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On a sun-splashed late March afternoon, a crowd estimated at 22,000 assembled on the Old Main lawn to hear U.S. Senator Barack Obama. As the enthusiastic throng patiently waited for the rally to begin, Nittany Lion senior Lydell Sargeant kicked off the festivities to the cheers of the crowd. A volunteer for the Obama campaign, Sargeant introduced Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, who introduced Obama. Sargeant presented Obama with a Penn State football jersey to the roar of the crowd before the eventual Democratic presidential nominee began his remarks. You might think that speaking before more than 20,000 people or meeting the possible future President of the United States might cause some nervousness, but not so for the cool, calm and collected Sargeant. Having more than 108,000 people watch your every move at least seven times a year has a way of making a Penn State football student-athlete grow up fast and Sargeant relishes those opportunities. The recipient of the 2007 Jim O'Hora Award as the defense's most improved player, the talented and hard-hitting Sargeant had a strong junior season, starting 10 games. He enters his senior season as one of the squad's most experienced defensive backs and should play a substantial role for the defense and special teams. He is a gifted athlete with good speed, skills and instincts and played an instrumental role in the success of Penn State's Top 10 defense last year. He played wide receiver as a true freshman. Sargeant moved from Pittsburgh to California after his freshman year of high school. Following Justin King's announcement that he would attend Penn State, he didn't have to be very persuasive with Sargeant, his childhood friend who had become a standout running back in Lompoc, Calif., north of Santa Barbara. Although he lived near the California coast, his heart and mind were 2,500 miles away in the hills of football-crazed Pennsylvania and some day playing for Penn State. So, it came as no surprise that one day after King's announcement, the all-state athlete from the left coast also committed to the Nittany Lions. Sargeant and King attended the Gateway school district in Monroeville, Pa. from third through the ninth grade. Then Sargeant's father, Drew, who is in the U.S. Air Force, was transferred, and the family moved to Lompoc, near Vandenberg Air Force Base. Sargeant quickly established himself as a multi-talented player at Cabrillo HS, but each summer he would return to Monroeville for two to three weeks to spend time and work out with King and his friends. Sargeant is an active member of Penn State's Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) and the Nagle CHAMPS/Life Skills program. Among some of his community service activities are: Speakers Bureau, Student-Athlete Shadow Day, Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games and THON Make-A-Wish.
2007 Junior Season
Sargeant started the initial 10 games at cornerback and played in every contest. He was third on the team with 70 tackles (44 solo) and recorded two interceptions, 1.5 TFL and three pass breakups. Sargeant made five solo stops against Florida International in his first start. He made a career-best 10 stops (seven solo) at Michigan, with a tackle for loss, helping hold the Wolverines to 14 points. Sargeant also grabbed an interception in Penn State territory and returned it 31 yards. He made seven stops (five solo) and broke up one pass at Illinois. He delivered eight tackles (five solo) against Wisconsin, grabbing his second interception of the season and breaking up two passes in the 38-7 win over the No. 19 Badgers. He tied his career-high with 10 tackles (nine solo) against Ohio State and made four tackles against Purdue, helping keep the Boilermakers' offense out of the end zone for the second consecutive year. Sargeant made five stops in the win over Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl. He saw action on 809 snaps, topped by 89 at Michigan and 87 at Indiana.
2006 Sophomore Season
Sargeant played in every game on defense and special teams and recorded five tackles. He gained considerable experience in his first season on defense. In the win over Youngstown State, he intercepted his first career pass. Sargeant made two tackles each against Michigan and Temple. He was on the field for 154 plays, led by 30 against Temple and 25 at Notre Dame.
2005 Freshman Season
Sargeant made his Nittany Lion debut in the season-opener against South Florida and helped provide a much needed influx of athleticism and play-making ability to the offense. Playing in nine games at wide receiver, he made a catch against South Florida and added a 23-yard grab at Illinois. He was on the field for 126 snaps, led by 39 against the Illini.
Sargeant matriculated to Penn State after rushing for 1,772 yards and 19 touchdowns and adding 264 yards receiving with four more scores as a senior at Cabrillo HS. Playing for Coach Don Cross, he also had two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Rated the nation's No. 12 athlete by Rivals.com, Sargeant was named to the All-CIF team by the California Interscholastic Federation, was a first-team all-state running back and MVP of the Los Padres League. He was selected the California MVP in the Califlorida Bowl after rushing for 124 yards and one touchdown. Sargeant earned a 3.70 grade-point average in high school and was a member of the National Honor Society. A life long friend of Justin King, Sargeant and King played together as freshmen at Gateway HS in suburban Pittsburgh and were AAU basketball teammates, along with linebacker Sean Lee, before Sargeant moved to California.
Full name is Lydell Ryan Sargeant. He is a kinesiology major. Born January 31, 1987.