Big Ten Network Names Five Nittany Lions to All-Freshmen Team
Five Penn State football players, headlined by quarterback Christian Hackenberg, have been named to the Big Ten Network's All-Freshman Team.
The team features Hackenberg, running back Akeel Lynch, defensive tackle Austin Johnson, and linebackers Brandon Bell and Nyeem Wartman. Two additional Penn Staters — tight end Adam Breneman and wide receiver Geno Lewis — were named honorable mentions.
Hackenberg, who was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year last week, was inarguably the best true freshman quarterback in America this season. After stepping into the large shoes left by Matt McGloin, Hackenberg showed that he has the potential to be the greatest quarterback in school history. Hackenberg led the nation's 38th best passing offense, and threw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns while going 231-for-392 (58.9 percent).
Despite not playing in five games and being hampered with injuries down the stretch, Lynch was third on the team in rushing yards with 358, and ran for one touchdown. He also ran for a team high 6.0 yards per carry, and ran for at least 100 yards in two games this year, with an insane 123 yards on 14 carries in Penn State's 34-0 beatdown of Kent State.
Johnson is the latest in a long line of potential studs along the Nittany Lion defensive line. Lining up next to DaQuan Jones, Johnson compiled 27 tackles on the season, which was second among Penn State's defensive tackles, along with three tackles for loss, a sack, and a fumble recovery.
While Glenn Carson and Mike Hull got all the attention, Wartman and Bell showed flashes of brilliance at linebacker. Wartman had 32 tackles on the season, including eight in Penn State's four overtime thriller against Michigan. Bell assumed a bigger role as the season went on, and rewarded his coaches' confidence with 12 tackles in the team's final two games. On the season, Bell had 24 tackles despite only appearing in nine games.
If this year was any indication, all five players are going to make major impacts for the Blue and White for years to come.