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Barkley, Gillikin and Thompkins headline special teams honorees; Smith garners sportsmanship accolades
Brandon Smith and Blake Gillikin earn CoSIDA academic recognition
Nittany Lions earn bowl eligibility
No. 4 Penn State defeats Indiana, 45-14
Check out the USA Today photo gallery from the football game between No. 24 Penn State and Purdue
NCAA: Sits No. 19 among active punters in punting average (42.9).
Career: Ranks No. 3 on Penn State's career punting average charts (42.9 ypp)...Has 24 career punts downed inside the opponent's 10-yard line (seven in 2016, 17 in 2017).
Season: Broke the Penn State freshman season punting average record with 42.8 yards per punt, surpassing the record set by Jeremy Kapinos in 2003 (41.9)...Ranks No. 7 on Penn State’s single-season punting average chart with a 42.8 average in 2016.
Game: Set the Penn State freshman record for punting average in a game with five kicks for an average of 50.8 yards in the Rose Bowl against USC (1/2/17).
➤ 2017 ➤ Sophomore Season
Awards: Earned CoSIDA Academic All-District...Named to the Ray Guy Award preseason watch list.
Season: Started 11 games at punter.
Rankings: Sits No. 34 in the FBS and No. 3 in the B1G in punting average (42.9).
Akron (9/2): Punted twice in the fourth quarter for an average of 50.0 yards per punt. Pittsburgh (9/9): Hit six punts for an average of 43.2 yards...Pinned Pittsburgh inside its own 20-yard line on four occasions, a career high...A career-high three of his punts finished inside the Panthers' 10-yard line...Had two punts fair caught. Georgia State (9/16): Booted three punts, two of which were downed inside the GSU 20-yard line...Averaged 45.3 yards per punt...Placed one punt at the Panthers' 10-yard line...Had a long punt of 52 yards...Named Co-Special Teams Player of the Week by the coaching staff, along with Tyler Davis. at Iowa (9/23): Hit four punts for an average of 39.8 yards...Placed a career-high-tying three punts inside the Iowa 10-yard line...Garnered the coaching staff's Special Teams Player of the Week award. Indiana (9/30): Hit six punts for an average of 46.5 yards per punt...Placed four punts inside the Indiana 20-yard line, including two inside the IU 10-yard line...Hit a pair of 50-plus yard punts in the game. at Northwestern (10/7): Averaged 43.0 yards per punt on five boots...Had a long punt of 50 yards...Placed a career-high-tying three punts inside the NU 10-yard line...Had one touchback and two punts fair caught...Named the coaching staff's Special Team's Player of the Week. Michigan (10/21): Hit two punts for an average of 49.5 yards...Had a long punt of 56 yards... Named Co-Special Teams Player of the Week by the coaching staff, along with Tyler Davis. at Ohio State (10/28): Averaged 42.6 yards per punt on five punts...Hit a 57-yarder in the fourth quarter...Had one punt downed inside the Ohio State 20-yard line. at Michigan State (11/4): Hit four punts for a 39.0 average...Had two punts land inside the MSU 20-yard line, including one inside the 10...Had a long punt of 52 yards. Rutgers (11/11): Averaged 40.6 yards on six punts...Had three of his punts downed inside the Rutgers 10-yard line. Nebraska (11/18): Hit four punts for a 39.5-yard average...Placed two punts inside the Nebraska 10-yard line.
➤ 2016 ➤ True Freshman Season
Awards: Selected to the ESPN.com True Freshman All-America Team...Named Campus Insiders Freshman All-America honorable mention...Named to the ESPN.com Big Ten All-Bowl Team...Earned All-Big Ten honorable mention from the conference coaches & media panel...Named to the BTN.com and ESPN.com All-Big Ten Freshman Team...Was a candidate for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate punter...Earned The President’s Freshman Award, which recognizes Penn State students for academic excellence...Had perfect 4.0 grade-point averages in both the fall and spring semesters.
Season: Started all 14 games at punter...Became just the third true freshman to start at punter since 1946 (1979, Ralph Giacomarro; 2014, Daniel Pasquariello)...One of 18 first-time starters in 2016...One of 27 freshmen (22 redshirt, 5 true) to appear in 2016...Had seven kicks downed inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.
Final Rankings: No. 30 in the NCAA and No. 3 in the Big Ten in punting average (42.8 ypp).
