5 Penn State players ranked in top 10 at their positions by PFF
Penn State is coming off a very interesting 2022-23 season.
They finished the season with an 11-2 record and as Rose Bowl winners. They also lost to archrivals Michigan and Ohio State again, missing out on the College Football Playoff for the sixth year.
Normally, an 11-2 season and New Year’s Six Bowl win is seen as a great season. But frustrations and question marks continue to surround the program as they’ve yet to prove they can get over the Michigan and Ohio State hurdle.
In the last 12 meetings, Penn State has beaten Ohio State twice. They’ve beaten Michigan four times in the last 10 meetings.
Those teams are the measuring stick in the Big Ten’s eastern division and Penn State isn’t on that tier yet.
The way to start beating those teams is to raise the level of athlete that is in the program.
Coming into the 2022 season, PFF had zero Penn State returning players ranked in the top 10 at their positions.
PFF recently put out their rankings for the 2023 season and there are five Nittany Lions ranked in the top 10.
Here are the players expected to be stars this upcoming season.
RB Nicholas Singleton
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[autotag]Nick Singleton[/autotag] comes into this season ranked seventh on the list of returning running backs. He was a five-star recruit out of high school and was an impact player his freshman year.
Singleton’s 4.6 yards after contact per attempt were the second most in the Power Five this past season, while his 6.8 yards per carry tied for fourth. He’s a home-run threat every time he touches the ball.
OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu
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It was a surprise when [autotag]Olu Fashanu[/autotag] decided to return to school. He was a projected first round pick in the 2023 draft. PFF has him ranked as the fourth returning offensive tackle coming into the season.
Like Latham, Fashanu is a dominant pass protector. Also like Latham, Fashanu didn’t allow a sack and only surrendered one hit from 281 pass-blocking snaps. His 84.7 pass-blocking grade ranked sixth among Power Five tackles. His 59.4 run-blocking grade certainly needs improvement, but he just turned 20 years old in December and has an uncoachable smoothness in pass protection.
EDGE Chop Robinson
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This will be the second season for [autotag]Chop Robinson[/autotag] at Penn State. He transferred from Maryland after his freshman season. Robinson had a breakout season in 2022 and is ranked third in returning edge rushers.
He led all Power Five edge defenders in overall grade (90.6) and pass-rushing grade (92.4). For his efforts, he was the fourth-most valuable Power Five edge defender according to PFF’s wins above average metric.
LB Abdul Carter
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The number 11 jersey for Penn State linebackers is an honor that the elite players in the program get to wear. It was certainly eyebrow-raising when it was announced [autotag]Abdul Carter[/autotag] would wear 11 as a freshman. Coming off his great 2022 season, PFF ranked him number eight on the list.
He quickly proved he deserved that honor, as his six sacks and three forced fumbles were tied for sixth among all linebackers in the country.
CB Kalen King
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Last season, [autotag]Kalen King[/autotag] was largely in the shadow of his teammate Joey Porter Jr. He was able to show what he can do during the Rose Bowl and prove he wasn’t just the other cornerback. King comes into this season as the second-ranked player at his position and the highest-ranked Penn State returner.
In single-coverage, the sophomore led all corners in the country with a 93.3 grade and 18.3 passer rating allowed. His 15 forced incompletions in single-coverage were tied for third among FBS corners as well.