Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



‘They’re Co-Starters’: Nick Singleton, Kaytron Allen Address Media For First Time

When it comes to James Franklin’s Penn State teams, there’s a longstanding rule that true freshmen are not made available to the media. Oftentimes, it’s a near-unnoticed rule, but occasionally an impact freshman joins the program and fans possess an unrequited desire to hear from them.

The 2022 season was one of those years. In fact, that might be an understatement.

Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen are both true freshman running backs, and both quickly took over the Nittany Lions’ backfield in the early weeks of the season. Given their statuses however, they were unable to speak with the media. But at Penn State’s Rose Bowl media day Saturday, Singleton and Allen were finally available.

Meeting during a visit at the 2021 White Out against Auburn, Singleton and Allen were immediately drawn to each other.

“We looked around saying ‘this is us next year,'” Singleton said.

Singleton’s prediction proved more prophetic than most thought, except for Penn State’s pair of phenom ball carriers.

Firmly establishing their footing, Singleton and Allen combined for 2,068 all-purpose yards and 21 total touchdowns while each averaging over five yards per rush. Singleton sits just 33 yards shy of becoming the Nittany Lions’ first 1000-yard rusher since 2018.

“At the beginning of the season, I just wanted to play, compete for a job,” Singleton said. “Once I got into a game, it felt unreal. Once you start getting used to it, like the day after the game, you start [being] like ‘yeah I can play at this level.'”

Allen’s transition to the college stage was eased by his preexisting friendship with wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith.

“We grew up with each other, so we kinda already knew,” Allen said. “That’s what kinda got me here.”

“For real, Dre… we were like real close,” Allen continued. “He’s tight with my cousin. It just gave me a bond. [Penn State] has just made it way tighter than what it was.”

In previous years, Lambert-Smith wore the No. 13 jersey but switched to the No. 1 before the 2022 season kicked off. Lambert-Smith’s pivot allowed Allen to don his friend’s former number.

“We talked about it before I got here, for real,” Allen said with a smile. “He let me wear it, so I’m just grateful for it.”

The team bonds run deep when it comes to Singleton and Allen, but it seems there are few kinships stronger than that of the two running backs.

“We hang out a lot. We’re always with each other,” Singleton said. “On the field, we always compete, but at the same time, it carries the load off of us. We give each other info to see what kind of defense they’re running when we come to the sidelines.”

“That’s my brother for real. Me and him got a great relationship,” Allen agreed. “We work off each other, get each other better.”

If Singleton and Allen are brothers, running back coach Ja’Juan Seider said he feels like “a proud dad.” The duo’s impressive inaugural season culminated in Penn State’s first 10-win season since 2019 and a Rose Bowl berth –– an opportunity both eagerly anticipate and Seider said was fitting.

“They deserve it. They’re a big part of the reason we’re here,” Seider said. “They helped carry this team. They carried themself [sic] like veterans throughout the year.”

Together, Singleton and Allen earned 10 starts after sophomore Keyvone Lee started at running back for Penn State’s first two contests. While hesitant to reveal too many details, Seider explained it’s a game-by-game decision each week.

“I can’t give you all the secrets,” Seider said. “They’re co-starters. When you say that, you gotta back up what you say. I tried to rotate them as the season went on…but then I also want to make sure they get that opportunity to play at home and be the first guy.”

Reflecting on the 2022 season, Seider said Singleton and Allen valued hearing their name called at Beaver Stadium more than expected. In determining who’s the first series’ back, Seider began taking that into account – perhaps leading to Allen’s earning the nod against Michigan State, his first home start.

With Franklin’s strict adherence to a running back rotation, playing time is not a concern for either freshman ball carrier. Regardless of which steps on the field first, Singleton and Allen are locks for substantial touches.

“Listen, they’re gonna be in the game early. They’re pretty much getting even splits on the opportunity to play,” Seider said. “I don’t even worry about it anymore. They don’t even worry about it anymore.”

As true freshmen, Singleton and Allen are fixtures of future seasons. With their bond and veteran-level contributions, those fixtures are strong ones.

“I can say that with a straight face –– and I hope I ain’t insult nobody –– at this stage, this early, they’re the two best I’ve ever coached,” Seider said.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

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.

Follow on Another Platform
State College Links

Five Prominent Penn State Athletics Employees No Longer In Staff Directory

An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.

Five Prominent Penn State Athletics Employees No Longer In Staff Directory

An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.

From Food Network To Happy Valley: Chef Gillian Clark Puts A French Spin On The Classic Diner

“Rather than kind of dig up a dinosaur, we thought we would do something a little bit more creative that gave us the ability to make some interesting food that’s a little bit upscale.”

Your Complete THON 2023 Dancer List

From 6 p.m. on Friday, February 17, to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 19, 707 students will dance in THON and help raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Send this to a friend