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July 14, 2010

Top 25 Countdown: #25 Penn State


2009 Record – 11-2, 6-2 Big Ten
Bowl Game – Capital One Bowl – Beat #13 LSU 19-17
Letterman Returning: 37
Stadium – Beaver Stadium (107,282)
College Location – State College, Pennsylvania
Coach – Joe Paterno 394 – 129 – 3 (45 Years)


Key Returnees – RB Evan Royster (below), G Steve Wisniewski, WR Derek Moye, WR Graham Zug

Key Losses – QB Daryll Clark, TE Andrew Quarless, OT Dennis Landolt

-Unlike most Penn State offenses, last year’s team revolved around the arm of Daryll Clark’s accurate passing. Clark has since moved on and the offense will take a turn from relying on the arm of the Clark, to the legs of senior running back Evan Royster. Royster brought in 1,169 yards last season, with a 5.7 average. Replacing Clark will be heralded sophomore, Kevin Newsome. Newsome played sparingly last season with just 11 pass attempts for 66 yards. Like Clark, however, Newsome has the ability to make things happen with his legs, rushing for 95 yards and two scores last season. A talented group of wide receivers lies in wake for Newsome in senior Graham Zug, junior Derek Moye, and sophomore Curtis Drake – one of the fastest players in the Big Ten. In the past, Royster has proven he can carry a heavy load and along with speedy junior tailback Stephan Green, that is exactly what will be the story of the 2010 Nittany Lion offense, especially with a young quarterback on hand.


Key Returnees – S Drew Astorino (below), DE Jack Crawford, S Nick Sukay, DT Ollie Ogbu,

Key Losses – LB Navaorro Bowman, LB Sean Lee, LB Josh Hull, DT Jared Odrick

-This season “Linebacker U” turns into “Linebacker Who?” The likes of all three starting linebackers depart from last season’s team. With those three ‘backers gone – Bowman, Lee, & Hull – are also 295 tackles and 36.5tackles for loss. Filling the void at linebacker will most likely be senior Chris Colasanti in the middle, along with senior Bani Gbadyu and junior Nate Stupar on the outside. Sophomore linebacker Mike Yancich could be a star in the making and is a player to keep an eye on. The secondary loses one starter, in corner A.J. Wallace. As a whole, the defensive backfield starters will need to bring in more takeaways, as just a combined four interceptions from the 2009 season rest on the shoulders of the 2010 starters. The loss of first round pick Jared Odrick hurts the defensive line, but with the return of junior Jack Crawford at end and senior Ollie Ogbu at tackle, a solid group remains intact.


Like a lot of Big Ten schools, a tough out of conference schedule can be hard to sometimes find. With a trip to defending National Champion Alabama on Sept. 11, however, that can be laid to rest this season for the Nittany Lions, even with the likes of Kent State and Temple on hand. PSU also plays the “big three” of the Big Ten – or what may be now the “big two and questionable one,” – in at Iowa Oct. 2, Michigan at home on Oct. 30 and at Ohio State, Nov. 13. A tough test against Michigan State lies in the final game of the season on Nov. 27.

Schedule rating: B

Red = Toughest Game. Blue = Pivotal to conference.

Top Incoming Freshman:

1.) Paul Jones, #3 QB, 6-3 220, Mc Kees Rocks, PA

Jones may push Newsome for starting spot if the slated number one starts to implode.

2.) Mike Hull, #1 MLB, 6-0 220, Canonsburg, PA

A U.S. Army All American, Hull was Penn State’s first commit to the class of ’10, back in November of 2008.

3.) Robert Bolden, #8 QB, 6-4 200, Orchard Lake, MI (below)

Like Jones, Bolden could see playing time in the near future. Bolden is a pocket passer with ability to run.

4.) Khairi Fortt, #11 OLB, 6-2 220, Stamford, CT

Fortt is an under rated linebacker with 4.5 speed and will team with Hull in the future to form a tremendous duo.

5.) Silas Redd, #7 RB, 5-10 190, Stamford, CT

Redd is an elusive runner with superb agility. Will be one to watch when Royster departs.

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All writing and views subject to © Drew P. Kochanny, All Rights Reserved. Photo's credited to rights owner.