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Incoming Nittany Lions Miles Sanders, Michael Shuster Win Mr. PA Football

James Franklin’s Nittany Lions will welcome not one, but two Mr. PA Football award winners to the program this summer. Blue-chip running back Miles Sanders and preferred walk-on quarterback Michael Shuster captured the big school (AAA/AAAA) and small school (A/AA) honors, respectively, this past Saturday in Hershey. Sanders and Shuster follow in the footsteps of Saquon Barkley, who brought home the hardware last year.

Sanders, the record-breaking Woodland Hills product who signed his Letter of Intent on Feb. 3, was the first member of #DaPride16 and is undoubtedly one of its most integral leaders. The five-star Under Armour All-American was considered the nation’s top running back prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite. Sanders finished his decorated high school career with a ridiculous 4,573 rushing yards and 59 touchdowns.

Sanders already boasts a college-ready frame at 5-foot-11, 199 pounds and will join the competition for carries in Charles Huff’s loaded backfield as soon as he arrives on campus. There’s a strong chance he’ll see the field in 2016 based on talent alone, regardless of Barkley’s status as the returning starter, potentially giving Penn State one of the most fearsome one-two punches in not just the Big Ten — but all of Division I. But before he dons the blue and white, Sanders and fellow Class of 2016 signee Shaka Toney will suit up for the Pennsylvania squad at the prestigious Big 33 Classic, which pits a host of the top high school seniors from the Keystone State against the best that Maryland has to offer. Sanders was joined on the big school ballot by fellow Penn State signee Michal Menet and longtime target Damar Hamlin, who settled on hometown Pitt over the Nittany Lions. Early enrollee center Connor McGovern was named a small school finalist, as was former Penn State commit Andrew Pryts, who flipped to Stanford on National Signing Day.

Shuster, an underrated yet extremely productive passer at Camp Hill, joined the fold in the 11th hour, flipping his verbal commitment from Michigan to the Nittany Lions the day before National Signing Day. Though he won’t be on scholarship to start his career, Shuster has a chance to become the next great Penn State walk-on success story under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound incoming freshman tossed 108 career touchdowns in high school to go along with a gaudy 9,717 passing yards. Both marks are good for fourth place on the all-time Pennsylvania prep charts.

The battle to name Christian Hackenberg’s successor will likely come down to Trace McSorley, Tommy Stevens, and early enrollee Jake Zembiec, but perhaps Shuster can impress his new coaches and teammates enough to garner a more involved role on the offense over the next few years.

Congratulations to Miles and Michael on their accomplishments. We’re looking forward to seeing you on campus soon.

About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected].

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