As previously discussed, I have a classmate who played football at the school, and I have two nephews who graduated from the institution.
Matt Herb,Game Day Penn State Football, Triumph Books
Ken Rappoport & Barry Wilner, Penn State Football,
Centre Daily Times, 40 years of the Joe Paterno Era at Penn State,