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Sports Illustrated Names Three Nittany Lions Among Top 100 In College Football

As the offseason progresses, preseason accolades keep rolling in for Penn State football.

RB Saquon Barkley, QB Trace McSorley, and TE Mike Gesicki were ranked No. 5, No. 41, and No. 81, respectively, in Sports Illustrated’s top 100 players in college football coming off of the breakout 2016 season for the Nittany Lions.

Barkley quickly established himself as one of the best all-around running backs in college football last season, racking up almost 1,500 yards in 14 games for the Nittany Lions last season. The Coplay, PA, native’s combination of elusiveness, speed, and power helped him establish himself as a serious Heisman Trophy contender next season.

A year ago, Penn State fans were unsure who their team’s starting quarterback would be, but there’s no question about it now. After winning the starting QB job out of training camp, McSorley grew into his new role, and excelled in it, leading Penn State to a Big Ten title. Penn State’s No. 9 mixed up his passing and scrambling abilities throughout the game to keep opposing defenses on its toes.

Gesicki also was a massive part of Penn State’s success in the 2016 season by becoming one of McSorley’s favorite targets in the passing game. His size and jump-ball ability created a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, and he is poised to have another huge season for Penn State in 2017.

Penn State football kicks off its season against Akron on September 2 at Beaver Stadium.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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