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Bigger, faster, stronger: Penn State’s running backs entering crucial sophomore season

Penn State’s running backs are seeing notable improvement ahead of their sophomore seasons.



Penn State football, Nick Singleton
© Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Last weekend, fans got to pile into Beaver Stadium for the first time since Penn State’s 35-16 win over Michigan State last November. There, the nation got its first glimpse at the 2023 Penn State football roster, which has massive Big Ten and national title aspirations for the coming season. When it comes to Penn State’s duo of elite running backs — Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen — the two backs are looking bigger, faster, and stronger entering their second season in the Blue and White.

Following the Blue/White game on Saturday, Nick Singleton outlined some of the goals that he and Allen have heading into summer camp. The bottom line is simple for the elite running back duo: be bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter than they were in 2022. With a revamped offensive line, a more experienced defense, and more, the Nittany Lions’ ground game is looking to take the next step this fall.

Penn State running backs looking to take the next step in 2023

Earlier in the offseason, Penn State running back Nick Singleton outlined his long-term goals for the 2023 season: win the Big Ten Championship and compete for a national title/College Football Playoff spot. To achieve this, Singleton and fellow sophomore ball-carrier Kaytron Allen will need to take the next step in their development this summer.

“We’re trying to get better each and every day,” Singleton told reporters after the Penn State football Blue/White game. “Coach Seider has been helping us — this whole summer we’re trying to get bigger, faster, and stronger. Just trying to have that ‘1-0 mentality.'”

Leadership is a requirement

Being better players on the field is not all that is expected of the Penn State running backs during their sophomore seasons. With a notable loss of leadership from the 2022 team, Singleton is going to need to step up and lead his team.

“I want to be a captain,” Singleton said when asked about his personal leadership goals. “I gotta talk a little bit more; I am getting better with that. I lead by example all of the time, but I want to be like that (more vocal) … I got their respect,” Singleton said of his teammates, “I got everybody’s respect I feel like.”

The offensive line: better than ever before?

While the Penn State running backs are seeing notable improvement, the Penn State football offensive line is doing much of the same. In fact, if you ask Kaytron Allen, there isn’t a better group of blockers in the nation.

“The whole O-line,” Kaytron Allen stated when asked about who was standing out along this year’s offensive line. “Our O-line creates great holes, [we are] a great offensive team, have a great offensive line, I think we have one of the best offensive lines in the nation.”

The pieces are starting to come together for Penn State football. Following summer camp, the Nittany Lions’ offense should be fine tuned and ready to make a run for the program’s first conference title since 2016 — much of this season’s final outcome will hinge on the Penn State running backs; the elite duo of sophomores is ready to prove themselves on the field once again.

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Chris Mangum is currently a Penn State student and serves as a writer and editor covering Big Ten athletics. He has served as a beat writer, online reporter, print reporter, and more over the past few years of his career. He currently serves as the managing editor for Basic Blues Nation and others.