RLR Penn State Football All-Decade Team

By Matthew Filipovits on January 21, 2020 at 9:00 am
Sep 9, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley (9) and running back Saquon Barkley (26) looks to the sideline for a play call against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
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The 2010 decade was a decade of change for the Nittany Lions. Three different coaching staffs, new philosophies, new recruiting areas, and more meant a lot of adjustments for Penn State and its fans. Despite all of that, the Lions were able to maintain a high level of success and begin a run that could prove to be one of the program's best. An 87-42 record, over 30 NFL Draft Picks, two New Years Six bowl wins, and a conference championship speak for themselves.

Over the past few weeks, we've ranked the top-five Penn State players of the decade at each position, leading to the creation of our Team of the Decade. The Nittany Lions have had dozens of fantastic players don the Blue and White over the past ten years, but these guys were the best of the best.

Offense

  • QB Trace McSorley* (2014-2018)
  • RB Saquon Barkley* (2015-2018)
  • WR Allen Robinson* (2011-2013)
  • WR Chris Godwin (2014-2016)
  • WR DaeSean Hamilton (2013-2017)
  • TE Mike Gesicki (2014-2017)
  • OL Stefan Wisniewski (2007-2010)
  • OL Donovan Smith (2011-2014)
  • OL John Urschel (2009-2013)
  • OL Connor McGovern (2016-2018)
  • OL Ryan Bates (2015-2018)

Penn State changed its offensive philosophy in the latter half of the decade and man, does it show here. Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley were one of the best quarterback-running back duos we've ever seen, as both rewrote the record books. Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, and DaeSean Hamilton would be a lethal receiving unit, with each having a unique skill set. Mike Gesicki would round out the skill unit, giving the offense big-play threats at every position. The offensive line works out very well, with the unit likely being Smith-Urschel-Wisniewski-McGovern-Bates. For all of the struggles we've seen from this unit this decade, this would be a sight to behold.

* - McSorley, Barkley, and Robinson were unanimous selections as No. 1 at their position

Defense

  • DE Carl Nassib (2011-2015)
  • DT Anthony Zettel (2011-2015)
  • DT Devon Still (2007-2011)
  • DE Yetur Gross-Matos (2017-2019)
  • LB Micah Parsons (2018-Present)
  • LB Brandon Bell (2013-2016)
  • LB Michael Mauti (2008-2012)
  • CB Amani Oruwariye (2014-2018)
  • S Marcus Allen (2014-2017)
  • S Adrian Amos (2011-2014)
  • CB Grant Haley (2014-2017)

Carl Nassib and Yetur Gross-Matos would give the defense two ferocious pass rushers on the outside. Zettel and Still manning the middle would make this unit downright dominant. Parsons, Bell, and Mauti did a lot of things well, but all three especially thrived in stopping the run. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better front seven than this one. Marcus Allen and Adrian Amos were both great tacklers, while Oruwariye and Haley have a case as the Nittany Lions best cover corners this decade. Any offense would struggle to find any success against this unit.

Special Teams

  • K Sam Ficken (2011-2014)
  • P Blake Gillikin (2016-2019)
  • KR Saquon Barkley (2015-2017)
  • PR KJ Hamler (2017-2019)

Sam Ficken and Blake Gillikin were as beloved as two specialists have ever been and for good reason. Ficken would give the Nittany Lions a reliable kicker who could hit from deep, while Gillikin could flip the field every time and set the defense up for success. Barkley and KJ Hamler would be threats to take it back every time they touched the ball and would assuredly set up dozens of touchdown drives.


Be sure to check out the entire series:

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