Kent State (9/3): Hit six punts for 282 yards...Averaged 47.0 yards per punt, which is the sixth-best performance by a freshman in Penn State history...Booted a long punt of 58 yards...Pinned two punts inside the 20...Was the coaching staff’s Special Teams Player of the Week. at Pitt (9/10): Punted five times - four in the first half - for 233 yards...Averaged 46.6 yards per punt...His 69-yard punt in the fourth quarter was a career long and Penn State’s longest punt since Anthony Fera had a 69-yard punt (vs. Purdue, 2011)...The 69-yard punt is the second-longest punt by a freshman in Penn State history behind Fera’s 74-yarder (2010)...Pinned the Panthers inside their own 20-yard line on three occasions, including two inside the 10...Pinned Pitt at its own 1-yard line with his first punt of the game. Temple (9/17): Hit three punts, including just one in the second half, averaging 35.0 yards per punt...Pinned Temple at its own 1-yard line on his first punt...Had two punts downed inside the Temple 20. at Michigan (9/24): Punted six times for an average of 45.0 yards...Pinned Michigan inside its own 10-yard line on a third quarter punt. Minnesota (10/1): Punted six times for an average of 39.2 yards...Dropped one punt inside the Minnesota 20. Maryland (10/8): Hit three punts for an average of 34.0 yards...Downed two punts inside the Maryland 20...Pinned Maryland at its own 7-yard line on his second punt of the afternoon...Had a punt blocked in the second quarter...Did not handle punting duties in the second half. Ohio State (10/22): Hit a career-high seven punts for 264 yards...Pinned three punts inside the OSU 20, including his sixth punt inside an opponent’s 10-yard line in the first quarter...Four punts were fair caught by the Buckeyes. at Purdue (10/29): Punted three times for an average of 41.3 yards...Had one punt of 50-plus yards. Iowa (11/5): Averaged 40.5 yards on two punts...Had two punts inside the Iowa 20-yard line...One punt was downed at the Iowa 11-yard line and one was fair caught at the 14-yard line. at Indiana (11/12): Booted six punts for an average of 38.8 yards...Had three kicks end in fair catches...Hit a long punt of 50 yards. at Rutgers (11/19): Hit three punts for an average of 47.7 yards...Knocked one punt inside the RU 20-yard line...Had one punt of 50 yards...One punt was fair caught. Michigan State (11/26): Averaged 46.8 yards per punt on four kicks...Had two punts downed inside the MSU 20-yard line, including one at the Spartan 2-yard line...Recorded one 50-plus yard punt with a 54-yard effort on his second kick of the game...Was the coaching staff’s Special Teams Player of the Week. vs. Wisconsin (12/3): Hit a pair of punts for an average of 49.0 yards per punt...Had one punt land inside the Wisconsin 20-yard line...Was the coaching staff’s Special Teams Player of the Week. vs. USC (1/2): Averaged 50.8 yards per punt, which is sixth-best in Penn State history...Had a long punt of 65 yards, which ranks No. 3 by a freshman punter in school history...Had one punt downed inside the USC 20-yard line...Made his first career tackle on a first quarter punt.
➤ High School
Three-year letterwinner for head coach Gerry Romberg at Westminster High School...Helped Westminster School to its first Class AAA Georgia State Championship since 1978 by kicking three field goals, including a 53-yard boot, and had two punts of 60 yards in the air in the final...Set a school record with a 56-yard field goal in a win over Adairsville...Rated as a five-star punter and a five-star kicker by the Kohl’s Professional Camp...Named to the MaxPreps 2015 Medium Schools All-American first team as a punter...Earned first-team All-State honors as a placekicker in 2015...Claimed first-team South Fulton All-Metro and first-team Atlanta All-Metro by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as a senior...Was a first-team All-Region 4-AAA Punter and first team Atlanta All-Metro by the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2014...Claimed second-team All-State accolades in 2014...Claimed Touchdown Club of Atlanta All Metro All-Star Team honors as a senior...Invited to the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl...Selected for the Florida-Georgia High School All-Star Game...Had 41 punts with an average of 45.2 yards per punt...Had 19 punts downed inside the 20 as a senior...Was 54-for-54 on extra points in 2015...Has the three longest field goals in Westminster history (56, 53, 52)...Was 16-for-26 on field goals as a senior...Rated a four-star prospect by Scout and a three-star prospect by Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports...Was the third-ranked punter in the country by 247Sports...Ranked as the No. 3 punter in the country and No. 2 punter in the South region by Scout...Rated the No. 8 kicker/punter by ESPN...Was a four-time letterwinner in soccer and a two-time letterman basketball at Westminster...Helped the Wildcats to the 2013 Georgia State High School Association Class AA Soccer Championship and a runner-up finish in 2014...Was a member of the National Honor Society...Was an AP Scholar and a member of the Discipline Council...Earned Honor Roll accolades.
Full name is Blake Thomas Gillikin...Son of Taryn and Walt Gillikin...Has a twin brother, Tyler...Mother was a swimmer at the University of Kansas...Father was a swimmer at the University of North Carolina...Tyler is a long snapper at Northwestern...Hobbies include skiing and traveling...Majoring in kinesiology...Is enrolled in Schreyer's Honors College...Born January 21, 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia.