Five Nittany Lions Honored To BTN’s All-Big Ten Freshman Team
The accolades continue to roll in for certain Penn State football players, and this time, it’s the young guns that get the recognition.
Safety Marcus Allen, tight end Mike Gesicki, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, offensive tackle Andrew Nelson, and punter Daniel Pasquariello have all been named to BTN.com’s All-Freshman Team. Joining their teammates are linebacker Jason Cabinda, cornerback and return man Grant Haley, wide receiver Chris Godwin, and defensive tackle Parker Cothren as honorable mentions.
DaeSean Hamilton had one of the brightest seasons of the bunch, putting up a conference leading 75 catches for 848 yards and one score, while also earning second team All-Big Ten honors. Allen was not too far behind productivity wise, as the freshman posted 52 tackles and one sack despite not recording a single statistic in the team’s first three games. Allen established himself as a hard-hitting run stuffer with a nose for the ball, and was thrust into the spotlight after senior safety Ryan Keiser went down for the season. Allen’s play as a true freshman should excite Penn State fans, as the young defensive back will only improve over time.
Gesicki and Godwin were used fairly often in Penn State’s passing scheme, and both inspired hope for the future with their play. Godwin was used mostly as a compliment to both Geno Lewis and Hamilton, lining up in both the slot and out wide. He displayed impressive hands all season, and proved that he could be trusted upon in big situations.
Gesicki received far less snaps as a result of playing behind two established playmakers in Jesse James and Kyle Carter. His versatility was put on full display during the season, as he lined up mostly out wide like a receiver. Gesicki finished the season with 11 catches for 114 yards, and looks to see an increase in playing time as he develops a good feel for the offensive system.
Andrew Nelson was a starter since day one of the 2014 season at right tackle, as he was the team’s best option going forward. There were some learning curves during the year, but he gained invaluable experience lining up against the conference’s best defensive lineman, including having to fend off Ohio State’s Joey Bosa. Nelson will be a fixture on the right side again next year, and looks to be next in line for the coveted left tackle position once the incumbent Donovan Smith graduates.
Daniel Pasquariello was forced into action after a string of abysmal punting performances by former starter Chris Gulla, and greatly improved towards the end of the year. His 63-yard bomb against Michigan State in the regular season finale capped off his freshman season on a very high note, and he looks to retain his starting spot in training camp this summer.
The Nittany Lions were incredibly young this season, but the solid play from the team’s brightest young stars means that the future is safe, and that a foundation for success has been built.