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Chaz Powell Returns to Campus to Earn Degree After Stint in NFL

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When Chaz Powell's Penn State career concluded at the end of the 2011 season, he had aspirations of playing on Sundays.


Powell knew that it would take a full commitment during the spring semester of 2012 to prepare for a shot at earning a place on an NFL roster. To best prepare for the draft, he devoted his full attention to training for the NFL Combine and his Pro Day workout.

In doing so, Powell pursued his dream of being a professional football player.

The York, Pa., native found his way to Oakland after the Raiders signed him as a free agent following the draft. He was released during the final days of August that year, and decided that he would shift his attention back to another lifelong dream.

Powell worked with the Morgan Academic Center staff that works with the football program to complete paperwork to re-enroll back at Penn State to finish his degree. The Susquehannock High School product needed just one class to complete a degree in criminal justice.

But, on the day he submitted paperwork to finish the degree, Powell received a call from the Green Bay Packers. The organization invited Powell to a tryout. The Packers signed Powell, and for the next two years he played in Green Bay and with the New York Giants.

During his stint in the NFL, Powell always had the final Penn State class necessary to graduate in the back of his mind. But the timing and career in the NFL did not grant him an opportunity to invest a full semester's worth of effort into earning his degree.

In total, he spent three seasons with NFL organizations and then shifted attention to earning money to make ends meet back in his hometown of York.

"I came to Penn State to play for Coach (Joe) Paterno and attend school at a great University. He always preached to us that you need to go to class and get your degree because football is not going to last forever. And he was right," Powell said.

Needing just four credits of Statistics 200, Todd Kulka, Penn State Assistant Director, Football Academic Support Services & Academic Counselor called Powell this past summer and asked if the fall semester was a time he could finish his degree.


Working regular hours as a plumber in the York area, Powell committed to driving two hours from his home to the University Park campus for the Stat 200 class each Thursday from 6-9:30 p.m.

Powell usually arrived on campus a bit early on Thursdays to complete homework assignments before participating in the class session. He would then get back in the car and drive home to York before waking up each Friday at 5 a.m. to begin his work day.

For 16 weeks this fall, Powell made the 220-mile round trip commute and is on schedule to earn his criminal justice degree at the Penn State commencement ceremony this Saturday afternoon in the Bryce Jordan Center.

"I was gifted enough to play in the NFL for three years, with a couple practice squad opportunities here and there," Powell said. "But like Coach Paterno said, football didn't last forever. And I learned that having your college degree can take you anywhere in the world. It will mean a lot to me."

He is on track to join 14 current football student-athletes intending to graduate this weekend. Penn State Football owns a graduation success rate of 81 percent, which is nine points higher than the Division I and FBS average.

Powell has aspirations of working in law enforcement, but is on track to also become a registered plumber. With a degree in hand and his work towards becoming a licensed professional in the plumbing industry, he will have options, all thanks to countless hours of time and effort to become a Penn State graduate.

"My mom is really excited about it," Powell said. "It's going to be a big accomplishment for me and a big relief to have my degree in hand."

Most Penn State fans will remember Powell as a versatile athlete with great speed. A four-year letterwinner, he began his career as a receiver before shifting to the defensive backfield prior to his junior season in 2010. Powell was a dynamic kickoff returner for the Blue and White, becoming the first Penn State player to deliver a 100-yard return for a score in more than 35 years in the 2010 season opener. He owns schools records for career kickoff returns (73) and kickoff return yardage (1,866).

But football is just a sliver of Powell's success story in Happy Valley. He realized a dream by spending time in the NFL, but his career lasted three seasons. With a degree in hand come Saturday, Powell will be a Penn State alum forever.

"Once you are given the opportunity to go out there and showcase what you can do, it just proves that anyone can do it, no matter if you are from a small town or not," Powell said. "There are so many alums in this world from Penn State, and it really felt like a family to me when I was here. I was only two hours from home, so my family got to come watch me play. Now, it will be a big relief off my shoulders and something that means a lot to me come Saturday."



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VIDEO: Joe Moorhead Introduced as New Offensive Coordinator

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11562759.jpegPress Conference Video | Photo Gallery | Press Conference Transcript

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When head coach James Franklin and Joe Moorhead sat down to interview for the open offensive coordinator position, neither expected to be talking football for more than four hours.

