Josh Hull is living the dream so many student-athletes only hope for but never see fulfilled. Hailing from nearby Penns Valley HS, he matriculated to Penn State as a walk-on in 2005, just looking for an opportunity to contribute to the team. Three years later, Hull's talent, hard work, intelligence and dedication saw 2008 become a banner year in his young life. He earned a scholarship and the starting assignment at middle linebacker in every game last season, emerging as a consistently productive player and the team's No. 2 tackler with 75 hits. One of the team's premier students, Hull also was selected a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®, one of a program-record four Nittany Lions so honored in 2008. He and Andrew Pitz will have an opportunity to become just the seventh and eighth Nittany Lions to earn first-team Academic All-America® honors twice. Hull compiled a superlative 3.92 grade-point average during the 2008 fall semester for Dean's List accolades and had a 3.54 cumulative GPA following the spring semester. Hull's athletic and academic success is not a surprise to those who have watched his progress over the past three years. In 2007, he played in every game, recording 18 tackles. In the spring of 2008, Hull and Jeremy Boone were named co-recipients of the team's Frank Patrick Total Commitment Award. To cap a stellar 2008-09 academic year for Hull, he was named recipient of the Eric A. Walker Award, presented annually to the Penn State student who has contributed most to enhancing the reputation of the University through extracurricular activities. Walker was president of Penn State from 1956-70. The tough, intense and instinctive Hull attacks his conditioning sessions and practice with the same passion and determination he brings to gameday. One of the squad's most active members in community service, Hull will be looked to for leadership and even more contributions on defense and special teams. His younger brother, Ethan, is a redshirt freshman offensive lineman who joined the team at the beginning of the 2008 season. Hull is on schedule to graduate in December.
2008 Junior Season
When Sean Lee suffered a season-ending knee injury in April 2008, the coaching staff moved Hull from outside to middle linebacker and he provided consistently strong play all season. Hull delivered a breakout season, starting every game in the middle. He was second on the squad with 75 tackles (41 solo), with 5.5 tackles for losses, one sack, one interception, three pass breakups and a team-high two fumble recoveries. Hull was fifth in minus-yardage plays and led the Lions in tackles four times. Hull's top game of the season came in his first Big Ten road start, at Purdue. By halftime, he already had broken his career-high for tackles with nine and he finished with 11 solo stops. He made a critical stop on a third-and-one play as he forced Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter out of bounds for a two-yard loss. That led to a missed field goal, as Hull and the defense limited the Boilermakers to just six points. In the 45-14 win over Oregon State, Hull recorded six tackles and grabbed his first career interception, returning it 14 yards deep into Beavers' territory to set up a Kevin Kelly field goal. Hull recorded seven tackles and one pass breakup in the primetime victory over Illinois and had four stops and a huge fumble recovery in the 48-7 win at Wisconsin. In the 46-17 win over Michigan, Hull recorded five tackles, including 1.5 TFL, as the Lions held the Wolverines scoreless over the final 43 minutes. Hull was huge in one of Penn State's best defensive performances of the Big Ten era, as he recorded eight tackles in the thrilling 13-6 win at Ohio State. He led the defense with eight tackles at Iowa. In the third quarter, he recovered a fumble deep in Hawkeyes' territory that led to a Derrick Williams touchdown run and a 23-14 Lion lead. In the 34-7 victory over Indiana, he recorded a team-high seven tackles, which included his first career sack. Hull made a game-high nine tackles (six solo) against Southern California in the 2009 Rose Bowl, including a tackle for a five-yard loss. For the season, he saw action on 751 snaps, led by 72 against the Trojans and 68 against Illinois. Hull was selected a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®, one of four Nittany Lions so honored, and earned Academic All-Big Ten honors for the second time. In the spring of 2008, Hull and punter Jeremy Boone were named co-recipients of the team's Frank Patrick Total Commitment Award. The award goes to junior class squad members who consistently follow through with their responsibilities in all facets of the football program and do so in an exemplary manner. This includes academic pursuits, off-season preparation, in-season commitment, demeanor and community service.
2007 Junior Season
Hull saw action in all 13 games, recording 18 tackles. In the season-opener with Florida International, Hull saw significant playing time, recording three tackles. He also tallied three stops against Buffalo. Hull played well in the 38-7 win over No. 19 Wisconsin, making two tackles and one pass breakup. He recorded two tackles in the Alamo Bowl against Texas A&M, including 0.5 TFL, helping hold the Aggies to just three points over the final three quarters. He was on the field for 292 snaps, topped by 39 in the win over Wisconsin and 33 in the victory over Iowa. Hull earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades.
2006 Sophomore Season
Hull played in every game on defense and special teams, recording six tackles (four solo). He added depth to arguably the nation's top linebacker unit. Hull made a season-high three tackles against Northwestern and added single stops each against Michigan, Illinois and Michigan State. He was on the field for 166 snaps, with a season-high 23 plays against Temple. He compiled a 3.69 grade-point average during the fall semester to make the Dean's List, also gaining Academic All-Big Ten honors.
2005 Freshman Season
Hull was a standout linebacker and fullback for Coach Martin Tobias at nearby Penns Valley HS. He was a three-year starter, serving as team captain and defensive captain as a senior. Hull was selected first-team all-conference on defense after his senior season and was a team captain in the 2006 Lezzer Lumber Classic. He also was a three-year letterman on the baseball team, earning first-team all-conference accolades as an outfielder.
Full name is Joshua Lynn Hull. He is the son of Jeffrey and Susan Hull and has a younger brother, Ethan, who is a redshirt freshman offensive lineman for the Nittany Lions. Hull is majoring in environmental systems engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He earned first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® honors in 2008, as well as Academic All-Big Ten accolades for the second time. Hull owned a 3.54 grade-point average through the spring semester and is on schedule to graduate in December. Born May 21, 1987 in State College, Pa.
Hull's 2008 Game-by-Game
Coastal Carolina 2-1-1; Oregon State 6-3-3; Syracuse 3-2-1; Temple 3-0-3; Illinois 7-3-4; Purdue 11-11-0; Wisconsin 4-1-3; Michigan 5-1-4; Ohio State 8-4-4; Iowa 8-4-4; Indiana 7-3-4; Michigan State 2-2-0; USC 9-6-3.
Hull's 2007 Game-by-Game
Florida International 3-2-1; Notre Dame 0-0-0; Buffalo 3-1-2; Michigan 1-1-0; Illinois 2-0-2; Iowa 2-1-1; Wisconsin 2-0-2; Indiana 0-0-0; Ohio State 0-0-0; Purdue 0-0-0; Temple 1-0-1; Michigan State 2-1-1; Texas A&M 2-0-2.