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Six Nittany Lions Named Among Top College Football ‘Freaks’

Ahead of every season, The Athletic college football insider Bruce Feldman curates a list of the top athletic “freaks” in college football.

Penn State had more players than any other school, with Chop Robinson (No. 9), Jordan van den Berg (No. 15), Olu Fashanu (No. 23), Nick Singleton (No. 31), Zane Durant (No. 38), and Abdul Carter (No. 43), making the cut.

Robinson, a defensive end from Gaithersburg, Maryland, landed in the top 10 because he is an “incredibly explosive 250-pound guy with blazing speed, great strength, and Freakish agility,” Feldman wrote. The 6’3,” 250-pound junior had 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss last season.

After Robinson, defensive lineman van den Berg landed at No. 15. The 6’3,” 304-pound South African made the list for a “combination of that strength with his agility numbers.” The sophomore made nine tackles with 1.5 sacks over 13 appearances last season.

Not even 10 spots later is Fashanu. He “had a terrific year on the field and an impressive one off it, running a 4.97 40 this offseason and had a 4.63 shuttle time,” Feldman wrote. The Washington, D.C., native, who stands at 6’6″ and weighs 320 pounds, is currently viewed as a first-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft and, according to Feldman, is “the most highly touted offensive line prospect in the country.”

Fashanu’s running back, Singleton, is next at No. 31. Singleton rushed for 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns last season as a true freshman. “When legit coaches start comparing you to Adrian Peterson, you know you’ve got a special talent,” Feldman said.

Durant, a sophomore and Florida native, marks the second Penn State defensive lineman to make the list. Feldman ranked him No. 38 and noted the legitimacy around Durant’s hype. “Durant has generated some big buzz inside the Nittany Lions’ program and we can see why. He ran a 4.44 shuttle and broad-jumped 9-10 to go with a 425-pound bench.”

Finally, Carter is the last Nittany Lion on the list at No. 43. The 6’3″, 250-pound sophomore linebacker “clocked a 4.48 40, had a 4.35 shuttle and broad-jumped 10-7.” The Philadelphia native made 10.5 tackles for loss along with 6.5 sacks last season.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland. He's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams and Liverpool F.C. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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