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Penn State Football: StateCollege.Com Season Awards

by on December 26, 2016 2:00 PM

With only one game remaining in Penn State's historic and memorable 2016 season now is as good of a time as any to hand out a few season long awards. From MVP to Most Improved Player, here are a few of the noteworthy Nittany Lions from a season not short on big plays and bigger players.

MVP: Trace McSorley

McSorley isn't strictly speaking Penn State's best offensive player from a pound-for-pound standpoint, but nobody makes the offense click like the sophomore quarterback does. Saquon Barkley might be the biggest threat at any given moment, but McSorley is going to give teams more than a few headaches in the coming future. It's also worth mentioning McSorley happens to be a very good quarterback in his own right and not far away from stealing Barkley's pound-for-pound throne.

Offensive Player Of The Year: Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley is a special talent and his ability to beat you in multiple ways makes him Penn State's star here. Barkley doesn't always put up impressive numbers, but he's a threat to run into the end zone on any play from any distance. His skills after contact and his talents to avoid contact in the first place are in large part why he's one of the best running backs in the nation. You don't have to watch Barkley for long to understand why he's a special player.

Defensive Player Of The Year: Marcus Allen

This could be an honor that Jason Cabinda or Brandon Bell took home, but Marcus Allen has been a fixture in Penn State's secondary all year. Oh, and don't forget that blocked field goal against Ohio State or that hit on fourth-and-1 to seal the Big Ten title win. It isn't always a good thing when a safety is near the top of the list when it comes to total tackles, but Allen is as dependable as they come as the last line of defense. Add in a few season changing contributions and he takes the honor home.

Specialist Of The Year: Blake Gillikin

This award could go to Mr Near-Perfect in Tyler Davis, but Gillikin's leg in the punting game has flipped fields and kept the Nittany Lions in the game against Ohio State. Penn State has long awaited a punter that could help the Nittany Lions win the field position battle and Gillikin has done that and more. Falling on a bad snap to turn a touchdown into a safety and a key saved punt against Indiana are both above-and-beyond type plays.

Most Improved Player: Mike Gesicki

Somehow Penn State doesn't award its most improved player which means Mike Gesicki managed to have the best season by a tight end ever for Penn State and get zero recognition for it. Even without the records, Gesicki went from a "what-if" filled 2015 to a near perfect season of big catches and solid blocking in 2016. Gesicki's return in 2017 is a huge win for the Nittany Lions before the season ever starts.

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