But time flies when you spend time talking to a person as passionate about the game as you.

Franklin and Moorhead started with the basics of running game scheme around 10:15 p.m. on a night last week in New York. After talking through the passing game, family, Penn State and the coaching staff, Franklin and Moorhead turned to the clock and it was 2:47 a.m.

"And we could have kept going," Franklin joked.

After being announced as the new offensive coordinator on Saturday, Moorhead and Franklin spent time with the media on Wednesday afternoon in Beaver Stadium to talk about the process leading up to Moorhead's hiring and the future.

Franklin said that after numerous discussions, he knew that Moorhead was a great fit for Penn State because he possesses all of the characteristics necessary to be a successful leader of the Nittany Lion offense. Coach Franklin admired how detail-oriented Moorhead was during clinic talks he had been to.

The two also spent some time together when the Nittany Lions practiced at Fordham University in the days leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl last season. And through analyzing all of Moorhead's offensive numbers during his stints at Fordham, Connecticut and Akron, Franklin knew he was the right man for the job.

"You run all the data, third down percentage, scoring offense, red zone, so on and so forth; every piece of information you can possibly imagine, and you look at who is at the top of ever single category, and Joe kept jumping to the top of three or four in every single category," Franklin said.

A native of Pittsburgh, Moorhead is a graduate of Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School. For him, the opportunity to return to his home state was something he couldn't pass up when the opportunity presented itself.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for both me and my family, both professionally and personally," said Moorhead. "Being able to come back close to home and contribute to such a tradition-rich program like Penn State and help Coach Franklin and the program achieve their goals, I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity."

Moorhead noted that the foundation of an ideal offense in his eye is a successful running game. He wants to be physical on the ground. Collectively, Moorhead summed up his offensively philosophy as one that is physical and aggressive.

"We want to dictate tempo. We want to be aggressive. We want to be physical in the run game. We want to be explosive in the pass game," said Moorhead.


The hiring comes at a great time for Moorhead to get a jumpstart on planning for 2016. He will spend the next two weeks leading up to the TaxSlayer Bowl meeting with the players, observing at practice and getting to know the rest of the coaching staff. Moorhead will observe, but not coach during the bowl game.

Learn more about the new offensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions in an exclusive one-on-one interview with GoPSUsports.com.




Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony    

Nutrition Bar Enhancing Football Student-Athlete Experience

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11560444.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When the Nittany Lions walk off the practice field, there is now a sparkling new stop to make before departing the Lasch Football Building.

Late in the season, the football student-athletes began christening a state-of-the-art nutrition bar facility adjacent to the 13,000-square-foot weight room.

Designed to provide excellent sources of carbohydrates and proteins for pre-workout energy and post-workout recovery, the fueling station was a central part of the Lasch Renovation, which is a multi-phased project, that will allow Penn State football to provide the resources it needs to recruit an support the nation's most talented and driven student-athletes.

"The Lasch Football Nutrition Bar is an idea we've had since Coach (James) Franklin got here two years ago," said Assistant Athletic Director for Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt. "It's something we felt like was absolutely necessary to maximize the nutrition of our football student-athletes. To do it correctly, we put a great deal of thought into the design of it. Number one, we wanted to set it up in a way to give the players what they need to enhance their performance as much as possible. And number two, we wanted make it a quick, easy, time-saving initiative."

Penn State Athletics partnered with Mortenson Construction, Crawford Architects and Advent to create an optimum design and location to set up the nutrition bar in a place with close proximity to the locker room, weight room, training room and practice fields for optimum convenience and use.

"We wanted it to be in an area that was going to see a high volume of traffic," said Assistant Director of Performance Enhancement Chuck Losey, who worked closely with design team on the location and set-up of the nutrition bar. "We have our side entrance to the building right next to where the nutrition bar is located. The guys come in and out of that entrance several times during the day, so they are exposed to the nutrition bar location regularly."

The fueling station features six Vitamix blenders for high volume smoothie making, refrigerators, coolers, shelves and display areas for more than 20 different products for pre- and post-workout nutrition. The bar's functionality is streamlined to enable the student-athletes the opportunity to grab food on the go.

