One of the most athletic and dynamic players on the roster, Bill Belton has been preparing to play a paramount role in the success of the Nittany Lion offense this fall. Coming off a strong junior campaign, Belton continued his progression in the weight room and on the field during the spring. Among the squad's most dedicated workers, Belton was second on the team with 1,036 all-purpose yards, good for a 94.2 average. The senior running back gained 803 yards on 157 carries for a strong 5.1 average last year, with a long of 51 yards, and scored five rushing touchdowns. Belton ranked ninth in Big Ten games only with 78.6 rushing yards per game. Against Minnesota, he became the 41st Nittany Lion to record 1,000 career rushing yards, ending the season with 1,131 career yards, good for No. 35 on the prestigious list. A swift runner and receiver with good hands and leaping ability, Belton was tied for sixth on the team with 15 receptions for 158 yards and two scores, with a long catch of 30 yards. A starter in four games last season, he also had 75 yards on kickoff returns. Belton and fellow senior Zach Zwinak should again form one of the Big Ten's top running back tandems after combining to gain 1,792 yards in 2013. A former receiver, Belton joined elite company in the win over Illinois last fall when he gained a career-high 201 yards, becoming the 15th Nittany Lion to rush for at least 200 yards in a game. He delivered Penn State's first 200-yard rushing game since Larry Johnson against Michigan State in 2002 and earned Big Ten Offensive Player-of-the-Week honors. The former Winslow Township High School all-state honoree ended the longest game in Penn State and Big Ten history when he scored on a two-yard run to give the Nittany Lions a 43-40 four-overtime win over No. 18 Michigan. He had a then-career-high 27 carries for 85 yards, with 50 yards after the third quarter, and caught three passes for 26 yards. He received an ESPN.com Big Ten Helmet Sticker for his efforts in the dramatic win over the Wolverines. One of the most athletic and elusive playmakers on the squad, Belton should play a significant role as a ball carrier and receiver in 2014. Belton is one of 12 returning Nittany Lions from New Jersey.
2013 - Junior Season
Belton delivered his most productive season as a Nittany Lion. He was second on the team with 1,036 all-purpose yards, good for a 94.2 average. He gained 803 rushing yards on 157 carries for a strong 5.1 average, with a long of 51 yards, and scored five rushing touchdowns. Belton ranked ninth in Big Ten games only at 78.6 rushing yards per game. Against Minnesota, he became the 41st Nittany Lion to record 1,000 career rushing yards, ending the season with 1,131 yards, good for No. 35 on the prestigious list. Belton was tied for sixth on the team with 15 receptions for 158 yards and two scores, with a long catch of 30 yards. Playing in 11 contests and a starter in four games, he also had 75 yards on kickoff returns. Belton joined elite company in the win over Illinois when he gained a career-high 201 yards, becoming the 15th Nittany Lion to rush for at least 200 yards in a game. He delivered Penn State's first 200-yard rushing game since Larry Johnson against Michigan State in 2002 and garnered Big Ten Offensive Player-of-the-Week honors. Belton carried the ball a career-high 36 times, scored on a five-yard run and averaged 5.6 yards per carry en route to his third career 100-yard game. He gained a career-best 209 all-purpose yards against the Illini, adding one reception for eight yards to his rushing total. Belton began the season in his native Garden State, rushing for 22 yards on six carries and delivering three kickoff returns for 66 yards (long of 26 yards) in the win over Syracuse at MetLife Stadium. He ran for 108 yards on nine attempts in the win over Eastern Michigan, scoring twice. His 51-yard touchdown run was a career-long and the team's longest, at the time, since Evan Royster's 69-yard run at Northwestern in 2009. Belton combined with Akeel Lynch (108 yards) to become the 32nd Penn State running back combo to rush for 100 yards in the same game and the first since 2010 against Northwestern (Royster/Silas Redd). Belton carried the ball 13 times for 90 yards (6.9) in the shutout win over Kent State, including a long run of 28 yards that set up a touchdown. He also made a 15-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter against the Flashes. Belton had three catches for 24 yards and one touchdown and ran for 31 yards in the Big Ten-opener at Indiana. Belton ended the longest game in Penn State and Big Ten history when he scored on a two-yard run to give the Nittany Lions a scintillating 43-40 four-overtime win over No. 18 Michigan. He had a then-career-high 27 carries for 85 yards, with 50 yards after the third quarter, and caught three passes for 26 yards, in the win over the Wolverines. He earned an ESPN.com Big Ten Helmet Sticker for his efforts in the Michigan game. Belton gained 98 yards at No. 4 Ohio State, the second-highest rushing total for a running back allowed by the Buckeyes all year. In his first start of the season, he also caught one pass for nine yards against Ohio State. He carried the ball seven times for 47 yards, including a long of 19 yards in the fourth quarter, at Minnesota. He also had a career-high 41 receiving yards on two catches, including a career-long 30-yard catch against the Gophers. In the win over Purdue, Belton had 19 carries for 81 yards, with a five-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. He did not play against Nebraska due to a slight shoulder injury and illness. Belton gained seven yards on three carries in the season-ending win at No. 14 Wisconsin and caught one pass for five yards.
2012 - Sophomore Season
Belton appeared in eight games with five starts at running back. He was third on the team with 263 rushing yards on 60 attempts (4.4) and had three rushing touchdowns. Belton made nine catches for 50 yards and one score and returned nine kickoffs for a 15.6-yard average. He was tied for third on the team with 453 all-purpose yards. Belton made his first career start in the season-opener with Ohio and led the team with 53 rushing yards on 13 carries. But, he suffered a sprained ankle against the Bobcats and missed the next three games. He started at tailback in the 35-7 Big Ten-opening win at Illinois and set then-career-highs with 65 yards on 16 carries. Belton gave Penn State a 100-yard rusher in each of the first three Big Ten games by gaining a season-high 103 yards on 16 carries (6.4) and scoring his first three career rushing touchdowns in the 38-14 prime time win at Iowa. He had a season-long 23-yard burst and touchdown runs of 11, 3 and 5 yards against the Hawkeyes. Belton became the 86th Nittany Lion all-time to rush for at least 100 yards in a game.
2011 - Freshman Season
Belton was a key component in the successful "Wildcat" formation that the Nittany Lions unveiled late in the season, gaining 65 yards on 13 carries in eight games. He gained 15 yards on four attempts in the 20-14 win at Ohio State. At Wisconsin, Belton carried the ball three times, collecting 12 yards. He delivered the best game of his freshman season against Houston in the TicketCity Bowl, setting season-highs in rushing yards (38) and attempts (6). Belton made his collegiate debut in the win at Temple and returned his first kickoff for 15 yards against Eastern Michigan. One of four true freshmen to earn playing time, Belton logged a total of 71 plays, led by 17 against Houston and 14 at Wisconsin.
Belton was named first-team all-state, all-group and All-South Jersey at Winslow Township High School, playing for coach Mike McBride. He was honored as the Courier-Post Player-of-the-Year and Rivals.com rated him the No. 13 athlete in the nation. Belton became the first New Jersey prep quarterback to post consecutive seasons of 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing. As a senior, he threw for 2,167 yards and 21 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,003 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Full name is William Earl Belton II. He is majoring in recreation, parks and tourism management. Born February 8, 1993.