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Penn State Football: Senior Day, A Capsule Look at All 17 Nittany Lion Seniors

by on November 23, 2013 8:10 AM

If the 2012 senior class fought to make sure that the roof did not cave in on top of the Penn State football program, the 2013 senior class stayed behind to ensure that the roof was properly reinforced and in place. And that's truly what the 2012 senior class means to Penn State and head coach Bill O'Brien.

It's not that any single player carried the team or that they were always the most talented or the greatest players to ever wear the blue and white, but facing an open door every single senior shut it and said "I'm staying." Where the 2013 class had nothing to lose by leaving, the 2012 class had everything to gain by avoiding an uncertain future and taking their collective talents elsewhere. 

But they didn't, and with 60 minutes remaining in their career inside Beaver Stadium it will be an emotional moment as each player hears his name announced, marking a final chapter in a story that's been years in the making.

Not every player has changed the course of the program, but collectively they made a difference. 

Here are the players leaving the program at the conclusion of this season, and what each of them has done while in Happy Valley.

Kyle Baublitz (York, Pa.), No. 84, DT- Made the switch to DT from DE last season and has one pass deflection and two sacks to his name in 2013. Has made the most of his playing time. Earned 2012-All Big Ten academic honors.

Kevin Blanchard (Katy, Texas), No. 79, T- At 6-foot-7, Blanchard doesn't lack any height. He's a strong presence on the practice field and in the classroom. Blanchard was a Dean's List student earning a perfect 4.00 grade-point average during the 2012 fall semester and brought a cumulative 3.84 GPA into the summer. 

Alex Butterworth (Indianapolis, Ind.), No. 45, P- Began seeing significant action his junior season and has become more consistent this season with a 66-yard punt to his name. Has 108 punts heading into the final two games of his career with an 39.4 yard average per punt.

Glenn Carson (Manahawkin, N.J.), No. 40, LB- Has been a solid rock in the defense his entire career in practice field and on game days. Was third on the team in 2012 with 85 tackles and leads Penn State's defense with 75 stops this year. Was once listed as a fullback while at Penn State.

Bryan Davie (Bowie, Md.), No. 68, G- Made the team as a run-on after three semesters on campus. Has been a strong practice player under O'Brien and earned Dean's List honors with a 3.74 grade-point average during the 2012 fall semester.

Brandon Felder (Fort Washington, Md.), No. 85, WR- Has been an underrated target his entire career. Has 27 catches for 293 yards and three touchdowns this season. Felder has seen action in 10 or more games for three straight seasons but has had the biggest impact in his final year in Happy Valley.

Garry Gilliam (Carlisle, Pa.), No. 77, T- Coming to Penn State in 2009, Gilliam has battled through injury and the depth chart to where he is today. A tight end for most of his career, Gilliam made the switch to tackle this summer in hopes of helping his team any way he could. Gilliam has played in every game this season with a handful of starts at his new position.

Adam Gress (West Mifflin, Pa.), No. 58, T- A fixture on Penn State's offensive line since 2010, Gress has made the most of his starting role this year. Gress was also an important part of Penn State's success in 2012 helping the Nittany Lions fight for all eight wins.

Ty Howle (Wake Forest, N.C.), No. 43, C- Howle handled long-snapping duties in 2010 and 2011 before making the move to center in 2012. Howle has been an important part of freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg's development at the college level. 

DaQuan Jones (Johnson City, N.Y.), No. 91, DT- After spending time with current NFLer Jordan Hall, Jones has made the most of his starting role in 2013 with 49 tackles and 3 sacks to his name. Jones was a crucial part of the 2012 defensive unit, racking up with 22 tackles.

Alex Kenney (State College, Pa.), No. 15, WR- Kenney has seen limited action while at Penn State but has been a solid practice presence and has added depth and speed to the Nittany Lion receiving corps. Kenney will take his speed to Penn State's track team this fall following the conclusion of football season.

Matt Lehman ( Newport, Pa.), No. 85, TE- Lehman transferred to Penn State in 2011 but did not see any action until 2012. During his breakout season, Lehman caught 24 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns. Lehman missed all but one game of the 2013 season due to injury and could possibly return in 2014.

Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (Bronx, N.Y.), No. 7, S- Obeng-Agyapong made his impact felt on special teams duties in 2010 before seeing time on defense in 2011 where he made 11 tackles. Obeng-Agyapong started all 12 games in 2012 while registering 41 tackles in the secondary. In 2013, Obeng-Agyapong has been asked to move from safety to linebacker and back again. He has done it with ease, picking up 33 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovered, and 1 forced fumble.

Eric Shrive (West Scranton, Pa.), No. 75, G/T- Shrive has been part of the offensive line unit since coming to Penn State but has made the biggest impact in his final season. Shrive has played in each of the last three seasons before becoming a more permanent fixture in 2013. Shrive has helped raised nearly $70,000 for kidney cancer patients and their families through his work with Lift For Life. Shrive was awarded the 2013 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award for his efforts off the field.

John Urschel (Williamsville, N.Y.), No. 64, G- Urschel hit the field for his first snaps in 2010 and has continued to be an important part of Penn State's offensive line. In 2011 Urschel played in every game en route to being selected first-team All-Big Ten and a first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2012. While his football accomplishments are well known, Urschel is perhaps the best example of what it means to be as student athlete. Urschel graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average in mathematics in May 2012, less than three years after enrolling in the university. He immediately began working on a master's degree in math and graduated in May 2013 with a 4.0 GPA. He plans on earning a Ph.D. after his football career has been completed.

Malcolm Willis (Marbury, Md.), No. 1, S- Willis started five games in 2010 and played in every game during the 2011 season racking up 33 tackles, an interception and one blocked kick. In 2012 Willis started 10 games at free safety but missed the final two games of the season with a knee injury. Willis has 49 tackles to his name so far this season including a fumble recovery and one interception.

Pat Zerbe (West Lawn, Pa.), No. 35, FB- Learning behind Penn State great Michael Zordich, Zerbe has been a key aspect of Penn State's running success in 2013. 

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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