The nutrition bar is aligned with a Penn State Athletics initiative announced in October 2014 that created Enhanced Fueling Stations accessible to all 31 teams on campus. The announcement came on the heels of the NCAA granting member institutions the opportunity to play a greater role in the nutritional health needs of student-athletes.

The nutrition bar features a wide-range of foods and snacks that are high sources of carbohydrates and proteins. The food list ranges from fresh fruits to a variety of nuts to breads and bagels, along with Gatorade products and milks.

"The primary goal of the selection was to provide excellent sources of carbohydrates for pre-exercise energy and post-exercise recovery," said Director of Sports Nutrition Dr. Kris Clark. "We also have high quality protein foods, and that is a recovery focus. The carbohydrates are for energy leading up to a workout in the weight room or on the field, and also, carbohydrates are a big recovery nutrient, along with proteins."

Convenience was paramount to the design of the nutrition bar, ensuring that the access was easy and functional to use for the student-athletes.

"With the time crunch student-athletes face, the foods we have selected on the fueling station and now the nutrition bar are exactly those types of foods that can be eaten, easily digestible and provide rapid energy and excellent sources of recovery," said Clark.

In addition to the practical services of the nutrition bar, the location serves as an educational area. There are posters and information positioned around the bar to enhance the overall understanding the student-athletes have of proper nutrition and its impact on increasing performance, energy and injury prevention.

"We are using the space to provide nutritional education, as well," Clark said. "It's not just a place where you have to come in, eat and leave. We will be on site to create dialogue about how they can improve their diets. We will have materials in the nutrition bar to stimulate conversation. It will be a center to communicate good nutrition principles."

Members of the nutrition and performance enhancement staffs are on site during hours of operation to assist with smoothie making and are available to answer nutrition-related questions on how to select the best foods for energy and recovery before and after workouts.

The response to the nutrition bar has been outstanding during its first month of operation.

"When we stocked the nutrition bar for the first time, it was beyond everyone's expectations," Galt said. "The design and construction groups did a phenomenal job putting things together and giving us what we need for that area. The athletes love it. It's been an overwhelmingly positive response."

The Nittany Lions will square off against Georgia in the 71st TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday, Jan. 2 at noon. The game will air on ESPN, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com. For more information on tickets, ticket packages and bowl information, visit Penn State's Bowl Central at GoPSUsports.com/bowlcentral or call 1-800-NITTANY.




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TaxSlayer Bowl Officials Thrilled to Host Nittany Lions for First Time Since 1976

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Bowl Central

JACKSONVILLE - Sunny skies, temperatures in the 70s and excellent hospitality greeted a small group of Nittany Lion staff members during an advance trip to the site of Penn State's 46th bowl game this week.

bowl_feature_blog 2.jpgSet to collide with Georgia in the 71st TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2 inside EverBank Field downtown Jacksonville, the Nittany Lions will travel to Florida later this month for final game of the 2015 season. In preparation for the bowl trip, the staff members toured the stadium, team and fan hotels, practice facility and participated in the TaxSlayer Bowl Speaker Series Luncheon.

Representatives from across the TaxSlayer Bowl and Jacksonville Sports Council provided a first-rate experience during the advance planning trip and could not be happier to host the Nittany Lions and their fans in The Sunshine State for the first time since the 1976 Gator Bowl.

"You look at (Penn State playing in) the Big Ten, arguably the best conference in America. You look at the players and the awards they have won. Coach (James) Franklin clearly has the program going in the right direction," said TaxSlayer Bowl President and CEO Rick Catlett. "It's one of those things where we are going to have the opportunity to have a Big Ten team here, and you look forward to having those iconic brands, and clearly Penn State is an iconic brand."

A college football fanatic, Catlett attended the 1983 Sugar Bowl between Penn State and Georgia when the Nittany Lions captured the program's first national title with a 27-23 victory over the Bulldogs.

"They've only played one other time, which was in the national championship," Catlett said. "To bring these two teams back together, from two of the best conferences in America, I couldn't be happier to have them here."

The feeling is mutual from the Penn State administrators, football staff and student-athletes. The Nittany Lions are returning to a Florida bowl game for the first time since the 2010 season (2011 Outback Bowl). With a rich tradition of the TaxSlayer/Gator Bowl spanning more than seven decades, the program is thrilled with the matchup scheduled to end the season.

"It's a really wonderful bowl when it comes to tradition, and it's a great location for the team and fans for late December and early January," said Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. "I also think the opportunity to put Penn State Football to the test against a great opponent like Georgia is what Penn State Football is all about. It's an opportunity that our community is really going to want to be a part of."

"Our players are ecstatic about being here. It's such a great bowl game," said head coach James Franklin. "And then with the history against Georgia, our fans are really excited to play a program like Georgia. It is just a great opportunity."

On the field, the Nittany Lions will collide with a Georgia team led by interim head coach Bryan McClendon. The Bulldogs have won four consecutive games leading up to the postseason en route to a 9-3 overall record.

Pitting two of America's top conferences, Penn State will meet a team from the SEC for the first time in four seasons (2011 vs. Alabama). The TaxSlayer Bowl is one of four matchups between the Big Ten and the SEC in the post-season, including three in the state of Florida.

"College football is the best sport in America," Catlett said. "It has the best playoff system in America with the way it works down. Teams that achieve high goals still have a place to go outside of the playoff, and that's the college bowl system. I don't think there is anything better than that."

bowl_feature_blog 3.jpgOff the field, the Penn State faithful traveling to the Jacksonville area for the game will be greeted by warm hospitality, sunshine and plenty of activities along the St Johns River at Jacksonville Landing and on the Atlantic Coast.

"This is just a great city," Catlett said. "This is the largest land mass city in the continental United States. We've got an ocean. We've got a riverfront. We've got fabulous golf. Just to the south of us is the oldest city in America in St. Augustine...It's an NFL stadium that is probably second to none in fan comfort and amenities. We like to throw parties down here, and I think the fans will have a great time in Jacksonville."

Approximately 30,000 Penn State alums live in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. That mark includes more than 7,600 alums in the Jacksonville, Daytona, Orlando and Tampa metro areas.

A bowl matchup featuring two historic programs in a warm climate during is a great way for the 2015 season to close as the program builds towards a bright future. 

"The opportunity to come down to Florida for great weather and enjoy the Holiday season with one another and celebrate Penn State Football and the bring in the New Year while looking ahead to the bright future is a really neat opportunity for the fans," said Barbour.


We will have much more coverage on the events leading up to the TaxSlayer Bowl in the coming days on GoPSUsports.com. Penn State and Georgia will meet at noon on Jan. 2. For ticket and travel information, please visit GoPSUsports.com/bowlcentral or call 1-800-NITTANY.

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VIDEO James Franklin TaxSlayer Bowl Press Conference - Dec. 10

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JACKSONVILLE - Head coach James Franklin participated in the official kickoff event for the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl on Thursday inside the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

In preparation of Penn State's appearance in the 71st TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2 (12 p.m. on ESPN) against Georgia, Franklin addressed the media and took part in the TaxSlayer Bowl Speaker Series Luncheon alongside Georgia interim head coach Bryan McClendon.

Take a look through some highlights from Coach Franklin's first press conference in Jacksonville leading up to Penn State's 46th appearance in a game, and stay tuned for much more coverage from the advance trip to the bowl site in the coming days.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Inside the TaxSlayer Bowl Selection - News and Notes

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15taxslayer_Blog.jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Selected to play in their 46th bowl on Sunday, the Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4) are headed to Jacksonville for a matchup against Georgia (9-3, 5-3) in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2.

Led by Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Carl Nassib, Penn State is postseason bound for the second straight postseason berth under head coach James Franklin. The Lions will enter the bowl season with a defensive unit ranked No. 14 in the nation in total defense, No. 1 in sacks and No. 6 in tackles for loss. Nassib headlines the unit with a Penn State record and nation-leading 15.5 sacks for the season. The first-team All-Big Ten honoree is second nationally in tackles for loss with 19.5.

The bowl season is now upon the Nittany Lions. Take a look inside some of the news, notes and history following the TaxSlayer Bowl announcement.

Coach Franklin's Reaction to the TaxSlayer Bowl Announcement
Head coach James Franklin participated in a media call on Sunday evening after the TaxSlayer Bowl announcement. On the road recruiting, Franklin and Georgia interim head coach Bryan McClendon answered questions from the media for approximately 30 minutes to look ahead to the game. Coach Franklin said that the team kicked off bowl practices on Sunday morning and that the group is thrilled with the opportunity in front of it.

On his reaction to the bowl announcement - "
Can't express enough how excited our coaches and players are, and our fans. Again, such a storied program at the University of Georgia, couldn't be more excited. It's a great opportunity to play in this wonderful bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida. Our coaches, players and fans are so excited, so I really, really appreciate the opportunity, and I look forward to a great game."

On the Matchup for the Team to End the Season - "
We're just so excited. It's just such a historic bowl game and a historic program. I have tremendous respect for Coach [Brian] McClendon and everything he has done in his career, as well. Our guys are excited. This will be two years in a row for us with the opportunity to play in a bowl. We'll have the opportunity to compete against one of the most storied programs in college football and go play well, and represent all of the Nittany Lions out there. We're just really looking forward to the opportunity."

On the Bowl Practice Season and Game Prep - "For us, like I mentioned, our first couple of practices for the bowl aren't specific to Georgia anyway. They are program development practices just to get our younger players and our older players focused on fundamentals, footwork. We do some drills we haven't done since camp or spring ball. We kind of get those drills back going, and then we'll shift gears and focus on our opponent, which is going to be a tremendous challenge for us."

"So at this point, no, we're just at the beginning levels of that. We do have some history with the program obviously, and I think that's helpful to a degree, but the most important thing is we have to study the film and see what they did at the end of the season so strong with four wins. So we want to break that film down, see what they did well, and how we're going to approach this game."


On the Offensive Coordinator Position Moving Forward - "One of the special things about bowl games is it allows your family to stay together for another month or so. At this point, Ricky Rahne is fulfilling those responsibilities on our staff, and then I hope to have the [offensive coordinator] position filled in the next week-and-a-half to two weeks or so. We'll just have to see how the process plays out, but that person will probably come on and spend that time evaluating our players, evaluating our staff and being able to have some input, but it's not like we are going to put in a new system right before the bowl game. We are going to try and keep things as normal as we possibly can, and it will be a great opportunity and a great experience for Ricky Rahne, as well, to call a game and also put in a game plan."

Matching Up against the Bulldogs
The Nittany Lions and Bulldogs will collide for just the second time when the teams meet in Jacksonville. It's hard to forget the first meeting in the 1983 Sugar Bowl when the Nittany Lions captured their first national championship.

The 2015 version of the Georgia Bulldogs enters the bowl season with a 9-3 record and under the direction of interim head coach Bryan McClendon. Kirby Smart was officially named the next head coach of Georgia on Sunday. McClendon will handle the head coaching duties during the bowl season.

Georgia enters the bowl on a four-game winning streak following wins over Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs' three setbacks came to No. 23 Tennessee, No. 19 Florida and No. 2 Alabama.

Georgia boasts a stout defense that is ranked No. 8 in the nation in total yards allowed (298.0 ypg). Georgia is ranked No. 1 in pass defense (146.1 ypg).

Penn State in the TaxSlayer Bowl
Originally called the Gator Bowl, the Nittany Lions will be playing in the Gator/TaxSlayer Bowl for the fifth time in January. The game's history stretches to Jan. 1, 1946 when Wake Forest and South Carolina played in the first Gator Bowl.

The 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl will be the 71st game in the bowl's history. The Nittany Lions will be making their first appearance in the Jacksonville Bowl since the 1976 season. The game annually pits a representative from the SEC against either the Big Ten or the ACC.

Penn State's Previous Games in the TaxSlayer/Gator Bowl
Dec. 30, 1961 - Penn State 30, Georgia Tech 15
Dec. 29, 1962 - Florida 17, Penn State 7
Dec. 30, 1967 - Penn State 17, Florida State 17
Dec. 27, 1976 - Notre Dame 20, Penn State 9

Penn State Bowl History
The TaxSlayer Bowl will be Penn State's 46th bowl game. The program's rich bowl history began with the Rose Bowl during the 1922 season. Here is a complete list of Penn State's bowl games.


                               Penn State Bowl Results (28-15-2)

Season

Bowl

Opponent

Score

W/L

1922

Rose

USC

3-14

L

1947

Cotton

SMU

13-13

T

1959

Liberty

Alabama

7-0

W

1960

Liberty

Oregon

14-12

W

1961

Gator

Georgia Tech

30-15

W

1962

Gator

Florida

7-17

L

1967

Gator

Florida State

17-17

T

1968

Orange

Kansas

15-14

W

1969

Orange

Missouri

10-3

W

1971

Cotton

Texas

30-6

W

1972

Sugar

Oklahoma

0-14

L

1973

Orange

LSU

16-9

W

1974

Cotton

Baylor

41-20

W

1975

Sugar

Alabama

6-13

L

1976

Gator

Notre Dame

9-20

L

1977

Fiesta

Arizona State

42-30

W

1978

Sugar

Alabama

7-14

L

1979

Liberty

Tulane

9-6

W

1980

Fiesta

Ohio State

31-19

W

1981

Fiesta

USC

26-10

W

1982

Sugar

Georgia

27-23

W

1983

Aloha

Washington

13-10

W

1985

Orange

Oklahoma

10-25

L

1986

Fiesta

Miami (Fla.)

14-10

W

1987

Citrus

Clemson

10-35

L

1989

Holiday

BYU

50-39

W

1990

Blockbuster

Florida State

17-24

L

1991

Fiesta

Tennessee

42-17

W

1992

Blockbuster

Stanford

3-24

L

1993

Citrus

Tennessee

31-13

W

1994

Rose

Oregon

38-20

W

1995

Outback

Auburn

43-14

W

1996

Fiesta

Texas

38-15

W

1997

Citrus

Florida

6-21

L

1998

Outback

Kentucky

26-14

W

1999

Alamo

Texas A&M

24-0

W

2002

Capital One

Auburn

9-13

L

2005

Orange

Florida State

26-23 (3OT)

W

2006

Outback

Tennessee

20-10

W

2007

Alamo

Texas A&M

24-17

W

2008

Rose

USC

24-38

L

2009

Capital One

LSU

19-17

W

2010

Outback

Florida

24-37

L

2011

TicketCity

Houston

14-30

L

2014

Pinstripe

Boston College

31-30

W (OT)



Five Lions From Florida

The TaxSlayer Bowl will be a home game of sorts for four Nittany Lions on the roster hailing from Florida. The list includes long snapper Nick Cox (Tampa), punter Robby Liebel (St. Petersburg), cornerback Amani Oruwariye (Tampa) and linebacker Gary Wooten Jr. (Miami). 


Lions Begin Practice
Penn State kicked off its postseason practices on Sunday morning inside Holuba Hall. Penn State will again practice on Monday, in addition to the latter stages of the week. The Lions are allowed to practice 15 times leading up to the bowl game on Jan. 2. Stay tuned for much more coverage as the Nittany Lions return to the postseason.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Highlighting Penn State's 2015 All-Big Ten Offensive Selections

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the 2015 regular season in the books, Carl Nassib led a host of Nittany Lions on the 2015 All-Big Ten honoree list on Monday evening. On Tuesday, a trio of Lions earned All-Big Ten recognition on the offensive side of the ball.


Headlining the list were freshman running back Saquon Barkley and sophomore wide receiver Chris Godwin. Take a look inside Penn State's All-Big Ten offensive selections for 2015.

Second Team All-Big Ten (Media and Coaches):
RB Saquon Barkley
From the moment he first stepped on campus, true freshman Saquon Barkley wanted to be an impact player for the Nittany Lion offense. He asked question after question to his peers and coaches to best prepare himself for his first season on campus. Barkley debuted in the season-opener at Temple with one carry, but one week later, he set the stage for a tremendous rookies season. The Coplay, Pa., product rushed for 372 yards and three touchdowns during the next 10 quarters of the season (Buffalo, Rutgers and San Diego State). And despite missing two and a half games due to injury, Barkley set Penn State's freshman rushing record with 1,007 yards. The numbers speak for themselves, but the true freshman back dazzled with an uncanny ability to make plays. Barkley's blend of size, speed and quickness truly separated him from other backs in the conference. Averaging 6.1 yards per carry, Barkley has characteristics that aren't coachable. His ability to make big plays after contact is unique, and the future is incredibly bright for a guy that has already put himself in elite company in Penn State history.

