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13 Penn State Football Defenders & Specialists Earn 2022 All-Big Ten Honors

Ten Penn State football defenders and three specialists earned 2022 All-Big Ten postseason honors, as announced by the conference Tuesday afternoon. The honors were voted on by the Big Ten’s coaches, as well as select members of the media.

Senior cornerback Joey Porter Jr. earned unanimous first-team All-Big Ten honors, as the Nittany Lions’ only first-team defender.

Sixth-year senior defensive tackle PJ Mustipher and true freshman linebacker Abdul Carter were tabbed for the All-Big Ten second team. Mustipher’s recognition came from the coaches’ vote, whereas Carter was selected by the media vote.

Mustipher, Carter, defensive end Adisa Isaac, safety Ji’Ayir Brown, and cornerback Kalen King earned third-team honors. Rounding out the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Chop Robinson, linebacker Curtis Jacobs, defensive end Nick Tarburton, and cornerback Johnny Dixon all received honorable mention nods.

No Nittany Lions were named to the All-Big Ten first team for special teams, but three were recognized elsewhere.

In the media vote, true freshman running back Nick Singleton earned second-team honors as a return specialist, while punter Barney Amor, kicker Jake Pinegar, and Singleton also earned honorable mentions. Amor and Singleton’s honorable mentions were doled out by the conference’s coaches and Pinegar was recognized by the media.

Porter entered a productive slate of performances for the Nittany Lions this season, earning him first-round projections in the upcoming NFL Draft. Despite missing a pair of games due to appendicitis, Porter still managed to record 27 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and a fumble recovery.

Returning after a season-ending injury last season, Mustipher has continued to be a veteran leader for Penn State’s defense. Mutipher racked up 33 tackles, playing in all 12 of the Nittany Lions’ season games.

Although Carter made his first career start in the team’s White Out win over Minnesota, the true freshman linebacker had an immediate impact all season. After being ejected on his first-career defensive snap against Purdue, Carter rallied to lead the team in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (10.5). Carter also notched two forced fumbles and four pass defenses.

On the defensive line, Isaac, Tarburton, and Robinson were instrumental pieces of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s push for havoc up front. Isaac totaled 23 tackles and four sacks, Tarburton totaled 18 tackles and two sacks, and Robinson totaled 23 tackles and five sacks.

King and Dixon anchored a strong Penn State defensive back room. King, a sophomore, recorded his first two career interceptions and led the team with 18 pass breakups. Dixon, a junior, logged 20 tackles, three sacks, and a pair of interceptions.

Jacobs and Brown were leaders of Penn State’s 2021 defensive squad and were expected to slot into that role again this year, as the team got younger. Jacobs racked up 47 tackles, two sacks, and two fumble recoveries. Brown showed off his newfound pass rush skills under Diaz’s chaotic tutelage, punctuating his 66 tackles and three interceptions with three sacks and numerous quarterback pressures.

Singleton had an incredibly impactful season out of the backfield, but he also played an important role in the Nittany Lions’ return game. Shaking off some early-season struggles, Singleton recorded 310 kickoff return yards – including a 100-yard return touchdown against Rutgers.

Amor began the season as a newly-minted scholarship player and a member of the Ray Guy watch list. In 2022, Amor punted 50 times, including a long of 59 yards. Though his average yardage per punt sat at 43.9, it was his elite ball placement that wowed fans for much of the year.

Winning the starting placekicker job after a season-long hiatus in 2021, Pinegar had arguably the best season of his career. Pinegar converted 12-of-16 field goal attempts, hitting the first two 50-yard field goals of his career. He also missed just two extra points of his 54 attempts. From September 24 to November 26, Pinegar did not miss a single kick.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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