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Highlighting Penn State's 2017 All-Big Ten Offense Selections

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following yesterday's first release of this year's Big Ten postseason honors, the conference announced this morning its offense All-Big Ten selections. A total of six Nittany Lions earned a spot on at least one of the three teams or honorable mention distinction.

Across both days of Big Ten awards releases, 17 different Nittany Lions have earned All-Big Ten honors, with Barkley named a First Team All-Big Ten return specialist yesterday. The Big Ten will cap off its awards release tomorrow naming individual award recipients.

Check in on a few highlights from this year's offensive honorees.

Saquon Barkley - First Team All-Big Ten (Coaches and Media)
Barkley was recently selected as a finalist for his fourth national award this year, named one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year award. His impact though, is difficult to sum up in a few tidy sentences, considering a lengthy list of eye-popping performances this year. A centerpiece of the Penn State offense with do-it-all contributions this year, Barkley has successfully rewritten the record books, dazzling fans with hurdles, leaps, touchdown grabs and even a touchdown pass.

- As the second running back in program history with consecutive first team honors, Barkley also became the first Nittany Lion in program history with 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards.

- Barkley entered the year coming off a 2016 season that included 402 receiving yards on 28 catches. To date, Barkley is third on the team with 47 catches for 594 yards and three touchdowns, including a career-long 85-yard scoring grab against Pittsburgh, good for the longest by a Nittany Lion in Beaver Stadium history.

- In the same game he ran back the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown against Indiana, Barkley also threw his first touchdown pass to become the first Big Ten player and sixth FBS player since 1996 with a kickoff return for a touchdown and a passing touchdown in the same game.

- Among eight career records this year, Barkley most recently broke a nearly 50-year-old record for career rushing touchdowns set by Lydell Mitchell (38, 1969-71). He already joined Enis as the only pair of Penn State running backs to record 3,000 or more rushing years in a three-year stretch, having eclipsed the mark in week eight.

Trace McSorley - Second Team All-Big Ten (Coaches and Media)
In his second season as the Nittany Lion starting quarterback, McSorley has only continued to establish himself as a fearless leader for the Penn State offense. With a touchdown pass in 27 consecutive games, his streak is tied for the second-longest active stretch in FBS, alongside Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. 

It's often that Penn State head coach James Franklin gets asked where he has seen the most improvement from McSorley from last year to this year. There isn't one thing for Franklin though.

"He's gaining a lot of confidence," Franklin said. "The players have a lot of confidence in him. So do the coaches. It's not like I can pinpoint and say, "this one thing." He didn't really have any glaring weaknesses on the front end. That's kind of who he is. He's a winner. He's athletic. He's smart. He's savvy. He's tough. He throws it probably a lot better than people give him credit for."

- As Franklin has noted throughout the year, the Nittany Lion offense is at its best when McSorley is involved in the run game. With 11 rushing touchdowns in addition to 26 passing touchdowns this year, he's just the second player in Big Ten history to record at least 10 rushing touchdowns and 25 passing touchdowns in a single season in addition to Ohio State's JT Barrett. 

- McSorley registered his 11th rushing touchdown in the regular season finale against Maryland to match the Penn State record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, originally set by Michael Robinson in 2005.

- Also effective through the air, McSorley became the first Nittany Lion with two 3,000-yard passing seasons with 3,228 yards this year. Just this year alone, McSorley has thrown for at least 200 yards in 10 games, which is tied for third in program history.

Mike Gesicki - First Team All-Big Ten (Coaches), Second Team All-Big Ten (Media)
Opting to return for his senior season, Gesicki ascended to the top of the Nittany Lion tight end charts during the regular season, often bringing fans to their feet with a few of his signature one-handed grabs. Often creating matchup issues for opponents throughout the year, Gesicki's All-Big Ten honor is the second of his career.

- Leading the team with 51 catches for 501 yards and a squad-best nine touchdowns, Gesicki's All-Big Ten first team honor makes him the first Penn State tight end to earn the award since Kyle Carter in 2012.

- One of three finalists for the Mackey Award, Gesicki set the career record for both receiving yards by a tight end and career receptions by a tight end this year.  

- Gesicki opened the year with at least two touchdown grabs in back-to-back games, with his final catch in the win against Pittsburgh sending him past Andrew Quarless for the tight ends career receptions record.

- In his final regular season home games as a Nittany Lion, seven of his 12 catches went for either a first down or a touchdown. His last catch of course, coming by way of a 17-yard touchdown grab from McSorley.

DaeSean Hamilton - Second Team All-Big Ten (Coaches), Third Team All-Big Ten (Media)
Known by his teammates and coaches not only for his performance on the field, but his work ethic too, Hamilton has been one of McSorley's most consistent and reliable targets throughout the year.

"He's a guy, as much as any guy I've been around in my career, that has maximized his potential through work ethic, through preparation, through attitude," Franklin said.

- Ranked third all-time on Penn State's receiving yardage list with 2,732 career yards, Hamilton earns his third career All-Big Ten honor. 

- Leading the team with 747 receiving yards on the year, Hamilton has made 48 catches for the Nittany Lions this year, ranked second on the team with seven touchdown grabs.

- Hamilton was instrumental in the win against Indiana, making nine receptions for 122 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, making him the first Nittany Lion with three or more touchdowns since Allen Robinson in 2012.

- More than his first multi-touchdown effort against the Hoosiers though, he etched his name at the top of the Penn State record book, with his eighth catch of the game moving him past Bobby Engram (179, 2005-08) for first place on the Penn State career receptions all-time list. 

Ryan Bates - Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches and Media)
Although sidelined for the final four regular season games of the season, Bates made eight starts at left tackle for the Nittany Lions as a top contributor along the offensive line returning after a 2016 season starting every game. In 520 snaps taken, Bates charted 10 knockdowns, allowing just three sacks to earn his first career All-Big Ten selection.

- At Iowa, he helped the Nittany Lions to a season-high 579 yards of total offense, allowing Barkley to break free for a career-high 211 rushing yards and 94 receiving yards for a school-record 358 all-purpose yards. 

- On the year, Bates has paved the way for a Penn State offense that ranks in the top 10 in both scoring and total offense.

All Big Ten Honorable Mention (Complete list including defense and special teams selections)
- WR Juwan Johnson (coaches and media)
- S Troy Apke (media)
- CB Christian Campbell (coaches and media)
- DT Parker Cothren (media)
- CB Grant Haley (coaches and media)
- DT Curtis Cothran (coaches)

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