"I'm just glad to represent Penn State Football (on the All-Big Ten list)," said Barkley. "This season was awesome for me. It was great. Overall, it was a great first experience for me (to be a part of)."

- Barkley is 14th in the country in rushes of 30 or more yards (6). He leads the Big Ten and is tied for 17th in FBS in 20-plus yard rushing plays (13).

- Barkley surpassed 100 rushing yards for the fifth time this season at Michigan State, which is tied for most in a season for a Penn State true freshman with D.J. Dozier in 1983.
- Barkley's seven rushing touchdowns this season are tied for the lead by a Penn State freshman. D.J. Dozier also had seven in 1983.
- Thirty-two of Barkley's rushes have gone for double-digit gains.
- Barkley is only the second running back to rush for 175 yards or more at Ohio State (194 yards) since 2000, joining Indiana's Tevin Coleman, who had 228 yards last season.
- Barkley turned in his fifth 100-yard performance with 103 rushing yards on 17 carries at Michigan State.



Second Team All-Big Ten (Media); Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches):
WR Chris Godwin
Chris Godwin was a name the coaching staff repeatedly mentioned as a guy poised for a breakout season in 2015. All signs pointed in Godwin's direction because of the attitude and work ethic he brought to the weight room and practice field during spring practice. A tireless worker in all aspects of his game, Godwin turned in a tremendous season for the Blue and White in 2015. A true football player in every sense of the word, Godwin loves all facets of the game and made a significant impact on offense and special teams. The Delaware native led the team with 63 receptions and 968 yards. He notched four games of 100 or more receiving yards and scored five touchdowns. What the numbers don't show is Godwin's ability to make contested catches. The true sophomore has an uncanny ability to use his size and strength to make plays in tight windows. He finished the regular season No. 1 in the Big Ten and tied for ninth nationally in receptions of 30-plus yards (11). Godwin will only continue to improve, and he is poised to again be an impact player in the bowl game.

"It's an honor, honestly, knowing my name was mentioned with the top receivers in the Big Ten," said Godwin. "It's a testament to all the hard work put in and the work the team has put together to have a pretty good season."

- Godwin ranks 18th on the career receiving yards list with 1,289.
- He ranks tied for No. 4 on the Penn State single season receptions list with 63.
- He sits No. 7 on the single season receiving yards list with 968 yards
- Godwin is just the sixth player in program history to have 60 catches in a season.
- He has four 100-yard performances in his last six games.
- He has at least one catch in 23 of 24 career games, including four or more grabs in 10 of his last 12 games dating back to 2014.
- Godwin had a career-high 11 catches for 109 receiving yards with two touchdowns at Michigan State. The effort marked Godwin's first career multi-touchdown game.



All-Big Ten Honorable Mention

WR DaeSean Hamilton



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Highlighting Penn State's 2015 All-Big Ten Defensive Selections

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the 2015 regular season in the books, a host of Nittany Lions were honored on Monday evening when the conference unveiled its 2015 All-Big Ten selections for the defensive side of the ball.

Headlining the list is Carl Nassib, who was tabbed as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Take a look inside Penn State's All-Big Ten selections for 2015.

First Team All-Big Ten (Media and Coaches):
DE Carl Nassib - Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year

Senior Carl Nassib has etched his place among the all-time greats in Penn State lore following a record-breaking season where he became the program's all-time season leader in sacks. Nassib's statistics speak for themselves, but it has been the approach to every snap on the practice field, in the weight room and on the game field that has separated him from the best in the conference. Simply put, Nassib is a relentless worker with a never-ending drive to do everything in his power to ensure the Penn State defense is among the nation's elite. A former walk-on, Nassib has the utmost respect from all of his peers in the locker room for his efforts on and off the field. He will head into the bowl season as the nation's leader in sacks and forced fumbles. Nassib is a deserving recipient of the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year honor, but he would be the first to tell you that he doesn't play for individual accolades. Always humble, Nassib's preparation, effort, intensity and production put him a cut above the rest of the defensive players in the Big Ten this fall. And in doing so, Nassib joins an elite list of Nittany Lions who hold the honor of being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

"It's incredible. I'm so happy to be here and represent Penn State the right way," Nassib said. "I'm happy to show that hard work does pay off, and I couldn't be happier (to receive the award)."

