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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
Career: Sits tied for No. 2 on Penn State's career punting average charts (43.0 ypp)...Has 25 career punts downed inside the opponent's 10-yard line (seven in 2016, 18 in 2017).
Season: 2017: Ranks No. 4 in program history with a 43.2 punting average. 2016: 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. 8 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: Named honorable mention All-America punter by GPR Punt Rating...Earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media panels...Selected second-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press...Garnered third-team All-Big Ten from Phil Steele...Earned CoSIDA Academic All-District...Named to the Ray Guy Award preseason watch list...Earned the John Bruno Memorial Award, awarded to the outstanding member of the special teams by the coaches, and the Highest Academic Average Award at the annual team banquet...Named Academic All-Big Ten.
Season: Started all 13 games at punter.
Rankings: Finished No. 35 in the FBS and No. 3 in the B1G in punting average (43.2)...Ranked No. 4 in coffin wedge average (89.84) according to GPR Punt Rating.
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 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...Named Co-Special Teams Player of the Week by the coaching staff, along with Lamont Wade. Nebraska (11/18): Hit four punts for a 39.5-yard average...Placed two punts inside the Nebraska 10-yard line. at Maryland (11/25): Booted four punts for a 45.2-yard average...Had one punt downed inside the Maryland 20-yard line...Hit a 52-yarder in the first quarter. vs. Washington (12/30): Punted twice for an average of 43.0 yards...Neither punt was returned by Washington's Dante Pettis...Had one punt downed inside the Husky 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.