- While making his first career start (high school or college), Nassib made a career-high 10 tackles with a sack and 2.5 TFLs in the season opener at Temple.
- Nassib had at least one sack in 10 consecutive games, which is the longest streak by a Penn State player since sacks became an official NCAA statistic in 2000.
- His 19.5 tackles for loss this season are the most by a Nittany Lion since Aaron Maybin had 20 in 2008. Nassib's TFL total is the fourth-most by a Penn State player since 2000.
- Nassib's six forced fumbles are the most by a Penn State player since Michael Haynes had a school-record seven forced fumbles in 2002.
- Nassib is the first Penn State player to force two fumbles in two games in the same season since Maurice Evans did it in 2007.



Second Team All-Big Ten (Media); Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches):

DT Austin Johnson
One of the most dominant interior defensive lineman in America, Austin Johnson has been disruptive every snap in 2015. Johnson is among the most unsung players in the conference. A tremendously athletic individual for a player his size, Johnson is the top tackler among all defensive tackles in America and No. 3 in the nation among all defensive linemen. The team's third leading tackler with 70 stops, Johnson has made 13.0 tackles for loss and has 5.5 sacks. The numbers are remarkable for a defensive tackle, but they don't do his impact on games justice. When opposing coaches flip on the film of the Nittany Lion defense, Johnson's blend of quickness and power stand out. The New Jersey native made arguably the top play on the defensive side of the ball against San Diego State when he raced 71 yards for a touchdown after scooping up a fumble caused on a Nassib sack. Simply put, Johnson is a rare talent on defense and a deserving honoree of all-conference recognition.

- Johnson is second among defensive tackles in FB with 70 tackles, which is third on the team.
- He is second on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss.
- Johnson has the most tackles by a Penn State defensive tackle since Jordan Hill had 64 stops in 2012.

- He has four outings this season with at least nine tackles.
- Registered his first career touchdown with a 71-yard fumble return. The fumble recovery was Penn State's first fumble recovery for a touchdown since Mike Hull's 74-yard return vs. Navy in 2012
- Johnson tallied a career-high 10 tackles, including eight solo stops, at Northwestern.





Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches & Media):
DT Anthony Zettel
Alongside Johnson, Anthony Zettel is an All-Big Ten honoree for the second-straight season. It would be hard to find a more disruptive pairing of interior lineman than the duo in blue and white. Zettel and Johnson embody every facet of defensive coordinator Bob Shoop's mantra of never-ending pressure and relentless pursuit. The Michigan native found a home at defensive tackle after playing at defensive end during his first two years on the field. However, the senior demonstrated his versatility by starting at defensive end in the regular season finale on Saturday in East Lansing. Zettel's motor never stops when he is on the field. Opposing coaches throughout the season pinpointed Zettel as a guy who needed consistent attention. Heading into the bowl season, Zettel has 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, five pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. Those figures speak volumes about No. 98's importance to one of the Big Ten's top defensive units.

- Zettel ranks third on the team in sacks (3.0) and fourth in tackles for loss (10.0).
- He is tied for eighth on Penn State's career sacks list (19.0).
- Zettel is 10th on the program's career tackles for loss chart (37).
- Zettel registered seven tackles, including 2.5 TFLs and recovered his second career fumble against San Diego State a day after his father passed away. He was selected as Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
- He had a career-high eight tackles against Maryland.


All-Big Ten Honorable Mention
S Marcus Allen

 
LB Jason Cabinda

 
CB Grant Haley

 
CB Trevor Williams



The All-Big Ten offensive awards will be announced on Tuesday.



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VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame Press Conference - at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Head coach James Franklin talks with the media following the regular season finale at Michigan State.






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VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks - at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Hear from several Nittany Lions as they talk with the media following Saturday's regular season finale at Michigan State.




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